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Reply #12: KharmaTrain makes an important point when he refers to [View All]

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SheWhoMustBeObeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 07:29 AM
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12. KharmaTrain makes an important point when he refers to
the culture of corporate media. I would like to add some perspective by comparing progressive media's scorecard to that of the media industry overall - not just nationally, but globally.

The Global Media Monitoring Project just released its most recent report last month. This project is sponsored by the United Nations and is designed to measure the presentation of men and women in the media. Individuals from over 70 countries participated by monitoring their local TV, radio and newspapers on one day: February 16, 2005.

Among the project's findings:

- There is not a single major news topic in which women outnumber men as newsmakers. Even in stories that affect women profoundly, such as gender-based violence, it is the male voice (64 per cent of news subjects) that prevails.

- News is still mainly reported and presented by men. The only exception is among television presenters. 57% of television news stories are presented by women. (It can be speculated that female dominance in this area is due to the eye candy aspect of the women who are hired. Even the Weather Channel unlawfully discriminates based on appearance, as evidenced by this story: ) Elsewhere women are a minority. This imbalance is most evident in newspapers where only 29% of newspaper items are written by female reporters.

- Women journalists continue to be assigned soft beats such as entertainment, relationships, food and home.

- Women are twice as likely to be portrayed as victims as are men. Photo images also reinforce the notion of women as victims.

Project coordinator Anna Turley says, "From Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, we see the same patterns of under-representation and stereotyped portrayal of women in the news,The reason for these patterns is complicated. From the story angle and the choice of interview questions to the use of language and the choice of images; all these have a bearing on the messages that emerge in the news. These patterns are deeply rooted not only in professional practice, but in wider social assumptions about female and male attributes, roles and competencies."

The full GMMP report can be downloaded here:

So the global picture of women in the media is not very positive. Surely things are better in the USA?

Let's start with the nearest thing to outright progressive media: NPR, or National Pinko Radio as the freeps refer to it. It's not only not very liberal, it's not progressive in regard to women. A report released in 2004 by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting states that women comprised only 18% of NPR sources for political stories, and represented just 24% of NPR commentators (a significant increase from 1993).

Moving on to TV news shows,females accounted for just 10.7% of Sunday morning talk shows. That was before the 9-11 attacks. After 9-11, that percentage dropped to 9.4%...even though most of these shows are produced by women.

But producers are not the ultimate media power brokers. Women comprise only 16% of TV and cable presidents and CEOs, according to a 2003 Anneberg study. A statistic from another survey puts the percentage of women TV news directors at under 27%.

That statistic goes up to only 18% for women presidents/CEOs of publishing companies.

At newspapers there are plenty of women working. Far fewer have a public profile, and fewer still control the reins.

But is it just lack of opportunity, or are women loathe to push for power by playing by "boys' rules?" I have certainly experienced that in my own career, as has this female magazine editor:

Meanwhile on the internet, the same perceptions about male and female authority impact blog popularity, even though half of all bloggers (not just political bloggers) are estimated to be female.


When the world of media is examined, it becomes clear that the shortcomings of progressive media are endemic to all media. Even more, there is no single villian that can be held completely accountable for these problems; the power brokers who dispense media, the public that consumes it, and the people who work in it all share some responsibility for the low profile of women. It is a tangled web, a chicken-and-egg paradox.

But in progressive media's defense, I would argue that, even if its ratio of women commentators, columnists, hosts and bloggers is no different than general media's, there is a significant difference in the number of female guests and expert sources, a difference that impacts the portrayal of female authority and power.

There is also a significant difference in progressive media's portrayal of women in the news stories it covers. Time and again on AAR, and in the pages of The Nation or Harper's, and in the wide range of progressive blogs and sites, I hear and read about women in stories that are about more than "women's issues," in the words of women who talk about more than "women's interests." It's not the best; it could be better; but it's the best we've got, and so much better than anything else.

I hope you get the chance to look at some of the links. I went looking for info and found all kinds of things I didn't know, and I barely scratched the surface. Thank you for posting a thought-provoking question.

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