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The Disenfranchisement of Minorities Starts With The Media’s Coverage of Them

The disenfranchisement of minorities participating in the democratic process starts with the media’s coverage of them. How would anyone react to being blamed for how well or poorly a candidate performs in their demographic?

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As the electorate expands, as society evolves, America’s voice changes. This past election saw the most ballots cast of any election previously. A more diverse electorate made their voices heard, the result of which surprised Democrats and Republicans alike. News media makes attempts to predict the outcome, based on that outcome, it tries to interpret the meaning. Pundits speculate why certain districts vote one way or another, feeling the pulse of America. To simplify this process, surveys often break America down into demographics: race, age, gender, education, and location to pinpoint exactly which section of voters campaigns will target. As this process continues, the fate of elections begins to rest on specific demographics, particularly the “minority” vote. 

Over the last few years, pollsters and newsrooms have zeroed in on non-white demographics to get a better picture of how these demographics will vote. In the weeks leading up to the election newsrooms bombard viewers with polls, surveys, and pundits who try and anticipate which way these elections will go, but how reliable are they? Despite polls that were favorable towards Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, Trump ended up winning more electoral votes. 

Our expectations for how states will vote end up being very different from reality. While Joe Biden received the most votes out of any candidate in history, Trump received the second most votes performing better than expected in key battleground states. A columnist for the Los Angeles Times points out that a lot of Latinos voted for Trump in the 2020 election.

“Preliminary exit polls show that Trump didn’t just hold his Latino support from 2016; he built on it. Some have him winning 32% of Latino voters. Others peg the number at 27%. That’s still a Biden wipeout. But those Latino Trumpers delivered Florida to their caudillo, saved Texas, and damped Biden’s chances in swing states like Georgia and North Carolina.”

These results left Democrats scratching their heads, challenging the assumption that Latinos will reliably vote liberal. The days following the election saw newsrooms scrambling to explain how and why their numbers ended up being wrong. 

Reporters of color often called to act as envoys to their communities.  Reporters like Joy Reid, Van Jones, and Anna Navarro are supposed to create a narrative to explain why BIPOC voters vote red or blue, or not at all. These narratives should be digestible for viewers but often their presence can over-simplify the situation.

Latinx figures and reporters have been called to newsrooms when there hasn’t been much attention to the demographic leading up to the election. Eva Longoria recently came under fire for the claim that Latinas were the saviors of this election rather than Black women. While the statistics say differently (an overwhelming percentage of Black women voted for Biden).

Black men 4%1979
Black women 8%990
Latino men 5%3659
Latino women 8%3069
(New York Times US election 2020 exit polls) 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/11/03/us/elections/exit-polls-president.html

One can challenge the veracity of her statement because the numbers just aren’t there to support it. The more alarming pattern is the expectation that Eva Longoria’s opinions should reflect those of Latinx voters. The expectation that social and political figures of color speak the same language. The issue at hand touches something emotional, a candidate wins or loses a race, the finger is pointed at minority voters. White voters overwhelmingly voted for Trump. 

White men 35% of voters6138
White women 32%5544
(New York Times US election 2020 exit polls)

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/11/03/us/elections/exit-polls-president.html

“Despite his gains among voters of color, Trump’s base has always been white people. That didn’t change in 2020 when a majority of white voters backed him. And since white voters comprise the majority of the electorate — 65 percent according to Edison Research — they make up by far the largest bloc to support him. Black and Latinx voters, meanwhile, make up 12 and 13 percent, respectively.” (VOX) 

https://www.vox.com/2020/11/7/21551364/white-trump-voters-2020

Why aren’t White political figures, celebrities, or former officials being interrogated for that?

What is happening has been happening for generations in the voting booth. The disenfranchisement of minorities participating in the democratic process starts with the media’s coverage of them. How would anyone react to being blamed for how well or poorly a candidate performs in their demographic? 

The day after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were projected as President and Vice-president elect, Van Jones cried on CNN saying that he could now tell his children that truth and goodness prevailed. Wherever Van Jones lands politically on the spectrum, would there be any other situation in which his reaction would be acceptable?

While the divisions in our country won’t resolve themselves in one administration, this is still a symbolic victory for women of color. Supporting someone means celebrating their victories and encouraging them through defeats. While I disagree with some of Kamala’s policies throughout her political career, why is our first instinct to try and qualify her victory with asterisks?

BIPOC people are not allowed to be complicated in the same way that whites are. The terms by which BIPOC people are allowed to participate are ultimately decided by white people, doling out representation to whom they deem worthy. How can Newsrooms preach inclusivity while still working in a top-down structure? Media corporations try to commodify identity, they hire spokespeople, trying to appeal to viewers who share that identity. When you aren’t of the same opinion there’s no way to win. When a BIPOC person enters a white space, they pay a higher price for commonplace behavior.

BNM Writers

Midterm Election Madness Has Come Early

As we enter 2022, this can likely be the best and most passionate midterm year for the News Talk audience in over a decade.

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CBS News

It’s 2022. It’s a midterm year, which typically provides a lift to News Talk stations around the country. Of course, it will never be a Presidential Year, but it’s a chance to drum up plenty of storylines on the local and federal front to carry through the year.

As we enter 2022, this can likely be the best and most passionate midterm year for the News Talk audience in over a decade. I’d go back to the Tea Party movement of 2010 as the last time a midterm appeared to be shaping up this well for those with conservative values. Instead of playing defense, a la 2018, when Republicans held the White House, Senate, and House leading into those midterms, the party is now on offense. They’re in the minority in the House and Senate, while President Biden continues to see his approval rating fall off a cliff.

This should create an environment for a generally right-of-center audience that will be engaged and excited about what’s to come this fall.

