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Liberals complain of lack of “key voices and perspective” on Iowa political talk shows

This news story was published on April 11, 2019.
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Matt Sinovic of Progress Iowa

DES MOINES – With caucus season underway, Iowa’s political talk shows have failed to give voice to the diverse perspectives in our state, according to an analysis released today by the advocacy group Progress Iowa. According to data released, white men are given twice the airtime across episodes than all women of any race and approximately 15% of guests represent all of our communities of color.

Progress Iowa monitored guest appearances on political talk shows on television and radio in the Des Moines media market and on statewide broadcasts starting in January of 2019. In total there were 390 guests in 130 shows on Iowa Press (Iowa Public Television), The Insiders (WHO Channel 13), Close Up (KCCI Channel 8), This Week in Iowa (WOI Channel 5), Heartland Politics (KBUR News Radio), The Steele Report (KWWL Channel 7) and River to River episodes featuring political and legislative guests (Iowa Public Radio).

Among those 390 guests and 130 shows, Progress Iowa’s analysis discovered the following key findings:

  • Less than 15% of guests represented communities of color, while 84.6% of guests were white

  • White men represented 52% of guests with 194 appearances, and were three times more likely to appear than any person of color (54 appearances)

  • Only one episode featured a woman of color as the only guest; there were forty two episodes featuring white men as the only guests

  • Just 39% of all guests were women

  • White men were given twice the airtime as often as all women of any race (42 solo appearances compared to 20)

Additionally, the statewide program Iowa Press has not had any Latino, Native, Asian, or African American guests in 2019, and in 2018 only two non-white guests were on the show, State Representative Ras Smith, and Iowa Secretary of State candidate Deidre DeJear (former Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn appeared during a gubernatorial debate).

“If we aren’t intentional in ensuring that we seek to include a diverse range of individuals on our main media platforms, we can become an accomplice in projecting a lack of importance,” said Representative Smith. “I’ve been on the Steele report, Iowa Press and River to River in the last year. I’m grateful for the opportunity but would like to be less of an exception and more of the rule.“

“We know that people trust their local news more than other sources to tell them what they need to know, and one way that local news outlets can live up to the trust they’ve earned is by actively prioritizing representation on-air and fully embodying the communities they serve,” said Pam Vogel, deputy editorial director and local news expert at Media Matters for America. “I hope that this study will encourage local news outlets in Iowa and across the country to think critically about whose voices are represented in political commentary and to take solid measures to improve the conversation for all viewers.

“A representation of diverse voices is always important, especially as Iowa plays a critical role in deciding who will be the next President,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “And speaking as a straight white man, we’ve frankly heard enough from straight white men. It’s past time for all of us to do better and to lift up the voices of underrepresented communities.”

Click here to view the guests of each program by date, along with a summary of the data analyzed by Progress Iowa.

Progress Iowa will continue to monitor these and additional programs during 2019, and release updated figures each quarter.

Progress Iowa is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization with a network of more than 75,000 progressives. Year-round, Progress Iowa advocates for a stronger middle class, first-class public education, and fairness for all Iowans under the law.



IOWA MEDIA MONITOR – 2019 Guest Demographics


  • 84.6% of guests were white

  • 52.1% of guests were white men

  • 60.8% of guests were men

  • 39.2% of guests were women

  • 40% of episodes featured only male guests (52)

  • 32.3% of episodes featured only white male guests (42)

  • 15.3% of episodes featured only female guests (20)

  • 0.7% of episodes featured only guests who were women of color (1)

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9 Responses to Liberals complain of lack of “key voices and perspective” on Iowa political talk shows

  1. Jenny Tailia Reply Report comment

    April 13, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    I would not have expected anything less from Matt Sinovic and Progress Iowa. Both are foolish and a waste of time.

  2. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 13, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    Who’s funding this outfit? Soros?

  3. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 13, 2019 at 10:26 am

    It seems to me that the people that are part of these progressive groups are some of the most racist and sexist people that you can meet. Can anyone think of any other groups or organizations in america or the world that have focused solely on the race, gender, or religion of people and not the ideas that they bring to the table. It seems to me that these self-proclaimed progressives are taking the thinking in american back in time not forward.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 13, 2019 at 9:34 am

    The DNC liberals instruction manual is known as the koran.

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 12, 2019 at 8:24 am

    White people didcovered America -developed it the for some ungodly reason brought in the 3rd world welfare sponges to destroy it. Not all but over 87% we would guess. If you don’t like it here because we will shut off your worthless welfare we pay for don’t let the door hit you in the azz on your way out and take your socialist pukes called the DNC with YOU !

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 12, 2019 at 7:55 am

    almost as if nobody wants to hear from obnoxious children who dont have any connection with reality. if you think anything aoc says is any less than full blown retardation, you dont NEED a voice. same if you support bernie or any type of gun control. youre a psychotic unrealistic dil do. sit down and shut your gender confused mouths.

  7. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 11, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    Any Latino, Native, Asian, or African American guests to speak on Progress Iowa talk shows. Need not be politically active, or a US citizen. Will be tutored/coached and paid by the DNC.

  8. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 11, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    15% of guests represented communities of color, while 84.6% of guests were white

    91% of our population is white, making blacks and illegals overrepresented in liberal media. Who could have guessed?

  9. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 11, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Race Population
    White 2,824,197
    Black or African American 106,762
    Asian 71,178
    Two or More Races 62,734
    Some Other Race 39,527
    American Indian and Alaska Native 10,791
    Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 2,913

    MAYBE, this could be why?