During a month when the issues of birth control and women's access to health care flared up and became major topics of debate on the presidential campaign trail and in Washington, the Sunday morning talk shows once again loaded up their programs by hosting newsmaker interviews with men. Lots and lots of men.
This past Sunday, for instance, NBC's Meet the Press, CBS's Face The Nation, ABC's This Week, Fox News Sunday and CNN's State of The Union hosted 16 interview subjects, 14 of which were with men. That imbalance has been consistent throughout the month. A total of 56 guests were booked on the Sunday programs to discuss national affairs in February. Of those, 52 were men. (The newsmaker tally does not include guests invited to participate in roundtable discussions this month.)
And of the four women booked this month, just one, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was associated with the Democratic Party, 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.
And yes, the 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 topic was also covered in several roundtable discussion, which did include more female participants.)
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