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New study: Prime time cable news shows are much too white



Punditspan_3_2  I noted some time ago that the three big cable TV news channels featuring the most election coverage were also woefully lacking in diversity -- featuring prime time lineups hosted almost entirely by middle-aged white guys.

Now the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters has issued a study noting that the racial imbalance extends to the guests, tabulating more than 1,700 appearances by guests on 12 prime time cable news shows in May. According to their calculations, 67 percent of the guests on these shows were men, while 84 percent of the guests were white.

Though Fox News, the recipient of a Thumbs Down award from the National Association of Black Journalists last week, was considered the whitest network at 88 percent white guests, CNN and MSNBC came close with 83 percent white guests in May.

Curiously, the racial imbalance doesn't seem to come from a lack of black people. According to the study, black guests appear in numbers close to their 12 percent share of the population. But Latinos and Asian Americans are horribly under-utilized, with Native Americans, literally, nowhere to be seen.

Also of note: Media Matters contends that MSNBC's answer to Fox News-style conservatism, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, ranked among the most male and most white cable TV news shows, with 84 percent male guests and 91 percent white guests. Liberals who have turned to Olbermann as their hope for challenging conservative domination of cable TV news may find these totals troubling, and a signal that opposing the GOP doesn't automatically put you on the right side of every issue important to liberal people.

What this means, is that the primary platforms for continuous news coverage in our country continue to be dominated by white males. Which means the issues discussed, perspectives presented, information delivered and soluitions considered may be coming from a seriously selective demographic.

Here's hoping the cable TV news channels take a hint and work harder to add a wider range of voices to their signature shows.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:49pm]


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