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CHARLIE ROSE
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There are many fans of Charlie Rose out there.  Here’s a sampling of the inbox since the announcement was made that PBS, CBS News and Bloomberg were all terminating their relationship with him following allegations of sexual impropriety.

“I watch it every night and quite honestly, am beyond heartbroken at the loss of this important contribution to my knowledge every day.” Christy Kennedy, Denver, CO

“He may be guilty of sexual harassment but the majority of us that loved watching him and learning from him, want him back.” Linda Parker, Las Vegas, NV

“I don’t care about the sexual relationships of journalists, politicians, celebrities etc…the question is, Are they good at their jobs?” Ted Fredrickson, Milwaukee, WI

WOMEN ARE SOME OF HIS BIGGEST FANS

For those of you who think women support the decision to drop him, not all of them do.

“I as a professional woman is outraged at your decision to let Charlie Rose go from your programming. Are you crazy?”  Ms. Jay Halcrow, Englewood, FL

“If women don’t want any men attention they should not enlarge their lips and breasts and don’t wear Provocative cloth and perfume. Men are men. Now I’m almost seventy. When I was young I was not bad looking, worked in the most famous press agency in Moscow, but I never gave a reason To any men at work to make sexual advances.”  Isabella Markhovsky, Saratoga, CA

“…many young women have not had the experience of working with men in a professional environment.  I speak from years of experience in the fashion industry and 62 years of wisdom. There are ways to nip things in the bud.  Charlie Rose cannot be purely at blame…I will not be supporting PBS any longer.”  Suzi Renaud, Paudcah, KY

It appears that there is a generational divide. I’ve heard from many women who entered the workforce in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s who basically suggest that girls need to “toughen up.”  While I empathize somewhat with that statement, I’m not sure I agree. As the mother of two college-aged daughters, I really hope that things have improved for them as they enter the workforce and they don’t have to put up with some of the barriers to progressing that their mother and grandmothers’ generations had to deal with.  I also hope that young men are also learning that the Mad Men era behavior is not acceptable in the workplace of today.

Clearly Mr. Rose has legions of fans for his PBS show, as I’m sure he does for his work at CBS News.  

BUT WHAT ABOUT…

We are clearly at a moment, a tipping point, where allegations of sexual harassment are taken seriously and responses happen fast. Too fast for some, or at least too fast for the people we like. Yes, as I wrote last week, the reaction to this issue has now been broken down into factional responses, depending on which side of the partisan divide you are on.

I’m still hearing from people who say that as long as Donald Trump (who has several allegations against him) hasn’t been removed, why should Charlie Rose? As if somehow PBS or CBS has it in their purview to “remove” Donald Trump. This argument is also intellectually lazy and smacks of the “whataboutism” that has so defined our political discourse of late.

WHAT ABOUT DUE PROCESS?

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Many of you wrote in to say that Mr. Rose has been denied due process. Glenn Howard from Glen Cove, N.Y., wrote, “You(r) (sic) action, while I think I understand it, with reference to Mr. Rose is a violation of the US Constitution where all are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.” And Thomas Johnson opined, “Your violation of basic principles of justice are much more disturbing to many of us than anything Mr. Rose has apparently done.”  Avi Barr is also incensed: “PBS like CBS are becoming the judge, jury and executioner. Be care of the precedence that is being set.”

While I appreciate the passion of Mr. Rose’s fans, they know, as we all do, that Mr. Rose’s constitutional rights have remained unharmed throughout this process. Mr. Rose’s relationship with broadcast partners and employers was severed. He doesn’t have a constitutional right to those relationships. They are business relationships that can be terminated at any point. 

While I am not privy to the discussions that took place that led to the decisions, I will say that all these stories about sexual misconduct that have been reported the last few months are done so with meticulous care, accuracy and reporting of the highest standards. Though we, the public, think that these decisions are made instantly, the employers usually know these stories are coming during the process of reporting and are no doubt looking into the allegations themselves. A decision to let someone go is never taken lightly, and the fact that Mr. Rose did not categorically deny the claims tells us something. 

Just as in the case of so many of the cases of the last few weeks, actor Kevin Spacey, Michael Oreskes from NPR, Mark Halperin from NBC and many others, a watered down apology for past behaviors seems a tacit admission on their part.

Companies have the right to hire and fire, often at will, but certainly for cause.  And, as I’ve written before, Mr. Rose failed to live up to the professional standards of behavior expected of him, which seems good enough reason to me. Maybe legal action will emerge? CBS News reported on three new allegations by women at CBS News who came forward after the story broke. 

WHO WILL REPLACE CHARLIE ROSE?

It’s a question that has been posed both in our inbox and speculated on across social media, who will PBS replace him with? Here are some of the picks from Elle.com.

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Left to right: Gayle King, Joy Ann Reid, Terry Gross, Rachel Maddow, Tamron Hall

While it’s a fun parlor game, it’s not as simple as that.  As explained in my last column, the Charlie Rose show is owned and produced by Charlie Rose productions. It is responsible for the show that is distributed by PBS and Bloomberg. PBS does not have a financial arrangement with Rose, and Bloomberg had a commercial arrangement that combined distribution on Bloomberg TV along with use of the Bloomberg studios. I suppose theoretically his company could replace him with another host and those relationships could be revived, though it’s hard to see that happening. 

Is there room for another in-depth talk show that could fill that slot? Absolutely. How would such a show get to PBS? Well another production company would have to come up with a show idea and pitch to PBS to carry. 

PBS distributed the Charlie Rose show for free, but maybe they want to spend some money and provide seed funding for a new show working with a presenting public television station and independent producers.

All that is to say that to everything there is a season, and after a good run of 25 years, Mr. Rose has forfeited his slot. 

There should always be room for intelligent and enlightening conversation on PBS and frankly, this could be the perfect opportunity to create something that speaks to our times and doesn’t rely on the conventional wisdom of the same circle of pundits and prognosticators that commandeered much of the air on Charlie Rose.

Many of you have asked about the archive.  The show is archived, as it always has been, at the production company’s site charlierose.com.