A report released Monday by watchdog group Media Matters for America documented the continuing lack of women and minorities in prime-time news programs. The three-week study of MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN‘s nightly news shows found that hosts and guests are still overwhelmingly male and white. Of the 35 hosts and co-hosts, 29 were men, and all were white, according to the report. Women did not make up at least half of the guests on a single one of the three cable networks, and on some networks they comprised as little as 18 percent.
The study covered the weeks surrounding the firestorm over radio host Don Imus’ racist and sexist comments about the Rutgers University basketball team. During the week of Imus coverage, significantly more African-American guests were brought onto the shows, but there was not an increase in women guests. After the controversy, the news shows returned to their regularly scheduled programming of predominately white guests.
“This report documents the harsh reality that women and people of color know all too well,” said David Brock, president and CEO of Media Matters. “Their voices are seldom heard on the major cable news programs unless an issue of gender or race arises.”
The study also found that Latinos, Asian-Americans, and members of other ethnic groups made up less than 5 percent of the guests throughout the three weeks. MSNBC had the worst minority representation — between 70 and 93 percent of the guests were white.