So it's now official: Diane Ravitch's new book, Reign of Error, is a New York Times bestseller, debuting at #10 on the hardcover non-fiction list. Congratulations to Diane on this outstanding literary achievement.
In contrast, Michelle Rhee's book of last spring, Radical, never made it on to the NY Times list. It did terribly in the Amazon.com sales rankings; folks working in the publishing industry tell me Radical is generally considered to be a commercial failure.
And yet Michelle Rhee managed to put together a book tour that would have made Stephen King envious. The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, Bill Maher, This Week... it seemed like Rhee was all over the media. Which begs a question:
Diane Ravitch has already sold many more books than Michelle Rhee. She writes a blog that, in its short life, has already received millions of hits. People flock to her lectures. There is clearly an audience for the point of view she is espousing. And yet, Diane Ravitch isn't on TV.
When will Ravitch be appearing on The Daily Show? The Colbert Report? Bill Maher's Real Time? NBC? Any of the cable news networks? This Week or any of the other Sunday morning gabfests? Tavis Smiley (she's been on before, but not since Reign of Error has come out)?
How about all the "liberal" shows on MSNBC: Maddow or O'Donnell or Sharpton or Hayes? You'd think they'd be begging Ravitch to come on their shows and explain her "conversion" as a former member of a Republican administration. Hayes in particular has done good work on education before; why isn't Ravitch on with him now that she is, once again, a best-selling author?
Michelle Rhee had her moment in the sun, even though she represents a point of view with which very few people are sympathetic. Why, then, deny Diane Ravitch -- far more popular as judged by her book sales -- equal access to the media? What could be the reason?