March 15, 2012

"Lucy Bickerton... sued the hightone chatterbox... claiming she worked like a dog, but got stiffed on the pay."

The "hightone chatterbox" — I love The Daily News! — is Charlie Rose.
She says she toiled away 25 hours a week from June to August 2007, researching for the host, putting press packets together, escorting the guests and cleaning up after the show....

State law prohibits unpaid interns unless they are being trained and not performing in place of paid employees....

“Central to the show’s lean production are the substantial number of unpaid interns who work on The Charlie Rose Show each day, but are paid no wages,” Bickerton charges in the suit.
Rose has been running his lean operation with "at least 10 interns doing his bidding," and Bickerton's suit is a class action.

I feel the urge to connect this to the recent uproar over Rush Limbaugh. Liberals are trying to destroy Limbaugh by attacking him for his failure to live up to principles that could be characterized as either liberal or conservative. (Treating women with special respect — is that a feminist or a traditional-values notion?) Now, here's a way to attack the liberal icon Charlie Rose, using what I think are mostly liberal principles: minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and government-imposed rules about labor relations. Also: ensuring that the children of the wealthy don't get special advantages. (They're the ones that can afford to begin their careers with nonpaying internships.) I assume libertarians and conservatives don't worry about free citizens freely choosing to work for free.

But you can't really compare Charlie Rose to Rush Limbaugh. There's no fun in bringing down Charlie Rose, and, anyway, conservatives aren't salivating at the opportunity to destroy a voice on the left, are they? Just let him keep talking, keep competing in the marketplace of ideas. Let him keep producing audio sound bites for Rush to ridicule.

59 comments:

edutcher said...

Only seen a couple of snippets of Rose over the years and he's a bore, so that's another way he's not like Rush, but, yeah, funny how we haven't heard much about this.

Dan in Philly said...

I hate the lawsuit because it ignores the real fact that the intern can now say she worked for Charlie Rose, which will surely open doors for her that would otherwise be closed. That's worth far more than minimum wage no matter if she poured coffee, answered fan mail, or ran production.

C R Krieger said...

I go with the last sentence, "Let him keep producing audio sound bites for Rush to ridicule."

Regards  —  Cliff

FloridaSteve said...

I struggle to think of a single example of a conservatives host (from any media source) advocating for the elimination/censorship of any liberal pundit. Why would they? It's grist for the mill. Even Bill Maher at ABC was a spontaneous outpouring of rage by the genera public. did Rush (or anyone) call for his immediate removal from the airwaves?

edutcher said...

Actually, they didn't.

ABC knew trouble when they saw it.

deborah said...

I don't like to watch Rose because he interrupts his guests too much. Very bad interviewing technique.

As far as the intern, she signed on as non-pay, so how can she complain now? And I'll bet she received glowing recommendations from Charlie.

BarryD said...

Charlie Rose sucks.

Now that that's out of the way, I don't pay my dogs anything. Two are working gundogs that do a lot of hard work (they do enjoy it).

So if someone is going to be Charlie Rose's dog, they ought to expect to be paid like one, especially given that he's so obviously a douche.

rcommal said...

I'm torn on the issue of internships. They can be and are abused, but on the other hand they can offer real, practical experience and opportunity.

virgil xenophon said...

Charlie Rose is the perfect example of the old British saying: "He's too clever by half." The man absolutely loves the sound of his own voice. What an all too insightful woman I was dating years ago once asked me is true in spades regards Charlie Rose: "Are you really smart? Or are you just glib?"

(PS: I obviously dropped her like a hot potato--she was FAR too insightful for my own good, lol)

J.R. said...

My reaction whenever I hear Charlie Rose mentioned: he's a journalist right? Google images to see what he looks like. Nope, never seen nor heard him.

rehajm said...

did Rush (or anyone) call for his immediate removal from the airwaves?

Rush wouldn't. Liberals believe in central planning and would demand the government to 'do something', conservatives believe market forces will eventually take care of it...'Air America' as a verb.

rcommal said...

I was not rich, and I worked *many* different part-time jobs in my college years (most quite so-called "lowly" and in some cases even "grimy." But I did participate in a couple of part-time internships, and they were invaluable. One of them, at a magazine, resulted in some "real clips" for a portfolio and experience which later absolutely helped me get work as a freelance writer (while working full-time for a financial services company, to pay the bills) which, in turn, helped lead to full-time work first for a television station and later for a couple of newspapers (and later other things, if you want to extend it and believe in the step-by-step approach to building a work life).

Those unpaid (and in my case, no college credit, either) was worth every zero penny I earned.

Yet I know there can be abuses.

