Sexism in Healthcare Reporting

NBC should consider re-branding as the “anti-woman” network.  Our culture needs to change so women feel valued and respected, comfortable and safe in the workplace, and are provided ample opportunities for leadership and growth.  NBC actions show they care little about gender equality in the workplace, prioritizing the comfort of males over that of females.  During a recent interview, former “Today Show” anchor Anne Curry asked a poignant question after “not being surprised by the allegations” against “golden boy” Matt Lauer.  “What are we gonna do to make sure these women work and are not sidelined and prevented from contributing to the greater good?”  My answer is we must continue to call attention when major networks push women aside. 

Morgan Radford is an NBC correspondent who reported on parents who were concerned about their children playing football due to risks of long-term neurologic damage.  She interviewed two physicians for her segment — a pediatrician by the name of Dyan Hes, MD and Lee Goldstein, MD, PhD, an internal medicine physician.  One would think both physicians were interviewed as experts in their fields; however, at some networks there appears to be “a power imbalance where women are not valued as much as men” according to Anne Curry.  Dr. Hes is a physician and a mother to a teenage son, whom she understandably, will not allow to play football.  Dr. Goldstein is a researcher and recently completed a study about the risk of brain injury resulting from even mild head trauma. 

The segment is posted here, for some unknown reason only one physician had his education properly credited.  Is it because he “looks like” a physician according to the stereotype of being older, white, and male?  Why was the fact that Dr. Hes is a physician strategically omitted?  Morgan Radfords’ mother is a Ph.D-level psychologist according to an article published by the American Psychological Association.   It states, “Psychologist Lily Kelly-Radford is proof positive that a high-powered career and family life can co-exist.”  How can her daughter, Morgan, be so dismissive of another woman’s’ significant educational accomplishments?   An email received by Dr. Hes’ press agent stated a senior producer purposefully edited out the fact that “Dyan” was actually a physician.  An M-D degree cannot be explained away, regardless of gender.  Her educational background qualifies her as a “subject matter expert” in a court of law, why not the mass media? 

NBC aired their strategically edited segment and the outcry from physicians across the country was deafening.  Without thinking, Ms. Radford and a senior producer contacted Dr. Hes directly to reassure her they did not “source” her as a mother and physician because it was considered “unethical” to have dual roles.  When she responded that ABC News, CBS This Morning, and even FOX news had no such problem, they coldly stated “It’s not all about you.”  Anne Curry recently said, a culture “that enables the diminishing of women” will persist until there is a balance of power between both genders.  It is becoming more and more evident NBC is failing women. 

Last year, courageous correspondents Ronan Farrow and Rich McHugh, wanted to publicize an investigative report on credible allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein.  Reportedly, a senior producer declined the story because “it was not ready.”   Not to be deterred, Mr. Farrow took the story elsewhere and the rest has become history by launching #MeToo, the movement which ultimately may have contributed to derailing Matt Lauer’s career.  Andrew Lack, NBC News Chairman sent a memo to staff admitting, “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.” 

Longtime co-anchor Katie Couric has said Matt Lauer pinched her bottom when they were co-workers without reprimand.  Anne Curry, acknowledged “there was a climate of verbal sexual harassment” which was pervasive at NBC.   Is NBC a blatantly sexist organization?  Why else would they conceal the fact Dr. Hes, an accomplished pediatrician, is indeed a physician?  Is this how they “sideline” women and maintain the power imbalance?  It is time to hold NBC accountable for being committed to reporting honest news.  #ShameonNBC for their hatred of educated and powerful women.  Maybe we should boycott NBC until they apologize to Dr. Hes and women physicians across the nation for their stand against us. 

#Shame on NBC

Niran Al Agba, MD is a pediatrician in Washington state.

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Matthew Holt

To be fair I only watch soccer and the olympics on NBC but I’m amazed to be saying that Narin is correct


In 2011, a summary of world-wide progress for reducing maternal mortality appeared in a nationally prominent medical journal. There was “not one word” about the unequaled dismal status of maternal mortality occurring within the United States. In addition, there was no editorial comment as well. I have always wondered about what the authors of the report thought about this. One was on the faculty of a prominent medical school College of Public Health and the other author worked for UNICEF. . There can be no excuse for the omissions other than an editorial bias. This bias is broadly represented throughout… Read more »

Niran Al-Agba

Will do. Thanks for the recommendation.