A new study confirms that the Sunday morning talk shows continue to be a bastion of Republican newsmaker interviews. They also continue to be something of a wasteland for women, particularly Democratic women who remain an afterthought in the public forum.
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting surveyed the Sunday talk shows on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC between June 2011 and February 2012. Looking specifically at the cornerstone one-on-one interviews, the group found a wild imbalance.
In the eight-month study period, partisan-affiliated one-on-one interviews were 70 percent Republican--166 guests to Democrats' 70.
Men overwhelmingly dominated one-on-one interviews, at 86 percent: 228 male guests compared to 36 women. Meet the Press featured the fewest women, with just six female interviewees--three of whom were Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.), the presidential candidate.
Of those 36 women interviews, half were taken up by Republican Bachmann. (Women were slightly more represented in the round table discussions, accounting for 29 percent of the guests.)
The data confirm what Media Matters found to be the case this past February, when the five morning talk shows hosted 56 newsmaker interviews, only four of which were women. Of those four, just one was a Democrat, Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton. (That month, Face the Nation, Meet The Press and This Week, combined, interviewed 27 men, but just one woman.)
In other words, approximately two percent of the newsmaker interviews that month featured a Democratic woman, despite the fact Democrats currently control the White House and the Senate. "We complain about this all the time," a Democratic aide told Media Matters in February.
And as Media Matters noted at the time:
[T]he paucity of female guests this month was especially odd considering the controversy that erupted regarding the administration's plan to require religious institutions to offer contraception as part of their health care plan for employees. The Sunday programs discussed that story with 24 of their newsmaker guests, only two of whom were women -- former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and former GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
The keen political interest in women's issues has continued beyond February, with the debate about the Republican Party's "War on Women" taking center stage. Yet that interest has not translated into noticeably more Sunday morning interviews with women, or with more Democratic women.