Last March, the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) launched the Art of Politics Impact Project to address the lack of Hispanic commentators and guests on the four network Sunday news shows: ABC's This Week, CBS's Face the Nation, FOX News Sunday, and NBC's Meet The Press.
The Art of Politics Impact Project is being implemented in collaboration with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Being Latino (BL), The Libre Initiative (TLI) and 16 other national Latino organizations.
After reviewing 149 broadcasts over nine months, NHFA found that only 10 Hispanic men were invited as guests and commentators. Most of them appeared more than once and some were invited both as guest and commentator. The individual breakdown by show is as follows: ABC's This Week included five Hispanics, CBS's Face the Nation had two, FOX News Sunday had four and NBC's Meet The Press had seven.
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Hispanics accounted for 5 percent of the combined number of appearances in these four shows. However, if Juan Williams, a regular FOX commentator, is subtracted from this equation, Hispanic appearances on Sunday morning shows drop to 2 percent.
NHFA and its key partner organizations met individually with the executive producers of each Sunday show and in three instances with the staff of the broader news divisions.
"While all networks expressed a desire to include more Latino guests and commentators," said Felix Sanchez, NHFA chairman and co-founder, "the networks have not kept pace with the demographic reality of the nation. For example, in 2010 the Latino vote had a greater impact on congressional and Senate races than the tea party, but that analysis came after the mid-term elections, not before."
The Sunday news shows summarize the week's top political stories and preview the upcoming week's news narrative. These network centerpiece news shows impact and influence the top national political issues of the day.
"Decision 2012 is upon us and every Sunday morning Latino voices are absent from key interviews and from political discussions," said Esai Morales, actor and NHFA co-founder. "Not only are the networks missing an important part of the story, but they are passing up an opportunity to increase Hispanic viewership across all news shows."
For nine months, NHFA categorized the guests and commentators on the four network news shows. The extensive findings are included in our report available at www.artofpolitics.us.
"While Latinos occasionally appear on these shows, the networks are inconsistent in whom they book as Latino guests or commentators," said Gretchen Sierra-Zorita, NHFA's director of media diversity initiatives. "Although there are minute fluctuations over the nine-month period, the data clearly shows that Latino presence on network Sunday talk shows is flat."
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