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  • It Took A Deadly Attack For CNN To Make Time For Pro-Choice Advocates In Its Slanted Abortion Discussions

    Over A 14-Month Period,  Anti-Choice Guests Dominated CNN’s Reproductive Rights Programming On Evening Shows

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL LARRIS

    In 2015 and early 2016, CNN hosted more than twice as many anti-choice guests as pro-choice guests on its evening news programs, according to a new Media Matters study. CNN also didn’t host any reproductive rights advocates as guests until November’s fatal attack on a Colorado Springs, CO, Planned Parenthood health care center.

    Media Matters analyzed CNN’s evening news programs from January 1, 2015, through March 6, 2016, for segments featuring a substantial discussion of abortion. We found that CNN’s programs included more people who self-identified as anti-choice (47) than as pro-choice (18) -- all of them guests, as opposed to hosts or correspondents -- in conversations about abortion-related topics.

    While CNN’s evening news programs included guests who personally identified as pro-choice, they didn’t include anyone who works as an advocate for reproductive rights as part of a discussion about abortion until there was a deadly attack on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on November 27. In fact, 36 percent of CNN’s total coverage of abortion-related topics over the 14-month study period -- which was also the least of the three major cable news networks -- occurred on that night. The two appearances by pro-choice advocates on CNN were made by representatives of Planned Parenthood, who appeared on November 27 and November 30 to discuss the attack on their clinic.

    In contrast, CNN’s evening news programs hosted anti-choice advocate Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, four times before the attack.

    In addition to the guest imbalance, CNN’s evening news programs did not discuss any violence, threats or harassment directed against abortion clinics or providers prior to November 27 -- not even the four separate arson attacks against Planned Parenthood clinics that occurred in the span of 74 days in 2015. A previous study released by Media Matters in October 2015 also found that cable news shows and leading newspapers around the country largely did not cover the incidents.

    The National Abortion Federation (NAF) has been tracking violence and threats directed at abortion providers since 1977, and the organization issued a report in April detailing a dramatic increase in the number of direct threats of harm in 2015 from the previous years, a disturbing upward trend the FBI has confirmed. NARAL president Ilyse Hogue criticized the press for providing insufficient coverage of the epidemic of attacks, saying outlets "need to report these incidents as what they are: domestic terrorism" or they will be giving "extremists the cover to regressively and violently attack women, their access to health care, and the medical professionals who provide it."

  • STUDY: How Cable News Talks About Abortion

    Anti-Choice Speakers And Misinformation Dominate Abortion Coverage On Evening Cable News


    A Media Matters study of 14 months of evening cable news programs found that discussions of abortion were weighted toward anti-choice speakers, which resulted in widespread misinformation on the topic. Of the three networks, Fox News aired the largest number of inaccurate statements about the most prevalent abortion-related myths, and MSNBC was the most accurate.

  • STUDY: Sunday Shows Less Likely Than Weekday Competitors To Discuss Poverty

    Fox News Talks A Lot About Inequality And Poverty, But Promotes Policies That Would Make The Problems Worse


    In the first quarter of 2016, prime-time and evening weekday news programs on the largest cable and broadcast outlets mentioned poverty during roughly 55 percent of their discussions of economic inequality in the United States. During the same time period, Sunday political talk shows mentioned poverty in only 33 percent of discussions of economic inequality.

  • Media Slam Trump's "Totally Irresponsible" Response To EgyptAir Crash, While Fox Defends It

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Media figures criticized Donald Trump’s response to the EgyptAir crash saying that it was “totally irresponsible” and “bad practice” for Trump to blame the crash on terrorism despite having no information at the time. Meanwhile, Fox News defended Trump’s “strong statement,” and praised him for saying “exactly what’s on everyone’s mind.”

  • STUDY: CNN Viewers See Far More Fossil Fuel Advertising Than Climate Change Reporting

    Following Temperature Record Announcements, Oil Industry Ads Outpaced Climate-Related Coverage By Almost 5-To-1


    CNN aired almost five times as much oil industry advertising as climate change-related coverage in the one-week periods following the announcements that 2015 was the hottest year on record and February 2016 was the most abnormally hot month on record. Specifically, CNN aired 23.5 minutes of American Petroleum Institute ads during its morning, afternoon, and primetime coverage over those two weeks, compared to just five minutes of coverage about climate change or the temperature records. That disparity does not even account for dozens of Koch Industries ads that also ran on CNN, which were not energy-focused but did serve to boost the image of the oil billionaire Koch brothers’ primary corporation.

