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My Baby or My Job

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MC: So if Bob hadn’t been injured, you still would have been the co-anchors?
EV: Undoubtedly. Bob would be in that chair, with someone filling in for me, and I’d return—perhaps.

MC: Why “perhaps? Did the idea of having two small children seem daunting?
EV: Other female anchors, like Katie Couric and Soledad O’Brien, also have children. But Katie’s are older now. And Soledad does a morning show, so she’s there for them in the evenings. While I was doing the news solo, Marc and I saw the toll it took on Zachary—he would refuse to go to sleep till Mommy came home. It was heartbreaking.

MC: In May 2006, Charlie Gibson, who had reportedly lobbied hard for the job, was named sole anchor. When the news got out that he’d been given the job instead of you, you became a poster child for women shunted aside be-cause of pregnancy. NOW joined with the Feminist Majority Foundation and the National Council of Women’s Organizations to protest your depar¬ture. In a letter sent to ABC, they called your move to 20/20 a “clear demotion” and “a dispiriting return to the days of discrimination against women that we thought were behind us.” NOW president Kim Gandy told the Washington Post, “It seems unlikely to me, having survived and thrived through her first pregnancy, that she would logically give up the top job in TV a few months out, anticipating she couldn’t handle it. It just doesn’t strike me as a logical explanation. I don’t think there are too many men who would be happy to be removed from the anchor chair.”
EV: I salute 100 percent these organizations. But I will tell you, nobody from any one of them ever spoke to me. No one ever asked, point blank, “What happened to you? Did you get pushed out because you’re pregnant, and are you upset about it?”

MC: If they had called, what would you have said?
EV: [pause] I would have said, “Listen, this is a tremendously difficult deci¬sion for me to make, but this is what’s best for my family. I’m rolling the dice, I’m gambling, I think it’s a good bet that I’m gonna have another shot at a job like this. Charlie likes to say he’s the victim of circumstance. In many cases, we all are. There’s a whole pano¬ply of things that happened in the last year-and-a-half that I could never have anticipated—and that teaches you that life isn’t something you manage. It hap¬pens, and you deal with it.

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