So.

EDH said...

Ever notice, as an interviewer, Charlie Rose obnoxiously believes the question can be more interesting than the answer.

He'll add multiple clauses to a question, each time after a brief pause, interrupting again and again as the guest attempts to begin the answer, as if to add some profound new insight to the question.

Crimso said...

"Now, here's a way to attack the liberal icon Charlie Rose, using what I think are mostly liberal principles"

Paging Fen.

So a liberal icon doesn't really believe in the things liberals lecture the rest of us about? In other news, scientists have discovered that water is wet.

Joe Schmoe said...

I have to mention something that's been on my mind as I've read through Ann's posts lately. One trend I don't like appears to be the need to have some third party adjudicate all of one's grievances rather than deal with them directly.

In this case, it sounds like Lucy didn't address her grievance with Rose, but chose to sue after she found out about the state's intern laws. In the case of the Goldman Sachs guy, Goldman claims to have been blindsided by his op-ed, which means he may have done very little to address his superiors about the ethical breaches that were troubling him.

I don't mind resorting to third parties if you are unable to resolve your problem, especially if you have protections under the law, but can't we start by directly addressing the people we have an issue with? I don't like this trend of avoiding conflict and always using someone else to seek redress on our behalf. If you don't like what's going on, speak up about it. If you can't change it, move on.

Scott M said...

In other news, scientists have discovered that water is wet.

Blatant plagiarism without citation and you call yourself a scientist, man? I'm going to go find that other guy in the other thread and tattle.

garage mahal said...

Charlie Rose is a liberal icon? WTF? He is a classic villager, despised in liberal circles.

traditionalguy said...

Rose is the ultimate Baby Boomer liberal who still believes what he thinks is what rules the world.


He is boring in the digital age where actual in depth knowledge has outflanked the outdated the liberal's story world, circa 1968.

Joe Schmoe said...

Garage, what's a 'classic villager' and why is it a disparaging term?

I love your allusion to group think. All liberals despise Charlie Rose; got it. That thinking-for-yourself-and-forming-your-own-opinion stuff is so overrated. I need a liberal circle to think for me.

Jay Vogt said...

Have to let NY state work that one out. But, I kind of like Charlie Rose's show - though I see it rarely.

He's the sole remaining practitioner of a pretty good TV format. One that reached its high point with the great Tom Snyder (late night, dark background, no side-kick, extended time for guests, jovial atmosphere, a couple of cups of coffee, maybe a pop or two before the show, etc).

If Charlie would just light up a heater and let the smoke weave its way across the stage, he might be really have something.

Crimso said...

ScottM:
Better watch your back in the hole. I'll pod you if I sense you're any threat to my career.

Everyone else:
Let those imaginations run wild.

Scott M said...

Just try it. I have Sansha Peer-Review hardeners.

Christy said...

She knew she wouldn't get paid. Isn't this an example of the entitlement mentality of the Occupy generation?

In engineering we call them co-ops and they get paid decently.

Rialby said...

I have a friend who was hit on by Mr Rose. She worked for someone very close to Mr Rose.

garage mahal said...

Garage, what's a 'classic villager' and why is it a disparaging term

Think David Brooks, Sally Quinn, Chris Matthews, Dana Milbank, Maureen Dowd. Sex obsessed millionaire D+ elites who think they are enlightened, socially liberal, who are stuck in the beltway cocktail circuit, who, for some reason, think they speak for average Americans. Nantucket Tim Russert may have been the Village Godfather.

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

I'm conservative and I like Charlie Rose interviews. He is always well prepared, and it's not your usual brain dead conversation you hear on the Sunday Morning news shows. He gets people off their talking points list, and makes it interesting. This is me being fair and balanced.

Joe Schmoe said...

TCB, I've only seen him do one interview with Steve Carell, but it was great. Otherwise I don't know anything else about him.

From the article:
she toiled away 25 hours a week from June to August 2007
That sounds like a crushing workload for a summer job. In AIR-CONDITIONING, no less.

I'm sorry; I worked so many shit summer jobs in my formative years that I'm having a tough time feeling sorry for Ms. Bickerton (whose name sounds like someone right out of a Thackeray or Dickens novel).

Methadras said...

It's an unpaid internship. What part of that did this intern not understand?

Methadras said...

It's an unpaid internship. What part of that did this intern not understand?

caplight45 said...

The reason internships paid, under paid or unpaid exist is because they increase the value of the intern in the job or academic market. If they didn't no one would sign up for them. It is really a matter of market forces at work.

As has been said she knew that going in and has received the value of the internship and now wants to renegotiate the terms retroactively.

leslyn said...

