Emokidsloveme's Blog

I'm generally displeased with humanity.

Pretend You Are Talking To An Equal, More Clearly, A Man

with 10 comments

I never really considered myself a true feminist. I care deeply about issues specific to women, but I just never really fit the mold. I’ve got other issues that I have chosen to champion over the years. I believe that is about to change. After viewing a portion of the 12/2/2009 White House Press Conference between April Ryan and Robert Gibbs, I think I may be moving toward a personal rendition of I Am Woman.

Excuse me? Just calm down and take a deep breath? I tell my son that all of the time? My first thought was, is this some fake Robert Gibbs? He’s the White House Press Secretary for “THE OBAMA!!!”
There have been heated exchanges in the White House briefing room before but I have never seen Gibbsy talk down to one of the members of the WH Press Corps in that manner. He treated her as if she were a petulant child and hasn’t been called to the carpet on his behavior.
Granted the question was a bit ridiculous, she should have focused on the real issue, “Why was Desiree Rodgers walking the press line at a state dinner when she is the White House Social Secretary and her responsibility was as an event planner. There was a security failure at the event and her responsibilities for the evening included making sure there were no failures. Therefore she failed. How does the White House intend to deal with the aforementioned failure?” There April, that is the question you should have asked, perhaps you can ask that instead of some nonsense about Desiree Rodgers outshining the First Lady.
Where are April Ryan’s colleagues in the White House Press Corps? Why do they seem so eerily quiet about blatant sexism? Some stood up for Fox News when the White House made the accurate declaration that Fox News is not a news organization. They screamed and howled saying the White House has no place making those determinations. HOW DARE THEY!!!! Oh Fox News is a “sister news organization” they deserve to be treated as any other news organization. I disagree but whateves man, not my battle for the day.
I sincerely want to know why no one has said, Mr. Gibbs, April Ryan is our colleague and you spoke to her as though she were a child throwing a tantrum, this is wrong. Actually, I believe I know exactly why they have remained irritatingly silent. April Ryan is a woman. Gibbs was simply trying to calm a woman in the throws of a hissy fit. Yes, I realize that determination makes complete sense and is totally rational. Feel free to call me a genius at any time. This is the same White House Press Corps that made a story out of Presidential golf being an all male activity.
So, if no one else will stand up for April Ryan, I will.

Mr. Gibbs,

You were terribly wrong in your treatment of April Ryan. While Ms. Ryan’s question may have been terribly misguided, she had the right to ask the question and be treated with dignity and respect. She did not deserve to be patronized, interrupted and finally told to calm down as if she were a child who has no control over her emotions. Such blatant disrespect should not have a home in the White House during this administration. I am disappointed in your behavior and hope that in the future you will consider rethinking your responses. If you must, excuse her gender for a moment and pretend you are talking to an equal, more clearly, a man.
P.S. A pretty pink tie does not excuse bad behavior.



Written by emokidsloveme

December 4, 2009 at 9:24 AM

10 Responses

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  1. I guess the WHPC only cares about their sister organizations and not sistas from other organizations

    My grandmother had a saying whenever someone came out of their face, and imma say it to Gibbsy: “Robert, who the fuck is you?”

    He’s lucky the Final Call isn’t in the whpc!

    Laurita Martinez

    December 4, 2009 at 10:07 AM

  2. I think his response was totally appropriate — I was actually thinking the same things! We are escalating this war we’re already in debt over, a massive financial crisis, health care — and we’re talking about silly gossip about a STATE DINNER? Is everybody nuts? Why is this considered serious journalism? I’m glad he went off on her — sane people are sick of hearing about this crap! It’s over, now let’s get to the stuff that matters? And don’t go trying to make it about gender, race, or political parties — it’s about common damn sense. (And before you speculate on where I’m coming from, I am black woman, and I’ve always considered myself a feminist. And it makes me angry when people confuse any negative exchange with sexism,or racism. Those are serious issues and it cheapens it for the rest of us who are trying to solve real problems.) That’s why our culture is so jacked up now. People dying in battlefields or god forbid right here in the states because they were denyed/can afford proper health coverage, and we’re still talking about this??? Where are the real journalists???? Where are the people speaking out about this nonsense wasting everybody’s time?!


    December 4, 2009 at 4:17 PM

    • Folks burglarizing the White House and getting to the East room to shake hands w/the President is not news? Have you seen the TV show 24?

      The problem is, people are focusing on the crashers, and not the crash. Now, I too am sick of hearing about this; questions do need to be asked, but I feel they’ve already been answered and I’m sure that’s frustrating to Gibbs and co (and they DO need to fire Desiree Rogers for stuntin so hard at all the WH functions, but that’s just my opinion). But he could’ve handled it differently…WAY differently.

