Punditry: Still White, Still Male

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Over at the Nation, Ari Melber points out that Clinton’s run for the White House, which was increasingly a feminist quest and ended with a strong statement for the rights of women, hasn’t changed much in the world of punditry, where white men still dominate.

In print:

The most traditional location to reach the political establishment, the Washington Post opinion section, is brazenly male-dominated. Seventeen of the 19 columnists are men; only three of the columnists are racial minorities. Guest op-eds could present more voices, but they rarely do. This year, only 12 percent of the Post‘s guest pieces came from women, according to a May count by ombudsman Deborah Howell. At the New York Times, eight of the ten weekly columnists are men; one is black.

And on TV:

Most anchors, producers and writers in television news are women, according to the Radio and Television News Directors Association, yet the vast majority of prime time hosts, who dominate campaign coverage and frame presidential debates, are white men. That includes all the Sunday morning hosts, all the prime time hosts on MSNBC, and all but one of the prime time hosts on CNN and FOX.

And here are the stats on racial diversity. Also not good:

According to a recent, two-year study of the four major Sunday talk shows by Media Matters, out of over 2,000 guests, 77 percent were men and 82 percent were white… Latinos were almost completely absent, comprising one percent of the guests….a 2005 Urban League study of the Sunday shows found that a staggering 69 percent of all the appearances by black guests were made by just three conservatives — Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Juan Williams. The study found that appearances by black commentators “other than Rice, Powell and Williams account for less than 3% of all guest appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows.”

Just think of MSNBC’s primetime elections lineup. You’ve got Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann anchoring the show, with Tim Russert, Tom Brokaw, and Howard Fineman adding comment. The back bench has some additional diversity, with one African-American and one woman, and Norah O’Donnell plays a Vanna White role with the exit polls. But if you want a quick and dirty explanation of why MSNBC had a troubled relationship with candidate Clinton this primary season, look no further than the faces on the screen.


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