Media Matters For America: Special Report: Lack of Diversity on Cable News Continues
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 7, 2007
CONTACT: Media Matters For America
Karl Frisch (202) 772-8156
Special Report: Lack of Diversity on Cable News Continues
Media Matters Report Shows Lack of Gender and Ethnic Diversity Persists on Cable News Despite Imus Controversy
WASHINGTON - May 7 - Media Matters for America
today released "Locked Out: The Lack of Gender & Ethnic Diversity on
Cable News Continues," a special report documenting the continued lack of
gender and racial/ethnic diversity on the major prime-time cable news programs.
The weeks surrounding the controversy over Don Imus' bigoted comments
regarding the Rutgers
basketball team sparked a national debate about the racial divide that persists
in this country. Media Matters'
new report finds that the prime-time cable news broadcasts have returned to the
status quo that prevailed prior to the Imus controversy.
"This report documents the harsh reality that women and
people of color know all too well. Their voices are seldom heard on the major
cable news programs unless an issue of gender or race arises," said
David Brock, President and CEO of Media
Matters. "The public's
airwaves should reflect a diversity of views and personalities that mirrors the
great diversity of the American people. These voices add perspective, depth,
and value to the quality of our public discourse, whatever the issue at hand.
If we've learned anything from what has transpired in the past month, it
is that the networks have the power to make this change. But despite promises
made, and the dramatic public outcry in the wake of the Imus controversy, the
door to our newsrooms still remains locked for too many Americans."
Matters examined the three major cable news networks -- CNN,
Fox News Channel, and MSNBC -- during viewing hours from 7 to 10.p.m.,
documenting the gender and racial/ethnic makeup of guests during the weeknights
before the Imus controversy (Monday, April 2, through Friday, April 6), the
weeknights of the Imus controversy (Monday, April 9, through Friday, April 13),
and the weeknights following the Imus controversy (Monday, April 23, through
Friday, April 27; omitting the week directly following the Imus controversy
because it was consumed almost entirely by a single issue, the Virginia Tech
shootings, and thus was atypical). The results show that women and people of
color were severely underrepresented as guests on these cable networks in the
weeks before and after the Imus controversy, although the study found a small
increase in racial/ethnic diversity during the controversy.
Despite the attention
paid to racial and gender issues by the media and the public in the wake of the
Imus controversy, it appears little has been done to address the gross
underrepresentation of women and people of color on the cable networks.
- During the week of
the Imus controversy, the cable networks brought on a significant number
of African-American guests. But both before and after the controversy,
members of all minority groups, including African-Americans, were scarcely
- On shows airing
between 4 p.m. and midnight on cable news networks CNBC, CNN, CNN Headline
News, MSNBC, and Fox News, there are 35 hosts and co-hosts: 29 are men and
6 are women -- and all 35 are white.
- In the three weeks
covered by the study, less than 2 percent of the guests on CNN, Fox News,
and MSNBC were Latino, despite the fact that one out of every seven
Americans is Latino. Almost half of that small number of guest appearances
by Latinos were by Geraldo Rivera.
African-Americans, in the three weeks covered by the study, Latinos,
Asian-Americans, and members of other ethnic groups never made up more
than 5 percent of the guests on any of the three cable networks, CNN, Fox
News, and MSNBC.
- On none of
the networks, in none of the weeks studied, did women comprise half of the
guests appearing. In some cases, they represented as little as one-fifth
of all guests.
Media Matters for America is a not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Media Matters for America is the first organization to systematically monitor the media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. For more information, visit www.MediaMatters.org.