Yet another reason to love Media Matters

During the recent controversy over former radio and television host Don Imus’ remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team, some cable-news viewers may have noticed something unusual: the presence of significantly more African-Americans. The nature of the controversy led the cable networks to seek comment from a far more diverse group of people than they ordinarily do, which begs the question: To the extent these cable programs included a more diverse guest lineup during the Imus controversy, why do they provide such diversity only when issues of race are in the news cycle? Do cable-news producers view the guests added to the lineup during the Imus controversy as qualified to talk only about issues of race, and not other issues of national and political significance?

Some interesting observations:

  • The whitest network is not Fox, but MSNBC
  • No network had more than 5 percent of its guest from non-black people of color
  • Countdown and The Situation Room actually had a week of ALL WHITE PEOPLE
  • Latinos are seriously under-represented. Thus the surprise over the massive immigration rally turnouts. MSM had no clue. Ya Basta!
  • O’Reilly is best when it comes to gender balance. Nearly 50/50

The Imus controversy did not jumpstart a “national conversation on race.” Neither did Katrina. Nor did the Virginia Tech shootings get us to address our gun culture. We are a short term memory society though we have the technology to call up any moment from the past and learn from it. This lack of perspective is exacerbated by those who are our primary gateways to the world around us: television news services.

There are numerous studies on the value of diversity in the newsroom, yet as America gets browner, the voices telling us what we need to know remain pale. Women are trusted enough to vote but not participate fully in democracy by informing their fellow citizens. We have a long way to go, and studies like the Media Matters one only highlight how feeble our commitment really is.

If America becomes majority people of color, and this sort of imbalance still exists, there will be a painful reckoning for the powerful, who have refused to acknowledge change and won’t be prepared when it comes, seemingly from nowhere. This is a wake up call. So wake up yall.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Related Posts with Thumbnails