How White, Conservative, and Male Are Sunday Talk Shows Without Melissa Harris-Perry?


During election season, network and cable coverage of various political topics begins to dominate the TV landscape far more than usual. What candidates or their surrogates say during Sunday morning or primetime interviews can dominate a news cycle if it’s a gaffe, a bold position, or something even better.

So the people that show up on the Sunday shows becomes more important. That’s why it’s great that Media Matters regularly counts the ethnicity, ideology, and gender of the Sunday show guests. This year, without Melissa Harris-Perry in the field, they focused on CBS’ Face the Nation with John Dickerson, NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace,

Not only are all the hosts men, but their guests are all — to a one — disproportionately white and male.

A breakdown of gender of invitees also indicates that only a tiny, minuscule uptick of progress has been made when it comes to inviting women:

And similarly, the progress in terms of having white men be somewhat less dominant in the field has been negligible:

What was particularly interesting in the study was the ideology breakdown. Keeping in mind that Media Matters is itself a left-wing group, they note that there are many more right-wing and neutral guests, at a fairy steady clip, than left wing ones:

All this makes it particularly bitter to consider Melissa Harris-Perry’s departure. Her show was consistently the only one in the field which reversed this demographic pattern.