A new Media Matters report on the “single issue syndrome” found that Spanish-language Sunday shows continue to devote considerable attention to immigration at the apparent expense of issues equally important to the Latino community. In addition, although Latinos make up more than 17 percent of the U.S. population, only 4 percent of guests on English-language Sunday shows between January 4 and May 3, 2015 were Hispanic - a drop of 42 percent from their 2014 appearances over a similar time period.
Fewer Latino Guests Appeared On English-Language Sunday Shows
Latinos Made Up Just 4 Percent Of Guests In First Few Months Of 2015, A Drop Of 42 Percent From Last Few Months Of 2014. Media Matters analyzed the rundowns of seven English-language Sunday television shows for the first 18 weeks of 2015, from January 4 through May 3: ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, NBC's Meet the Press, CNN's State of the Union, and MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki and Melissa Harris-Perry; as well as two Spanish-language Sunday shows: Telemundo's Enfoque and Univision's Al Punto. These shows strongly influence the national political agenda and policy conversation and gain even more importance during presidential election seasons. Media Matters' analysis found that only 4 percent of all guests who appeared on English-language Sunday shows were Hispanic -- a 42 percent decrease since our last analysis, from August 31 to December 28, 2014.
But Hispanics Now Make Up A Record 17.4 Percent Of U.S. Population. Only 4 percent of total guests - or 46 out of 1,172 total guests - on English-language Sunday shows were Hispanic. According to the most recent Pew Research findings, there are now a record 55 million Hispanics in the U.S., constituting 17.4 percent of the total population. [Pew Research Center, 6/25/15]
Hispanic Guests Who Did Appear On English-Language Sunday Shows Discussed Immigration More Than Any Other Policy Issue
13 Percent Of The 46 Hispanic Guests Who Appeared On English-Language Sunday Shows Discussed Immigration. During the first 18 weeks of 2015, 13 percent of the total 46 Hispanic guests who appeared on English-language Sunday shows participated in a discussion about U.S. immigration policy.
No Hispanic Guests On English-Language Shows Discussed Health Care, Few Talked About Jobs And Economy. Despite the fact that high levels of Hispanics in the U.S. are uninsured, no Hispanic guests on the English-language Sunday shows participated in discussions about health care during the 2015 period studied. Only 9 percent talked about the economy, and just 4 percent discussed education. Because national polling shows that jobs and the economy are the top concern of 34 percent of Latinos, education is a priority for 21 percent, and health care is the most significant issue for 17 percent, Media Matters coded for these three topics only, in addition to immigration. [Latino Decisions, 2014 Election Eve Poll 11/04/14]
For Media Matters' initial study about Hispanic inclusion on Sunday talk shows, click here.
Al Punto and Enfoque's Single-Issue Focus: Spanish-Language Sunday Shows Still Largely Ignored Economy, Education, And Health Care
Spanish-Language Shows Continue To Emphasize Immigration Over Other Issues. During the first 18 weeks of 2015, Al Punto and Enfoque together hosted a total of 190 guests, all but 16 of whom were Hispanic. The two shows hosted 61 guests who participated in discussions about immigration, six who discussed jobs and the economy, four who discussed healthcare, and three who talked about education.
MSNBC's Harris-Perry Was Most Inclusive Of Latinos, NBC's Meet The Press Hosted Fewest Latinos
MSNBC'S Melissa Harris-Perry And Fox News Sunday Hosted The Most Hispanic Guests Of All English-Language Shows. MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry hosted 10 Hispanic guests, as did Fox News Sunday. CNN's State Of The Union hosted eight. Media Matters found that MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry had the most discussions with Latino guests - four - about the economy and education: two appeared on each topic.
NBC's Meet The Press And CBS' Face The Nation Were Least Inclusive Of Hispanic Guests. Between January 4 and May 3, 2015, NBC's Meet The Press and CBS' Face The Nation invited two and three Hispanic guests on their shows, respectively. A total of seven Hispanic guests appeared on MSNBC's Up, while six Hispanic guests appeared on ABC's This Week. That compares to the period between August 31 and December 28, 2014, when Meet The Press hosted four Hispanic guests and Face The Nation hosted five.
On Broadcast Network Sunday Shows, Inclusion Of Hispanic Guests Didn't Mean Diversity. According to Media Matters' analysis, Fox News host Juan Williams accounted for 90 percent of the Hispanic guest appearances on Fox News Sunday between January 4 and May 3, 2015. Williams is a regular contributor to the Fox News Sunday's round table discussions, and previously accounted for 60 percent of the show's Hispanic guest inclusion during the period analyzed in 2014. CNN contributor Ana Navarro made up four of the six Hispanic guest appearances in 2015 on ABC's This Week. Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) made up two of the three Hispanic guest appearances on CBS' Face the Nation. Only Sunday shows on cable networks offered a diverse slate of Hispanic guests.
This analysis recorded all guests on English-language shows between January 4 and May 3, 2015, but only tracked discussions about health care, jobs and the economy, education, and immigration in which Hispanic guests participated. On Spanish-language shows, Media Matters tracked all guests who participated in discussions about the above-mentioned topics regardless of ethnicity.
In an October 2014 study, the Pew Research Center found that the “relative ranking of issues among Latino registered voters is similar to the ranking for all Latinos,” meaning that the general population of Latinos thinks much like the voting population of Latinos. The results of the survey, which are consistent with research Pew has been conducting since 2004, also demonstrate that like Hispanic voters, the general Latino population has multiple, overlapping political priorities. According to Pew findings, almost every Hispanic (four out of five) said that education, jobs and the economy, and health care are either extremely important or very important to them personally, whereas three out of four Latinos said immigration is either extremely important or very important. [Pew Research Center, 9/12/14, 10/29/14]
The following programs were included in the data: ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CBS' Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer, NBC's Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki and Melissa Harris-Perry, Telemundo's Enfoque with José Díaz-Balart and Univision's Al Punto with Jorge Ramos. The MSNBC programs feature significantly different formats than the other Sunday morning shows on the four major broadcast networks, CNN, and the two on Spanish-language networks because they are two-hour programs that air on both weekend days and tend to focus on matters that go beyond the news of the week. Media Matters only included their Sunday editions in the analyzed data.To collect data on the topics discussed, Media Matterscoded significant discussions about education, jobs and the economy, health care, immigration and variations therein, including “immigration,” “immigrant,” “undocumented worker,” illegal alien," and “illegals.” “Significant discussion” was defined as at least two speakers in the segment talking about the topic to one another. Monologues did not constitute significant discussions.
John F. Burnett contributed research to this study.