  • STUDY: Cable And Broadcast News Try To Cover The Economy Without Economists

    Economists Made Up 1 Percent Of Guests In The First Quarter Of 2016, While Shows Focused On Campaigns, Inequality


    Expertise from economists was almost completely absent from television news coverage of the economy in the first quarter of 2016, which focused largely on the tax and economic policy platforms of this year’s presidential candidates. Coverage of economic inequality spiked during the period -- tying an all-time high -- driven in part by messaging from candidates on both sides of the aisle, but gender diversity in guests during economic news segments remained low.

  • Right-Wing Media Lose It After Obama Dances The Tango


    Right-wing commentators ripped President Obama for dancing the tango at a state dinner in Argentina a day after the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, criticizing him for "dancing the night away" "while Brussels burns." Meanwhile, journalists and analysists slammed conservative media figures' "easy attacks," noting that right-wing media would have criticized Obama "either way," regardless of whether he continued on or cut his trip short following the Brussels attacks.

  • Media Echo Inaccurate GOP Talking Points To Blame Obama And Biden For Republican SCOTUS Obstructionism

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Media inaccurately equated President Obama's 2006 Senate filibuster vote of then-Judge Samuel Alito and Vice President Biden's 1992 comments on the Senate floor about a Supreme Court nomination in an election year to Senate Republicans' unprecedented attempts to block the president's nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland.

  • Study Launched To Monitor Gender Balance Of TV Analysts In The 2016 Presidential Election

    Fox Shows "Tied For Worst With 14 Percent Female Analysts During The Initial Week Of Analysis"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    GenderAvenger, the Center for American Women and Politics, and the Women's Media Center launched a project called Who Talks? "that will analyze and publicize the gender balance of analysts appearing" on top-rated cable news programs throughout the 2016 presidential campaign to learn "whether women analysts are at the table contributing to the conversation."

    Media Matters studies have found that women are drastically underrepresented on cable news and in network and cable TV news discussions of issues such as foreign affairs and the economy. Media Matters also found that "White men overwhelmingly dominated guest appearances" on Sunday morning political talk shows, with men representing about three in four of all guests in 2014.

    Who Talks?, launched March 8, will "learn who's translating and explaining national politics" for voters and publish weekly results to "draw critical attention to shows that exhibit gender imbalance and commend those that make including women's voices a priority." In the first week of analysis, Who Talks? found that Fox News' Fox & Friends and The Kelly File "were tied for worst with 14 percent female analysts," while CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 "was the best with 49 percent female analysts":

    GenderAvenger today launched Who Talks? a project that will analyze and publicize the gender balance of analysts appearing on the highest-rated morning and evening cable shows during the U.S. presidential election campaign. -- a nonprofit, online activist group that advocates on behalf of women's voices in the public dialog -- in partnership with Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) and the Women's Media Center, created the project to determine who is interpreting the election for voters.


    Who Talks? will track not only the gender of on-screen commentators/analyst but also the frequency of their appearance. Every week the project will draw critical attention to shows that exhibit gender imbalance and commend those that make including women's voices a priority. Results will be posted weekly on each organization's website through the November general election.

    The project will monitor six morning and primetime cable shows on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. The morning shows are "Fox & Friends" on Fox News; "New Day" (CNN) and "Morning Joe" on MSNBC. Primetime shows are "The Kelly File" (Fox News); "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC and CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

    "Anderson Cooper 360" was the best with 49 percent female analysts and "Fox & Friends" and "The Kelly File" were tied for worst with 14 percent female analysts during the initial week of analysis.

    "CAWP has tracked the progress of women as candidates and officeholders for 45 years," notes Debbie Walsh, the Center's director. "Now, with women seeking the nation's highest office and key executive and legislative roles around the country, it's essential to learn who's translating and explaining national politics and whether women analysts are at the table contributing to the conversation."

    Dr. Janet Dewart Bell, vice chair of the Women's Media Center, said the nonprofit organization is pleased to join the effort. "We are proud to be a partner of the Who Talks? project to shine a light on examples of sexism in the media vis-à-vis women sources, experts and analysts that often go unnoticed and to offer solutions via our media guides and WMC SheSource, our brain trust of women experts. We know from research WMC released on the 2012 presidential election that 71 percent of all front-page stories were written by men and that on cable and network TV, political news show guests and experts were 77 percent men. Who Talks? is an important effort to encourage producers and bookers to make sure that women -- especially diverse women -- are equally represented in the conversations about the next president and his or her positions on policies and politics."


  • REPORT: Women's Voices Shut Out Of 2015 News Coverage Of Foreign Affairs And National Security

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Weekday evening cable news overwhelmingly booked men to discuss foreign affairs and national security issues in 2015, with women accounting for only 20 percent of the total featured guests and commentators on prime-time CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC broadcasts. Women made up just 23 percent of guests on segments about foreign affairs and national security on prominent Sunday political talk shows on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, and NBC during the same time period.