TLDR: #45 - Quiet, Wadhwa.
February 8, 2015 9:06 PM - Subscribe

Amelia Greenhall is a woman who works in tech. She's a designer, the executive director of Double Union, co-founder of Model View Culture, and the publisher of the literary journal Open Review Quarterly. But when a major outlet needs a quote about women in tech, they don't usually turn to Amelia. Or to any woman. They call on Vivek Wadhwa. Amelia explains how Wadhwa came to be the go-to pundit on people like her -- and why his expertise is so problematic.

Read (and listen!) to Amelia's blogpost, "Quiet, Ladies. @wadhwa is speaking now" here. If you like our show, please subscribe and review us on iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow Meredith and TLDR on Twitter.

Correction: Mary Trigiani points out that Vivek Wadhwa did not actually title his response to her "Vivek Wadhwa explains." That was her title for his comment in response to her post "Captains and Floozies." Mary Trigiani posted his comment under the title "Vivek Wadhwa explains" on Medium.

Previously: What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women. Model View Culture. Double Union.
posted by bq (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This was a great episode. I'm really pleased with the way the show is going post-PJ & Alex.
posted by radioamy at 8:53 AM on February 9, 2015

I've been enjoying it so much.
posted by bq at 9:25 AM on February 9, 2015

This was a great episode. I can't believe that guy has written books about women and gets speaking engagements for it, it's pretty gross all around.
posted by mathowie at 10:31 PM on February 9, 2015

The episode page now reads:
TLDR episode 45, published Friday, February 6, has been removed. We are working on a piece for On the Media that will include a range of views on advocacy for women in technology.
So that's odd.

(I didn't listen to it yet, but probably still have it sitting in my iTunes waiting for me.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:05 PM on February 11, 2015

(The comments on the episode page are still open, FWIW, and are a mixture of pro- and anti-Wadhwa stances.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:13 PM on February 11, 2015

Wow. I really want to know what the story is with that.

I don't necessarily see Twitter DMs as creepy, for what it's worth, but I thought maybe that was some bit of Twitter etiquette with which I was unfamiliar. On the other hand, thinking that "nerd" can only be used about a man is pretty unforgivable, if in fact he really said that.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:16 PM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Incidentally, there was an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday about how women are brutally underrepresented among experts cited by the media. I think the money quote is:
Another way to look at the status quo: a woman over 65 is less likely to be cited as an expert in the media as a boy in the 13 to 18 age group.
So on some level this is just the same old same old, although it's sort of ironic that the media expert on women's under-representation in tech is himself part of the problem of women's under-representation in media expertness.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:36 PM on February 11, 2015

Sorry to triple post, but I just found this fascinating tweet in which Wadhwa says that he doesn't understand Gamergate and can't figure out who the real bad guys are. So yeah. There's that.

I'll be really interested in what the full On The Media thing looks like. I think I would like to hear a more professional, less ranting-blog-post story on Wadhwa and how he became an "expert" on women in tech, which I suspect wouldn't necessarily make him come off any better.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:33 PM on February 11, 2015

Well, well, well....
posted by bq at 8:34 PM on February 11, 2015

WTF happened? I am so confused. Why was the episode taken down?

(Also yeah I don't necessarily see DM's as creepy but I'm not in a place on Twitter where I get a lot of interaction from strangers.)
posted by radioamy at 9:51 PM on February 11, 2015

This post is about the show being offline, sounds like the guy's legal team threatened them.
posted by mathowie at 11:24 AM on February 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Thanks for linking to that article, mathowie.

This quote kills me: "So what would be the most ironic thing for Wadhwa to do in response to me writing a piece pointing out that he’s keeping women’s voices out of the mainstream media? Maybe getting the WNYC On The Media "Quiet Wadhwa" episode taken down?"
posted by radioamy at 12:19 PM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

TLDR added a note about why they took the show offline:
WNYC decided to remove this episode, because it centered on an internet debate about author Vivek Wadhwa and we failed a basic test of fairness: we did not invite him to comment. We are planning a follow-up that will address both the original issue and the ensuing conversation around the removal of the episode. We are keenly aware of the discussion out there and will release the new piece as soon as it is ready.
posted by pb at 9:36 AM on February 13, 2015

If they wanted to do a followup episode and give him a response, that would be fine. Removing the podcast is shitty, and basically says 'how dare a woman have an opinion without it being controlled and moderated by a man'.
posted by tavella at 10:21 AM on February 13, 2015

The ever-changing notice on the page -- this is what, its third iteration now? -- is also a bit shitty; and seems to me to play against OTM's principles of transparency in media and owning your words.

They would have been much better served by (a) providing a clear explanation the first time -- something like "we have received a complaint from Vivek Wadhwa and have removed this episode pending our investigation; we will provide further updates later", and (b) making their subsequent changes as chronological additions to the page, rather than by silently replacing the existing text.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:02 AM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

I like this Gizmodo piece's take:

"It is one thing to pull or disavow something published because it contains factual errors or has been objectively misreported. It is another to pull a story because of the hurt feelings of a powerful person. The first case is prudent. The second case is dangerous kowtowing that undermines what is important about journalism."
posted by radioamy at 7:13 PM on February 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

« Older Podcast: Radiolab from WNYC: A...   |  Downton Abbey: Season 5, Episo... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments