Latinos Missing in Action on Sunday Morning Network Talk Shows

 
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Hispanics are the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority group, at 50.5 million or just over 16 percent of the population. Their presence has altered the political and economic landscape of this country.
 
From March to November of 2010, a total of 380 guests and commentators participated in ABC This Week, CBS Face the Nation, FOX News Sunday, and NBC Meet the Press. Only 12 of these were Hispanic.
 
The Hispanic population surge drove the reapportionment of Congressional seats following the 2010 Census. Hispanics, more than the Tea Party, were the deciding factor in the outcome of many 2010 mid-term elections, including the reelection of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as well as the retention of the U.S. Senate by the Democratic Party. The recent Florida Primary showed an intra-Latino demographic power shift between Cuban Americans, Puerto Ricans and other Hispanic constituencies. More than 15 swing states could be determined by the Latino vote in the 2012 Presidential election.
 
The purchasing power of Latinos continues to grow at a faster rate than that of the non-Hispanic population, currently exceeding $1 trillion. Hispanics are the fastest growing business owners generating $400 billion annually.
 
Yet in terms of representation, news media outlets have not been able to keep pace with the changing demographic profile of the U.S. The absence of Hispanics is particularly noticeable in public affairs television programming, such as the Sunday morning news talk shows.
 
The journalists, experts, and political leaders featured on these shows are highly influential, and their opinions play a vital role in shaping the political establishment's perceptions of pressing domestic and foreign issues. What is said on these shows serve as a point of reference for decision-makers in Washington and indirectly affects the entire country.
 
Today's political pundits are nearly identical to the ones that sat on the same chairs 40 years ago. The hosts, guests, journalists and commentators are primarily male and white. Women and people of color are underrepresented and there is a glaring absence of Hispanic contributors. 
  
Since 2010, the Art of Politics Impact Project has been working to ensure that the vibrant and diverse voices of the growing Latino community are better heard in the national political media arena. To this end, the Art of Politics Impact Project is collecting data on the gender, race and ethnicity of the Sunday talk shows on the four major networks - ABC This Week, CBS Face the Nation, FOX News Sunday, and NBC Meet the Press. Concurrently, the project is advocating for greater representation of Hispanic and Hispanic issues in news and public affairs programming.
 
The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts is directing this multipronged initiative in collaboration with the National Council of La Raza, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, The LIBRE Initiative, Being Latino, and other important partner organizations.
 
For further information:
Gretchen Sierra-Zonta
Director
The Art of Politics Impact Project