REPORT: Women's Voices Shut Out Of 2015 News Coverage Of Foreign Affairs And National Security

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Weekday evening cable news overwhelmingly booked men to discuss foreign affairs and national security issues in 2015, with women accounting for only 20 percent of the total featured guests and commentators on prime-time CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC broadcasts. Women made up just 23 percent of guests on segments about foreign affairs and national security on prominent Sunday political talk shows on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, and NBC during the same time period.

Men Dominate Foreign Affairs And National Security Conversations On Prime-Time Cable, Sunday Shows

Fewer Than One In Four National Security And Foreign Affairs Guests On Sunday And Weekday Shows Combined Were Women. Women comprised just 21 percent of nearly 3,300 total guests featured during 2015 news coverage of foreign affairs and national security on the Sunday political talk shows on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, and NBC and on weekday prime-time (defined as 8 to 11 p.m.) programming on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.

Women Account For Just 21% Of Total Guests On Foreign Policy

Just 20 Percent Of Relevant Weekday Prime-Time Guests Were Women. Women comprised just 20 percent of just over 2,400 total guests and commentators featured during foreign affairs and national security segments during weekday prime-time programming on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.

Just 1-in-5 Cable News Guests During Foreign Affairs Segments Were Women

Fox News Lags Behind CNN And MSNBC In Hosting Women Guests. Women accounted for just 17 percent of the 1,070 guests and commentators featured during 2015 news coverage of foreign affairs and national security on Fox News' weekday prime-time programming. MSNBC fared slightly better, with women accounting for 22 percent of its 588 prime-time guests during similar segments. Women comprised 23 percent of the 757 guests and commentators during qualifying programming on CNN.

Fox News Falls Far Behind Low Bar Set By Competitors

Just 23 Percent Of Relevant Sunday Show Guests Were Women. Women accounted for just 23 percent of the total 874 guests and commentators featured during foreign affairs and national security segments on the major Sunday political talk shows on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox Broadcasting, and NBC.

Sunday Shows Overwhelmingly Rely On Male Guests During Foreign Affairs Segments

NBC's Meet The Press Sets A Low Standard For Gender Parity In Sunday Show Discussions Of Foreign Policy. NBC's Meet the Press had the greatest gender parity in 2015, yet women accounted for only 57 out of 180 guests and commentators, or nearly 32 percent of total guests. In line with the overall average, CBS' Face the Nation and Fox Broadcasting's Fox News Sunday each afforded roughly 23 percent of their guest spots to women -- 42 of 183 total guests, and 50 of 216 total guests, respectively. CNN's State of the Union filled 18 percent of its guests spots with women -- 23 of 128 total guests -- while ABC's This Week afforded just 17 percent of its guest spots to women -- 29 of 167.

Despite Women Only Accouting For One-Third Of Guests, Meet The Press Dominates Competition

General Gender Disparity Mirrors 2014 Trend. According to a previous Media Matters analysis, women accounted for just 22 percent of nearly 6,000 total guests and commentators featured during combined weekday evening and prime-time (defined as 5 to 11 p.m.) foreign affairs and national security coverage on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC in 2014. [Media Matters, 2/10/15]

Methodology

Media Matters conducted a Nexis search of transcripts of weekday prime-time (defined as 8 p.m. through 11 p.m.) programs on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, as well as Sunday morning political talk shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox Broadcasting from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015. We identified and reviewed all segments that were captured by the following search terms: (terror! or diplo! or war! or attack! or rebel! or refugee! or foreign policy or foreign affairs or world events or national security or border security or human rights or nuclear or ceasefire or negotiation or dispute) w/50 (allcap(ISIS) or allcap(ISIL) or Islamic State or al-Qaeda or al Qaeda or al-Qaida or al Qaida or Taliban or Afghanistan or China or Cuba or France or Iran or Mexico or Paris or Syria or Ukraine or Yemen or Charlie Hebdo or Houthi).

The following programs were included in the data: This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Face the Nation, Meet the Press, State of the Union, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Tonight, Fox News Sunday, The O'Reilly Factor, The Kelly File, Hannity, All In with Chris Hayes, The Rachel Maddow Show, and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. Media Matters included only segments that had substantial discussion of foreign affairs and national security. In 2015, CNN did not maintain consistent news programming during the 9 to 10 p.m. hour.

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