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.
GenderAvenger.com -- 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.”