Contract is contract. If the intern did not receive her half of the bargain (i.e. "training"), then I suppose she is due minimal damages for breach.

But if the tasks she performed, however routine or menial, gave her the exposure to and knowledge of the political broadcasting business and its denizens, then I think she got what she bargained for. It'll be interesting to see what her opportunities were, and if she used them.

rcommal said...

Perhaps Ms. Bickerton isn't finding her work in (in appears: scroll down) freelance video and film production sufficiently remunerative at present. (Note also that she chose to file under NY law rather than federal law due to statute of limitations issues.)

Titus said...

Charlie Rose is a liberal icon?

Blue@9 said...

Charlie Rose is a liberal icon?

Well, he's boring and vacuous, so you can't blame us for making the association. ;)

bgates said...

I don't think it's worth it to use stupid laws about intern treatment to bring down Charlie Rose, but surely it's worth it to use Charlie Rose to bring down stupid laws about intern treatment.

Michael said...

Why doesnt she set up some tables to look like a xongressional hearing and tell us all about it like the other one did.

Joe said...

Did Charlie Rose lie to Ms. Bickerton about wages before she accepted to work for him as an intern? If she knew she wasn't going to be paid, why did she take the job? How can you get stiffed on pay that was never owed in the first place? I see nothing to indicate she worked outside a defined area of responsibility.

"She says she toiled away 25 hours a week..."

Toiled doesn't mean what she thinks it means.

rcommal said...

Toiled doesn't mean what she thinks it means.

AMEN!!!!! I mean, at least I strongly suspect this is true.

Synova said...

Unpaid internships reinforce upper class elitism. Only the upper class can afford to have their young adults work for free for future benefit.

And there is no reason at all for Charlie Rose not to pay them. Is he a charity? No, he's not.

So...

Not that I have a problem with people choosing to work for free in exchange for training and experience (or a G4 device), but if it was lower class apprenticeships, or getting free labor from homeless people... well, that's a different kettle of fish, isn't it.

Rich people who can afford employees are able to get free labor from rich people who can afford to work for nothing.

Poor people who can't afford employees are prohibited by law to exchange training and experience for free labor from poor people who would benefit from the training and experience.

Something is wrong there.

William said...

A rose by any other name would be James Lipton when it comes to massaging the egos of his VIP guests. That's his greatest skill--brownnosing his liberal guests.....As Althouse points out, unpaid internships are by their very nature discriminatory. Only the children of the haute bourgeoise can afford to work for nothing and dress for success.

ricpic said...

But but...the privilege of being in Rose' august presence, absorbing the supremely correct thoughts of the master, is compensation enough.

ricpic said...

Synova's point about rich people getting free labor out of interns (other rich people) but poor people being denied the apprentice experience by law goes to the very essence of what motivates liberals: a deep and abiding animus toward proles and the enactment of that animus through a web of rules and regulations designed to keep proles down.

Chip Ahoy said...

I had two internships, one at 13 and another at 14. I'll tell you about them some time. Both were not actual conventional legal internships where I got hired through HR, they were instances of me attaching myself so thoroughly by being earnest, persistent, consistent, reliable, well behaved and adorable that I could not be shaken off and eventually in both cases making myself useful and learning mad purposeful skillz in industry along with a whole new language. When I look back at those experiences I am reminded how remarkably tolerant and willing to share knowledge people are towards children.

[I checked, apparently toward / towards are interchangeable.]

rcommal said...

Again, not all internships are the same and not all who participate in them are affluent or the offspring if the affluent. I think some assumptions--broad-brushes-- need to be re-evaluated. Beware the law of unintended consequences. Just a a gentle warning/reminder.

n.n said...

Interns of the world, unite!

I think a large minority and perhaps a slight majority of Americans are incapable of properly characterizing the significant differences between totalitarian (e.g. communism, socialism, left-wing oriented regimes) and free societies.

Assuming legitimate good intentions, in their effort to address real and perceived challenges, they seem predisposed to advancing one extreme, more progressive, over another. I wouldn't mind it so much, as it would ensure the decline of a global competitor, but I call America home, and have to live through this nonsense.

Jay Vogt said...

Also, if I might,
12wks @ 25hrs @ say $20/hr = $6k
Move on already.

ElPresidenteCastro said...

She was probably paid what she was worth.

The elitism of the unpaid internship is what is so objectionable. None but the children of plutocrats can afford to work for free.

ken in sc said...

I once had a Catholic Priest tell me he thought NPR was too conservative and was biased in favor of the first Bush administration--it was in those days. I guess the priest was not a 'villager'.

bgates said...

