July 28, 2008
-- by Dave Johnson
Media Matters has a study of 1700 guest appearances on cable news channels that shows that the people represented are largely white and male. Other Media matters studies showed the same on the Sunday news shows.
Media Matters for America examined four programs on each of the three cable news networks during prime time, and recorded the gender and ethnicity of every guest who appeared during the month of May 2008 -- nearly 1,700 guest appearances in all. The results demonstrate that, at least in prime time, whatever effort the networks have made to increase the diversity of their guests have borne little fruit. Although there may be more African-American political analysts appearing during the daytime hours (particularly on CNN and MSNBC) in prime time -- when the audiences are largest -- white men continue to dominate.And let me point out thatyou will never, ever see someone explaining the benefits of joining a union on corporate media outlets.
Key findings include:
* In total, 67 percent of the guests on these cable programs were men, while 84 percent were white.
* MSNBC featured the greatest gender imbalance, with 70 percent of its guests being male. CNN and Fox News were not far behind; each of those networks featured 65 percent male guests.
* Fox News was the whitest network, with 88 percent white guests. CNN and MSNBC were close behind, with both featuring 83 percent white guests.
* Latinos were particularly underrepresented. Though they now comprise 15 percent of the U.S. population, they made up only 2.7 percent of the guests. The worst of the three networks on this score was MSNBC, which featured only 6 prime-time appearances by Latinos during the entire month (out of a total of 460 guest appearances).
* A number of ethnic groups were shut out entirely, or nearly so, on some networks. During this month, there was only one appearance by an Asian-American on MSNBC, and only one on Fox News. Across all three networks, there were only four appearances by someone of Middle Eastern descent.
* Though white men make up only 32 percent of the population, they made up 57 percent of the guests on prime-time cable during this period. The host of every single prime-time cable show is white, and all but two (Greta Van Susteren of Fox News and Campbell Brown of CNN) are men.
Posted by Dave Johnson at July 28, 2008 9:25 AM
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I don't see what the big deal is. Most cable news viewers are middle-aged white guys so of course they are going to be "overrepresented"
There was a time when the idea of democracy was that "the press" -- information media -- was to serve the public at large, not just corporate white males.
Seems to me the "Press" has been serving a corporate
black male to the exclusion of democracy and facts for the last eighteen months...
Posted by: Panzerfaust at July 28, 2008 5:38 PM
If it were possible to determine the income/wealth of those whose opinions are solicited and presented on television, you would see a level of disproportionate representation in favor of the rich that would vastly outpace all other measures. The over-representation of white males is just a corollary.
Posted by: richard at July 28, 2008 7:50 PM
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