Tue 14 May 2013
What does it mean when everyone delivering the news and discussing it on the electronic television is the same hue? Same gender? Are we looking too deep when notice this? Are we ignoring the obvious when we don’t? Media Matters has some interesting charts on this, a grand total of zero of which will shock you:
White Guests Hosted Most Often On Cable News. Fox News had the largest proportion of white guests — 83 percent. African-Americans were the largest non-white group on all networks, representing 19 percent, 10 percent, and 5 percent of guests on MSNBC, Fox, and CNN, respectively.
As a completely white dude with a TV show, I have responsibility as part of the problem here. Why does this even matter? We have a guest this week (another white dude) who talks about a concept called cross-cultural competency – how comfortable we are interacting with people who are different from us. When it comes to integration in public schools, interested parties aka major corporations are coming down on the side of this sort of competency as a good in a society like ours. Now there are a zillions reasons why that is, but the subject itself sheds some new light on how we see ourselves – and others – and how that prism shapes our views about the world.
And if you set that aside for an instant and think about how you get the news and who decides what is news, you’ve got all kinds of reasons to be suspect of this heavily skewed arrangement. The situation in these charts breeds its reality in our society, one in which existing fears and biases must be constantly and always re-enforced, even before any ‘news’ stories get presented. When you contextualize everything first in how it fits the interest of one race or ethnic group, of course you’ll have trouble getting an accurate sense of anything. And we have plenty enough of that already.