12wks @ 25hrs @ say $20/hr = $6k

That would leave her a mere $5770 after she bought her summer contraceptives.

JorgXMcKie said...

I occasionally 'teach' an internship course for students in Public Administration and Non-Profit Admin. They are usually unpaid.

Over the past 10 years or so the interns average about 75% in terms of getting job offers [for decent positions at decent wages] through the internships.

About 2/3 of the students accept the offers. So, about 50% of our intern-students get their first 'real' job after graduation through the internship. [That is, they get a job either at the org they worked for or directly as a result of working there.]

So far almost all of them think it's a good idea.

ed said...

"Just try it. I have Sansha Peer-Review hardeners. " - Scott M.

Don't make me wardec you. :)

ed said...

Frankly the entire point behind an unpaid internship isn't about what value the employer is getting out of the deal but rather what the intern is getting. Unpaid intern does not equal free labor. An unpaid intern is supposed to be there to learn skills and get experience that would otherwise not be available. Janitorial services and the like do not qualify.

IMO if you really want to see how abusive the whole unpaid intern nonsense can be all you have to do is look for the "help wanted" advertisements that want highly skilled web developers that are willing to work as unpaid interns.

Which is completely hilarious to me because some of the technical requirements I've seen extend two pages and involve just about every single piece of technology imaginable.

Joe Schmoe said...

@$20/hr

The law states she's entitled to at least minimum wage at $7.15. So we're talking a whole lot less than $6K. More like $2K.

And I don't agree that unpaid internships are only the purview of the rich. If you're doing it part-time during a school semester, then you're paying for your room and board anyway. And if you're only doing it for 25 hours a week in the summer, then you have time to wait tables or something on the weekends to make ends meet. I know that cuts into party time, but oh well.

Richard Dale said...

Who is Charlie Rose?

OK so I am English, and have never lived in the USA, but I do know exactly who Rush Limbaugh is. That is why socialists hate Limbaugh and libertarians and conservatives don't care about Rose. He just has no impact.

Moneyrunner said...

I see a lot of commenters are missing the point. It’s not a question of whether interns are free labor, this issue is whether Rose if living up to his Liberal standards by using unpaid interns instead of paying them. In Virginia employers must meet six criteria to forgo paying interns. They include that (to quote a local paper) the company “derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern,” that “the intern does not displace regular employees,” and that the experience be “similar to training which would be given in an educational environment.”
For example: An internship at a science lab may be unpaid if the student is learning about “techniques such as how to do a tissue culture.” But the student must be paid if he is “washing the glassware in the lab or adding food to the Petri dishes.”
When I worked at an investment firm in Norfolk, we had unpaid interns for a few years, but the federal and state rules were such that the interns that were hired in the last decade were all paid because there was no proof that they learned anything during the summer.

Based on her description of her duties, Lucy Bickerton didn’t learn a thing that she would not have learned by staying home and cleaning up. In Virginia, Rose would be in violation of the law as well as the professed standards of the Liberal community. Mother Jones, which in some Liberal circles does double duty as the Liberal substitute for holy writ, agrees.

Synova said...

"then you have time to wait tables or something on the weekends to make ends meet."

You have time, but can you get the job? Also, if the job is too far to commute, you need rent.

It's not that it can't be done. And I'm not arguing that it can't be done. But the same opportunity comes with different costs and restrictions if you have to pay for it from your own pocket.

For example, I've applied for a paid summer internship, and if by some miracle they want to hire me, my being able to accept the job depends upon getting a second car. If I can't do that, I have to say *no*.

It's not that people who have only themselves for support are barred from taking an internship that isn't paid, it's that the offspring of the wealthy don't have to look at each opportunity and ask... how will I eat?

Moneyrunner said...

In my experience, interns are not seeking to support a family or even earning money so that they won’t starve. For that, you may want to try the fast food industry.

Synova said...

"In my experience, interns are not seeking to support a family or even earning money so that they won’t starve. For that, you may want to try the fast food industry."

I think you need to explain what point you intend to make.

If interns are not seeking to support a family or earning money to support themselves (rent, food, etc), then just maybe that's because *EVERYONE* who is in that position is excluded from internships.

You think?

I don't think that internships are bad. They obviously have benefits that make them very worth while. But if we recognize those benefits for the people who are in positions of privilege such that they can take advantage of the opportunities, we ought to also recognize the benefits of bartering labor for training or apprenticeships in other areas that are more accessible to people who are less wealthy.

Forbes said...

If you were to view the production credits at the end of Charlie Rose's show, it is unlikely anyone would conclude he runs a lean operation. Feature films in the '60s had smaller crews.