Study Shows Women Analysts Missing From Primetime Convention Cable News Coverage
October 20, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Men provided the majority of primetime commentary during the Republican and Democratic conventions on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX even as viewers witnessed history with the nomination of the first female presidential nominee, according to analysis from a project monitoring the gender balance in coverage of the election.
CNN beat out MSNBC and FOX with women appearing on screen 35 percent of the time during the Republican convention and 39 percent of the time during the Democratic convention, although the cable news network did not achieve parity.
“For many Americans, the national political conventions are their introduction to the presidential contest,” said Gina Glantz, founder of GenderAvenger.com, who in partnership with Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) and the Women’s Media Center, created Who Talks? “The absence of women reporting and commenting on these proceedings diminishes all voters' understanding of the election ahead, the issues and the politics. It is simply irresponsible of the cable networks to overlook the value of women's voices at this critical time in American history.”
On MSNBC, women were 26 percent of commentators during the Republican convention; 32 percent for the Democratic convention. FOX also had only 26 percent of women discussing the GOP gathering and 27 percent analyzing the Democratic convention.
When combining both conventions, CNN had the best showing with 37 percent of female analysts, followed by MSNBC with 29 percent and FOX with 27 percent.
Debbie Walsh, director of CAWP, said her organization has tracked the progress of women as candidates and officeholders for 45 years. “Now, with the first woman major party presidential nominee, it’s more important than ever that women analysts are at the table contributing to the national conversation about politics and this highly gendered campaign.”
“The gender gap in media was on full display in cable news coverage at both conventions. Women are more than half of the population, and our voices and perspectives are essential to interpreting the election — especially as we witnessed the historic nomination of the first female presidential nominee from a major party,” said Women’s Media Center President Julie Burton. “When 73 percent of the convention primetime commentators on FOX were men and 71 percent of the convention primetime commentators on MSNBC were men, the lack of representation of women’s views on both the left and the right is stark and incredibly depressing. Where are the women experts on cable news?”
The project’s researchers tracked coverage daily during the two conventions from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.; 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the first hour of commentary after the last speaker each night. Any guest who was not the host (or substitute host) was counted.
Who Talks? — launched in March — is designed to draw critical attention to guests on the morning and primetime shows, challenging the media organizations that exhibit gender imbalance during the U.S. presidential election and commending those that make including women’s voices a priority. Results are released each month, although a special analysis was conducted for the political conventions. The project will conclude after the November election.
Click here for the info graphic. Follow the project on Twitter: #whotalks
For information about GenderAvenger, contact Soraya Membreno, director of communications for GenderAvenger at Soraya@genderavenger.com or Gina Glantz, Gina@GenderAvenger at 202-549-2561.
For information about CAWP, contact Debbie Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org or 848-932-8717.
For information about the Women’s Media Center, contact Cristal Williams Chancellor, director of communications, email@example.com or 202-587-1636. For information about WMC SheSource, our database of women experts, contact Kate McCarthy, SheSource director, firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-587-1654.