Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Norman is bad at math too

Reading some of the continuing kerfuffle over Norman Spector's kicking sand in Belinda Stronach's face and pulling her hair the other day, I was again reminded of one of Norman's comments in the interview that I thought, frankly, more disturbing then his calling Belinda a bitch.

You may recall, our Norman said that the reason this whole McKay dog business has continued to be a story, when he felt it shouldn't be, was because:

"… half the press gallery now are women. And women find this very offensive."

Silly me, I thought a big reason why it was a story was because McKay was heard making the comment on audio tape and then lied about it to the Canadian people AND to Parliament.

I was intrigued though, because during my stint as a Parliament Hill reporter around 1999/2000 the men still had the ladies quite outnumbered. Had women finally cracked the ink-stained gallery glass window, as Norman opined?

Well, it was easy enough to find out even without being an investigative journalist, or ex-tobacco lobbyist. The Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery publishes a list of its members on its Web site. I printed out the list and counted the males and the females. There were a few names that could have gone either way so I left them as questions but the number is statistically insignificant.

So, what's the verdict? Well, it would seem that math skills aren't Norman's strong suit either. Nearly two-thirds of the gallery members, as of October 2006, are men.

Full Members

245 Males, 64 per cent

129 Females, 34 per cent

10 unsure

Total members: 384

So, the PPG is still a very male group, it would seem. Even if we give all of those 10 unsure to the female side, that's still just 36 per cent of the membership. Where I come from, that's not half. I've included a chart, because I know some people are visual learners:
Then I thought, maybe the honourary members would tilt the balance. Not so much, there are 16 male and 5 female on the honourary list, which brings the male per centage a few points higher.

The closest women come to gender parity is on the gallery executive, which has five male and four female members. Still, though, not quite half.

So much for the whole female media conspiracy idea. Any more wacky theories to share with us Norman?

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knb said...

Any more wacky theories to share with us Norman?

Let's hope not. May his voice be silenced, or at least reduced to the fringe, where it obviously belongs.

canuckistanian said...

don't forget that "90% of men think belinda is a bitch"...perhaps you could do an impromptu survey to test his math skills on that front. good investigative work regardless. especially liked your description of norm as a catty bitch...retract those claws norman...hisss.

The Rat said...

But you haven't dealt with the large elephant in the room? Was Normy wrong? Is she a bitch?

Oh, and nice to know we had another unbiased reporter on the Hill telling it like it was with no spin. No Liberal bias in you. Nope. None.

Berlynn said...

Thanks for the follow-up, BCer. I appreciate it.

As to those who insist on engaging in misogynistic behavior, I have two words: Grow Up!

skdadl said...

Well done, BCer, and thanks.

We have to pity Norm, of course. Well, he says that we do, just as we have to pity poor Peter MacKay and Tie Domi. So we do, of course. I certainly find them all pitiful.

Olaf said...


As to those who insist on engaging in misogynistic behavior

Ugh... I mean, I hate to bring this up again, I really do. But using a female-specific insult against one woman, which women use themselves constantly, is not misogynistic. Why is it that whenever I say I hate someone, I'm invariably scolded "hate is a strong word", but people use the term misogyny as if it meant "anything insulting to any female in any circumstance".

Unless you're going to accuse everyone who has EVER used the word 'bitch' (surely you haven't) of hating women, I'd be a bit more cautious in what I call misogynistic. That's just my take.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Rat, I could care less if Belinda is a bitch or not. It's his choice of words that I took issue with, as well as his feminist conspiracy theories.

As for your impugning my journalistic integrity, I assure you the good readers of Carleton's independent student newspaper, as well as my usually socialist-leaning editors, felt my coverage was balanced. I was also in good company on the hill, meeting people like Broadcast News veteran reporter Dan Dugas, who is now media guy for Peter McKay. No Liberal bias in him. Nope. None.

Thanks Berlynn and Skdadl.

Olaf, I could go off on a liberal screed about reclaiming abuse words as a form of empowerment, but rather I'll just say context is everything. Look at the context in which Norman made the comment, and his other remarks, then reevaluate how his use of the word comes off.

Olaf said...


Actually, I did think about it and read a few more things last night and have come off thinking that the comment probably was sexist, precisely based on the context. (I hate changing my mind).

However, I still wouldn't call it misogynistic (then again, I don't know what goes through his head).

So I more or less back down from my previous rant

Bailey said...

Nice followup, Jeff.

I thought that Scott Feschuk has the best line today:

My favourite blog posting of the past couple days comes from Andrew Coyne, who can’t believe people are criticizing Norman Spector for publicly referring to Belinda Stronach as “a bitch.” Andrew’s reasoning: He’s seen women wearing T-shirts in which they reference themselves as bitches, so it can’t be that big a deal. Hey, you know what’s interesting? Many large black football players and armed hip-hop artists refer to themselves and each other using the N-word. I invite Mr. Coyne to join in and see how that goes.

VanLib said...

I think we need to keep up the ditch Norm-the-pundit campaign. This type of conduct, albeit entertaining, is unacceptable for a major media outlet like CKNW.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Olaf, good for you for being willing to re-consider your thoughts. As far as mysogany, whatever you want to call it, it's not good.

Bailey, I had that same thought, Scott makes a good point.