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Breaking: Women scarce on Sunday talk shows

June 14, 2010

Politico has a long feature out today on the scarcity of women on Sunday talk shows.

According to research by American University’s Women & Politics Institute, female lawmakers have composed 13.5 percent of the total Sunday show appearances by all representatives and senators this year.

The suggestion that the Sunday shows are less hospitable to women has prompted a debate over who’s to blame among network producers, Capitol Hill political operatives and women’s advocates.

Some academic researchers and press secretaries for women in Congress say the network bookers have a men-in-suits mind-set that leads to familiar faces appearing over and over — and vital women’s voices being muffled on Sunday shows that historically are an important platform of Washington power.

The shows’ producers bridle at the criticism, saying that, despite their strong interest in booking more women, the shows must be topical and reflect the reality that men still hold more of the most influential and newsmaking positions in Congress.

To which I have to say: yeah! But this isn’t really new. This has been a problem a lot of people have been complaining about for years. I’ve written about it dozens of times. So have many other women. Media Matters did a study on it in 2007. So, I don’t think it’s particularly groundbreaking news to us; but at least, it’s encouraging to see a very mainstream, well-read publication like Politico devoting a full-length feature to this topic.

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One comment

  1. I saw a promo last night for This Week with Christiane Amanpour in August- do you think having a female host breaking up the former all male trio of hosts will make an impact?

    It would also be interesting to take a bigger look at TV news in general, now that 2 out of 3 network evening news anchors are women. I remember when Couric took the desk at CBS there was an initial ratings bump before numbers sank back down. I should go see how Diane Sawyer is doing…



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