A left-wing women’s media group co-founded by Gloria Steinem gave top honors for gender parity Wednesday to an unexpected recipient: Fox News.
In its annual report on the journalism gender gap, the Women’s Media Center said the center-right network’s website outperformed those of CNN, the Daily Beast and Huffington Post in reporting done by women from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30.
The Fox website was the only media outlet of the four examined that saw 50 percent of its reporting done by women. Placing second was Huffington Post with 49 percent, followed by CNN with 45 percent and Daily Beast with 38 percent.
The gender gap was far more pronounced at television networks, newspapers and wire services. More than two-thirds of the evening reporting at the three broadcast networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — was done by men, while none of the 10 major daily newspapers studied reached the 50-50 mark.
“Overall, men produce 62.3 percent of the analyzed reports while women produce 37.7 percent,” said the report, “Divided 2017: The Media Gender Gap.” “The study found that the disparity exists in newspapers, online news, wire services and television news, but is especially stark in TV news.”
In television, PBS had the narrowest gap, with 55 percent of the reporting on its evening news hour done by men and 45 percent by women. Fox, CNN and other cable outlets were not included in the analysis.
“It’s deeply disheartening to see the regression in evening broadcast news at the three major networks,” says WMC President Julie Burton in a statement. “Who tells the story is as important as what the story is. Our research continues to show that, overwhelmingly, it is men who are telling the story.”
The percentage of women involved in reporting news at the three networks actually decreased in 2016, with 25.2 percent of the work performed by women anchors, reporters and correspondents, down from 32 percent in 2015.
At the 10 newspapers studied, the New York Daily News had the biggest gender gap in terms of bylines, with 76 percent men and 24 percent women, followed by USA Today, with 70 percent versus 30 percent.
The New York Times’ male-female ratio on byline counts was 61 to 39 percent, while the Washington Post had one of the best ratios at 57.5 to 42.5 percent.
Why is the number of men versus women reporters important? The WMC said female journalists have a different perspective, implying that they are more liberal politically than men on topics such as abortion.
“Our research projects on coverage of campus rape and coverage of reproductive rights show that the gender of the journalist affects how they cover topics and whom they choose as sources,” said Ms. Burton. “Women are not equal partners in telling the story, nor are they equal partners in sourcing and interpreting what and who is important in the story.”
The WMC was founded in 2005 “as a nonprofit progressive women’s media organization by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem,” according to the website.
Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for the conservative Media Research Center, said the WMC report comes as evidence of liberal hypocrisy on sexism.
“Liberals constantly remind us that the media aren’t just left-wing,” Mr. Gainor said. “They are racist and sexist and the one outlet that they hate most of all — Fox News — is not. The left has never been able to understand that conservatives support the meritocracy and Fox News promotes the best people, the ones who resonate with the audience.”