Why did Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg back out of a scheduled interview on ABC’s Sunday show This Week with George Stephanopoulos? The story is that she agreed to the interview only to cancel when she learned the host this week is Martha Raddatz, not George Stephanopoulos. I was curious as to why Sandberg might diss Raddatz.
I have a Sunday morning ritual that is no doubt very similar to many other political junkies. First I feed the cat. Clearly, I have been trained to know that this is the important part of the morning routine. As the coffee brews, I turn on the television and tune into the Sunday morning shows. First, I ease into the topics of the day with Fox News Sunday because that show is as friendly to me, as a conservative, as it will get. The second show I tune in is NBC’s Meet the Press. Remember when that was a worthwhile hour spent with Tim Russert? I miss his calm, mostly even-handed way of interviewing politicians and world leaders. Halfway through enduring smirking Chuck Todd’s show, I flip over to CBS’s Face the Nation. After that, it ‘s time for ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Then the morning political shows end with CNN’s State of the Union.
It’s a lot of political spinning, bloviating politicians, and partisan talking heads. I love it. Often the shows will have a common guest who will be pushing back or promoting a story in the headlines. I thought Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg might do a full Ginsburg – all five standard shows – but no, that was not the case. Sandberg is set to appear before Congress this week and was only scheduled for the ABC show. Then I read she canceled because the interview would be done with Raddatz. Hmm.
An ABC insider said, “Sheryl’s team were talking to producers at ‘This Week.’ After they were told the interview would be with Martha, not George, the discussions ended. Sheryl has a good relationship with George, but the decision not to proceed appeared to be based largely on that Sheryl wouldn’t be sitting with the biggest name on the show . . . not that she anticipated George would give her a sympathetic interview.”
Does Ms. Sandberg only give interviews to those with whom she has a “good relationship”? Well, she did only give a couple of interviews that I know about last week as she and Mark Zuckerberg faced the storm of bad publicity for Facebook’s failure to protect the privacy of users. She appeared with Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show and she did an interview with Dana Perino on Fox. She’s not exactly appearing to be eager to get the company’s message out.
Turns out Sandberg may have a bit of a grudge against Martha Raddatz over some remarks Raddatz made during an event in 2014. During an interview held with Ted Olson, former solicitor general, and lawyer extraordinaire, she advised women to stop whining. Sounds good to me. Then she said something which directly contradicts Sandberg’s advice to young women – she said the word bossy isn’t a bad word. Sandberg, you see, famously gave a TEDTalk in 2010 which made big waves for her opinion that women shouldn’t accept the label of bossy. She mostly talked about women having everything. The talk then turned into her book Lean In
Raddatz had the audacity to state the obvious. She said that yes, women can do it all but something usually suffers along the way. Maybe Sandberg didn’t want to be interviewed by another successful woman who thinks a bit differently.
Raddatz said she is a big proponent of work-life balance for men and women, but that there is no such thing as “having it all.”
“I hate these terms, ‘have it all,’ ‘ban bossy,’ ‘lean in,’ ” she said. “I like what’s behind them. But you are all individuals, you all have your own challenges. Everyone deals with them differently. ‘Have it all’ means if you want to be a partner in a law firm and you want four kids, it’s going to be really, really tough. But you can do it.
“You are never going to have it all because that makes me think everything is going to be wonderful in every realm of your life, and it’s never going to be,” she said. “But if you decide you want a great career and be a mother, you’re going to fail some days as a mom or a dad, you just are. But I think if I had wanted to stay home and be a traditional mother, I’d probably fail at things too. We’re all going to fail at some things.”
I firmly believe that women can have it all – just not all at once. Sandberg lives in a privileged world. She is wealthy and has resources available to her that us regular women do not. I say good for her and congrats. Just don’t lecture the rest of women to embrace the same philosophy. We all make our own choices according to our own lives. In my case, I was a stay at home mom for many years. During that time I ran the household and did tons of volunteer work outside the home. My husband traveled extensively all over the globe for his career, often gone for long periods of time. Each family makes decisions based on their needs. There is room for everyone. Bossy is good if it gets the job done.