Tim Russert was one of the few DC power players who took accusations of sexism in the media seriously, according to Marie C. Wilson, the President of the White House Project. Not that long ago the WHP conducted a study of the Sunday morning shows and concluded that women appeared at approximately a 1:9 ratio to men. When told of this, Russert, apparently surprised by the result, had the group in and demanded a recount before admitting that the WHP was right (presumably the disconnect was of less interest to others).
The disclosure was part of a larger panel discussion held today at The Paley Center for Media titled “From Soundbites to Solutions: Bias, Punditry and the Press in the 2008 Election.” The panel(s)(there were two), which included the likes of Christiane Amanpour, Courtney Martin, Juan Gonzalez and Kathleen Hall Jamieson.
The timing for the panel couldn’t have been better in light of a number of recent events, however, while the overall consensus seemed to be that yes, the coverage of this election revealed that sexism was alive and well in the United States there was little offered in terms of solutions beyond Wilson’s mantra that “You can’t be what you can’t see.”
CNN’s Amanpour’s declared that she was hyper-ventilating with anger over the coverage of this election and observed that “there is no accountability for dissing a woman.” She went on to compare this to the black community, “which has made it impossible to be racist without impunity.”
Anyway, after a whole lot of talk (and instant polling) no real plan of action was settled on (see Jeff Bercovici’s take here). Perhaps, as they say, the first step is recognizing the problem, though maybe in the case of the media, it also happens to be the second, third, and fourth.