MALDEF

Ethnic and Gender Disparities Found on Prime-Time Cable News

Pop Quiz: It’s 8pm and you’re watching one of the three major cable news networks.  You see a Latino face.  Is he or she more likely to be (A) a guest on the show commentating on the latest news item, or (B) video footage of illegal immigrants jumping a border fence?

If you’ve read the latest report by Media Matters, “Gender and Ethnic Diversity in Prime-Time Cable News,” your answer would probably be B.  Media Matters for America, a non-profit organization “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media,” recently documented the gender and ethnicity of every guest on the networks’ primetime shows, and the results are not encouraging.

Some of the findings:
In total, 67 percent of the guests on these cable programs were men, while 84 percent were white.

MSNBC showed 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 American population, they made up only 2.7 percent of cable news guests. The worst of the three networks on this score was MSNBC, which featured only six Latino guests out of 460 prime-time appearances during the entire month.
To read the full report, click here.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund