Saturday, October 11, 2014

How diverse is cable news? (Hint: it's a lot of white guys.)

Piggy-backing off my links post asserting that secular Muslims are missing from conversations about Islam, I thought I'd see if there were any studies showing how diverse -- or not diverse -- cable new is. This one from a year ago is pretty telling.

If you're shocked that the guests on cable news shows are mostly white guys, you obviously haven't been watching.  On Piers Morgan's show, for example, 91% of his guests were white. Rachel Maddow didn't fare much better with 89%, but she also had the fewest guests. (I think it's important to note that a lot of her guests are politicians, and congress itself isn't itself a model of diversity.) It doesn't surprise me that Chris Hayes's "All In " comes closest to reaching parity with 41% non-white guests. I don't get to see his new show very much, but when he was on weekend mornings, I was always impressed by his panel. Granted, a lot of them were writers, but he did seem more willing to take a risk on a guest not tethered to traditional media or academia. This is another form of diversity that doesn't get mentioned enough.

Middle-Easterners are underrepresented on all three networks at less than 5%. This is really disappointing as witnessed during last week's Real Time. Now Maher's show is on HBO and doesn't really present itself as "news," but watching four men, three of them white men, discussing how terribly Islam treats women without an actual Muslin woman there pretty much illustrates the point.

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