If the photo of Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and the mostly white male Republican representatives who helped pass Trumpcare (the American Health Care Act), which would replace the Affordable Care Act, and treats domestic violence, rape, cesarean sections, and post-partum depression as preexisting conditions disturbed you, the statistics on who the media called upon to discuss the health care bill won't be any more comforting. Currently, 13 Republican senators, all of them men, are drafting the (likely similar) Senate version of bill, and the media, which could and should bring up provisions of the legislation that disproportionately affect women and people of color, has turned to white men as the authority on the Republicans' brand of one-size-fits-all health care. A study from Media Matters found that prime-time cable news shows, broadcast morning and nightly news shows, and Sunday morning political shows featured male guests discussing the AHCA 2-to-1 over female guests.
While not entirely shocking, it's wholly irresponsible for news shows to invite double the number of men on to discuss such legislation, as the House version treats so many health care issues primarily associated with being female as preexisting conditions. Beyond considering surviving domestic and sexual abuse preexisting conditions, the bill includes an amendment that would allow companies to deny coverage for health services including mammograms and gynecological screenings. Furthermore, under the House legislation, Planned Parenthood, which provides lifesaving services, could see its Medicaid funding stripped.
CNN's Erin Burnett rightfully called out the all-male group of GOP senators drafting the yet-unreleased Senate version, asking, "What can they realistically bring to the table when the conversation turns to, let's just say, childbirth, maternity leave, ovarian cancer or breast cancer?" But then CNN added to the problem of a predominantly male-led conversation about a bill that would affect women's bodies, considering that out of 120 guests featured on the cable news giant's prime-time shows to discuss the AHCA, 78 of them were men and 42 of them were women. On the network's Sunday program State of the Union, 12 (75 percent) out of 16 guests invited to discuss Trumpcare were men.
Not surprisingly, the findings for Fox News regarding men versus women discussing whether or not cesarean sections should be a preexisting condition are even more disgraceful, with 60 men appearing on the network's programs as opposed to 17 women.
Across the board, men were invited to discuss the issues affecting women nearly twice as often, except for CBS, which invited an equal number of men and women.
Even more glaring than the statistics broken down by gender were those broken down by race. Media Matters found that 87 percent of the guests who appeared on prime-time cable news, broadcast morning and nightly news shows, and Sunday morning political shows to discuss ACHA were white.