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  • 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.

    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."


  • New Study Highlights How Men Dominate Print Media Coverage Of Reproductive Rights

    Women's Media Center: Men Disproportionately Report And Comment On Reproductive Rights Topics

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    A recent study from the Women's Media Center found that male journalists disproportionately report and commentate on reproductive rights topics in print media. According to Mic staff writer Julie Zeilinger, the study found that in 2014 and 2015, "[m]ale journalists wrote 52% of the articles focused on reproductive issues," and that "41% of all quotes in these pieces were attributed to men":

    The study, which examined 1,385 news and opinion pieces about reproductive rights published between Aug. 1, 2014, and July 31, 2015, in 12 high-circulation sources, found that some publications accounted for this issue better than others. Male and female journalists reported on the topic in near equal numbers for the New York Daily News, and women did so more often than men for USA Today and the Washington Post. But many others, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Sun-Times, skewed male, and men filed reproductive rights-related stories nearly twice as often as women at the New York Times and the San Jose Mercury News.

    In comments to Mic, the president of the Women's Media Center, Julie Burton,explained the implications of the study. "Reproductive health, rights, and choices are fundamental and inescapable parts of women's lives," said Burton, "[y]et our study shows that women are often left out of the discussion. Women -- who are 51 percent of the population -- only wrote slightly more than a third."

    The consequences of this exclusion are even higher in an election year. According to Burton, in spite of the lack of attention given to reproductive rights in any of the Democratic debates, the issue "will almost surely be an issue in November's presidential election...[y]et our study shows that in articles about elections and reproductive issues, men's voices prevail."

    The research findings echoed a study from 2012 which examined 35 national publications and found that in election stories about birth control, men garnered 75 percent of quotes, and 67 percent of quotes about stories involving Planned Parenthood during part of the 2012 presidential election cycle. Similarly an earlier report from the Women's Media Center found in a study of the 10 largest newspapers, evening news broadcasts, two wire services, and four internet news sites, that 65 percent of the political reporting was done by men.

    Media Matters' own studies show that women are underrepresented in broadcast and cable news. On the Sunday morning news shows from the broadcast networks and CNN throughout 2014, men made up between 73 and 77 percent of all guests, and overwhelmingly received solo interviews. These statistics have largely been unchanged at least as far back as 2008. In January 2014, two dozen women leaders and organizations urged the six network and cable news heads in a letter to address this lack of diversity on the Sunday morning news shows.

  • Women's Media Center responds to Cindy Adam's NY Post column on sexual harassment

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Yesterday, the New York Post ran a piece by gossip columnist Cindy Adams under the headline "Sexual harassment: deal with it." Today, Women's Media Center president Jehmu Greene fired back in a statement given to the Huffington Post:

    The author is blurring the lines between sexual harassment and sexual assault, when in fact one often leads to the other. There is no "right way" to handle sexual harassment or assault, but discouraging women from reporting those crimes is clearly archaic and deflects responsibility from the perpetrators. The under-reporting of sexual harassment and assault promotes an atmosphere of fear rather than of open dialogue about the issues. We should be focusing on the empowerment of women through programs like HollabackNYC which encourages women to identify their assailants, rather than regressing to a "just deal with it" attitude that disrespects and undermines the strides we have made in recent decades.