I watched the election coverage with Jessica and Vanessa from Feministing, and Deanna from Alternet, and we all noticed the overwhelming maleness and whiteness of almost every TV commentator. Looks like the New York Times caught on, too:
On a night that crowned Nancy Pelosi as the first female speaker of the House and Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic front-runner for the 2008 presidential race, the tableau of men talking to men all across prime time was oddly atavistic — a men’s club from around 1962.
On NBC Brian Williams, Tim Russert and the emeritus anchor Tom Brokaw formed a triumvirate of pinstripes and percipience. Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos of ABC were so cozy and old-school across their giant, donut-shaped desk that they only perfunctorily turned, via satellite, to the network’s veteran Congressional correspondent, Cokie Roberts.
The panel of commentators that Fox News assembled to back up Brit Hume looked like a funereal barbershop quartet: Bill Kristol, Juan Williams, Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke. (Even at 6 o’clock this morning, Fox reporters still seemed to be in denial: Steve Doocy, a “Fox and Friends” anchor, asked a guest what a Pelosi-led House of Representatives would look like “if” she became speaker.)
CNN’s Anderson Cooper did turn for help to Candy Crowley, who was sandwiched between John King and Marcus Mabry of Newsweek, but the panel behind them, CNN’s so-called “brain trust” (Bill Bennett, J. C. Watts, James Carville and Paul Begala) looked like a police lineup on Mount Athos.
And the group that MSNBC chose to play backup to Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann was only a little more coed: the NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell was wedged in alongside Joe Scarborough, Eugene Robinson and Howard Fineman.
Too bad the article is pretty sexist in and of itself. It refers to the only TV “hissy fit” as happening between men — because we all know that the term “hissy fit” automatically assumes that a woman is the one throwing the fit. It describes Katie Couric’s blog as “chatty” (can anyone imagine, say, Matthew Yglesias being described that way?). It refers to Katie behaving “coyly.”
If only lipstick and pearls made one a better journalist.