By all accounts, Sunday morning shows are the spaces where the political conversations of the day are debated. These shows are watched by pundits, policymakers, and decision-makers, particularly during the presidential elections.
Which makes it even more heartbreaking, for lack of a better word, to read the results of a new Media Matters study on the incidence of Latino guest appearances on English-language Sunday shows. The report found that only 4 percent of total guests – or 46 out of 1,172 total guests – on English-language Sunday shows were Hispanic. That’s not the worst part: In fact, these figures are down by 42% compared to the same length of time last year. When Latinos were invited, the study also found, the overwhelming topic was immigration versus other issues. So, on top of everything else, we’re pigeonholed: Insult to injury.
This issue, of course, is nothing new. The concerns of Latinos, as those of many other communities of color in this country, have been ignored by the media (and Hollywood, and tech, and… most every other industry, really) for a long time. The price of such exclusion is too high. As the elections near, now is the time for marginalized communities to place their issues in front of presidential candidates, in order to hold them accountable. And how are we going to do that if we are, for all intents and purposes, INVISIBLE?
This Thursday, we will hear from a group of experts in media issues who will share their thoughts on the report, including:
– Jessica Torres, Researcher at Media Matters for America and co-author of the study
– Felix Sanchez, Chairman and Co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts and staunch defender of Latinos in the media
– César Vargas, writer, producer, activist, and Founder of UPLIFTT (United People for Latinos in Film TV and Theater)