      Even though Emo is the homie and I back her up 100%, I will say I agree that negative exchanges can be cheapened when you bring race or gender into equation—not all the time, but sometimes. I’ve seen Gibbs get crunk w/Major Garrett of Fox News (I believe he said “don’t look at me w/that face”–it was the dramer over emails from the White House to people who did not sign up for them)…but Fox isn’t a news org so maybe that’s why he got crazy w/Major…and maybe he got crazy with April because she’s a Black woman…or maybe they both caught Gibbsy on his period

      Laurita Martinez

      December 4, 2009 at 5:58 PM

    • Kay, I’m very sorry you feel that way. Her question was misguided, I fully admitted that in the post. I think the bigger question is about why there weren’t staffers from her office at each entrance.

      As for sexism, I watch WH Press conferences regularly and while they may get heated, the male reporters are never told to calm down and that you are acting like my little boy. You just don’t say that in a professional situation. I just don’t think he would have talked down to her in that manner had she been male. It would have gotten heated and them calmed down just as quickly.


      December 4, 2009 at 8:24 PM

  3. I thought April Ryan was much more disrespectful than Gates… plus talking about being the ‘belle of the ball’ is not newsworthy and a waste of all of our time.

    JF Mars

    December 4, 2009 at 6:19 PM

  4. OK. I’ve viewed the video twice now.

    My thoughts the first time through were: My, she’s pushy. Why is she taking this tone? Why is she pressing the issue so hard? Why is she asking these types of questions about Rogers? Outshining Michelle? Please!

    My thoughts the second time through were: My, she’s pushy. Why is she taking this tone? You get the picture.

    She seemed to come out of the gate swinging at Gibbs, for some reason. She was, in my opinion, overly aggressive and her tone was a little stank. She even talked over him at one point. Not that she needed to be all “yassah massah”, but it did seem as though she lacked a certain professional respect in her questioning–not to mention her questions were far off the mark which you addressed.

    I think Gibbs kept his cool for a while, but then got noticeably irritated with her. He went too far with the “my son does the same thing” thing, and he should know better as WHPS. However, she should accept her part of the blame. Had it been a man, would it have played out differently? We’ll never know.


    December 4, 2009 at 9:34 PM

  5. Gibbs was entirely disgusting. Im a black woman and I found her questions to be completely on point. The president had strangers in his house on the night of a huge event and the social secretary was getting photographed and no one from her office was anywhere at any of the check points. That’s stupid. And covering for her and her office is stupid. April’s questions were absolutely right had something horrendous happened that night, every reporter in there would be asking the question. WHY WEREN’T MORE PRECAUTIONS taking to protect the president. Mr. Gibbs came off as patronizing and the head of a cover up to protect Obama friends. This is why you can’t hire friends because when they screw up you are afraid to do what a two year old would say do. FIRE SOMEONE. It’s unfortunate. Fire someone. And I love seeing her in Vogue and at Fashion shows but the problem with doing all that is that when I see people are crashing the white house, I think they’re are morons in there that are so absorbed with being in the spotlight that they would rather put people in danger than to do their jobs.


    December 7, 2009 at 12:55 AM

  6. I’ve had a difficult week and am just now getting through my Google Reader, so a few apologies for missing out on this on the day you posted it.

    I’m hardcore into women’s rights… BUT, I feel there is a difference between hardcore feminists from our mother’s generation and our generation.

    First of all, I agree with Emille, in that, she did take a tone as a reporter that she should not have. She made the exchange personal, when it should be anything but. Maybe she was having a bad day, maybe something happened before the briefing with her and Gibbs, maybe she felt he’s been dismissive to her before and she’s taken this tone – I don’t know. I’ve only seen THIS exchange and, what I did see of it, she clearly had a tone that was very much acting like a petulant child not getting their way and not getting their question answered. That’s very bad form, and a professional woman SHOULD know better.

    However, a professional MAN should be more respectful. My only defense of Gibbs is that he was simply reacting instead of acting. As WHPS, you have to know that emotion sometimes plays a key role in some of these issues. Unfortunately, men and women handle emotion two separate ways. I think we just saw a negative example of how its handled in both sexes.

    As a woman, in the feminist movement, I believe in telling women when they aren’t acting right, especially when it hurts our cause. Our cause is that we are no different than men, because we can be just as professional. She was not. I’m not on Gibbs’s side, because you clearly make a fair point that he did not handle this situation at all well. I don’t think, however, that it’s fair to blanket this in saying he treated her just that way because she’s a woman. If he had a history of doing that to other women, yes. He does not have that history, so I say, give him a chance. If he does it again, then, we open a can of feminist whoop ass on him.

    I just think wrong question, wrong tone of voice, wrong choice of words at the wrong time on a topic that Gibbs’s isn’t exactly allowed as free rein on as others. (Secret Service undoubtedly doesn’t want him to answer a lot of questions…)


    December 9, 2009 at 7:50 PM

  7. Thanks for posting the video and an interesting follow up discussion.

    Ms Awesomely

    July 16, 2010 at 2:29 PM

  8. Can’t imagine why anybody would be surprised at Gibbs condescending to a woman now that Obama’s in office, after Obama became known for it on the campaign trail.

    But Gibbs has been snotty to anybody not in the bag for Obama all along anyway. That bag gets smaller every day…


    July 18, 2010 at 7:15 PM

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