How can your station handle this expected enthusiasm? Lean into it. From U.S. Senate to House races, all the way down to school board races, which will remain hot-button topics throughout the year (look at Exhibit A: Virginia).

From a content perspective, that means trying to capture as much of the news as you can for your audience. Lead the way. Get the candidates to try and make news on your show. Heck, get the candidates to make announcements on your show. For example, on KCMO in Kansas City, in just the last two weeks, we had the privilege of having a candidate for a U.S. House seat in Missouri announced exclusively on our show, while we also had a candidate for a county commissioner chair in the biggest county in Kansas in the KC Metro make his announcement on our program.

These don’t need to be long-form interviews, as the audience isn’t likely wanting to get into the weeds on some of the policy and topics just yet. Still, it will make the show and the station feel “big” that these candidates want to be on your station to make their announcement regardless of what they’re running for.

And not only will it be quality content that becomes appointment listening, if teased correctly. It also creates plenty of opportunities for afterglow with great promos and liners to continue building the station’s brand around the clock.

“Your Home in Missouri and Kansas for the 2022 Midterms!”

“Leading the way on the 2022 Midterms in Kansas City!”

These can work on rejoins, promos, liners, or anything you need from your station’s imaging perspective.

If I may add a caveat here, obsessing over the 2022 midterms in January or February will not carry you until November. But it’s undoubtedly already here and getting plenty of attention.

But don’t let that prevent a show from having great topic variety, local and national, all while still having fun at the same time.

After 2021 that was ho-hum compared to the previous five years, the news cycle is undoubtedly picking back up: Is your station prepared for the re-engagement that is likely set to return from a portion of the listening audience?

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BNM Writers

Biden, Harris Jan. 6 Speeches Deliver Viewers To All 3 Networks

“Fox News was first overall, drawing 1.44 million total viewers and 215,000 of the audience in the key 25-54 demographics, according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC was a close runner-up in total viewers with 1.31 million.”

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Marking the start of the one-year anniversary of the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 were remarks by Vice President Kamala Harris, followed by President Joe Biden. Harris stated, “On Jan. 6, we all saw what our nation would look like if the forces who seek to dismantle our democracy are successful — the lawlessness, the violence, the chaos.” In Biden’s speech, he said “At this moment, we must decide what kind of nation are we going to be… Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth, but in the shadow of lies? We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to recognize the truth, to live by it.

Both speeches occurred in the 9-10 a.m. Eastern hour on Jan. 6. The rankings according to viewer figures among the cable news networks were, once again, similar to those of recent news events. Fox News Channel was first overall, drawing 1.44 million total viewers and 215,000 of the audience in the key 25-54 demographics, according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC was a close runner-up in total viewers with 1.31 million.

The window for CNN’s coverage went from 8:45 a.m. to 10:28 a.m. ET; while more precise data for the speeches themselves were not made available, the time period offered was still enough to achieve cable news’ runner-up spot in adults 25-54. CNN drew 187,000 in the demo while MSNBC did 182,000.

CNN delivered their most-watched hours of their week (ending Jan. 9) in the hours following Biden’s speech. Within the time frame of 10:28 a.m. to noon Eastern, which included a 22-minute speech by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the network averaged 1.25 million total viewers and 238,000 adults 25-54. Still, Fox News Channel topped those figures; from 10 a.m. to noon, they averaged 1.74 million total viewers with 272,000 adults 25-54. For FNC, the week marked 21 consecutive weeks in which they outdrew CNN and MSNBC combined according to total day data.

The Weather Channel achieved its highest rated week since the week ending Sep. 5, 2021 (Hurricane Ida). Winter Storm Garrett swept from Colorado to Maine, helping bring more than 6 inches of snow to parts of the Tennessee Valley and the Northeast. Snow totals have ranged from 2 to 5 inches in the Washington, D.C. to Baltimore to Philadelphia corridor to close to 10 inches at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and in southern Connecticut; the five boroughs of New York City received snow levels in-between. Most of the channel’s top hours occurred between the 8-11 a.m. ET time period from Jan. 3-7.

Cable news averages for January 3-9, 2022:

Total Day (January 3-9 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.408 million viewers; 223,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.746 million viewers; 88,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.548 million viewers; 113,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.196 million viewers; 58,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.191 million viewers; 37,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.161 million viewers; 39,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.121 million viewers; 21,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.105 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (January 3-8 @ 8-11 p.m.; January 9 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.303 million viewers; 365,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.284 million viewers; 154,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.705 million viewers; 153,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.227 million viewers; 73,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.206 million viewers; 66,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.218 million viewers; 47,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.142 million viewers; 29,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.053 million viewers; 8,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 1/5/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.606 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 1/6/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.576 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 1/6/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.515 million viewers

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 1/5/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.382 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 1/4/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.365 million viewers

6. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 1/3/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.330 million viewers

7. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 1/7/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.311 million viewers

8. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 1/4/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.279 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 1/3/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.125 million viewers

10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 1/7/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.953 million viewers

18. Rachel Maddow Show “Democracy In Peril 1/6 Anniversary” (MSNBC, Thu. 1/6/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.444 million viewers

133. CNN Newsroom (CNN, Thu. 1/6/2022 10:28 AM, 32 min.) 1.260 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top MSNBC, CNN and HLN programs with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 1/5/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.620 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 1/6/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.576 million adults 25-54

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 1/4/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.565 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 1/3/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.557 million adults 25-54

5. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 1/4/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.502 million adults 25-54

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 1/7/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.487 million adults 25-54

7. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 1/5/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.486 million adults 25-54

8. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 1/7/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.483 million adults 25-54

9. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 1/6/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.483 million adults 25-54

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 1/5/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.472 million adults 25-54

22. Rachel Maddow Show “Democracy In Peril 1/6 Anniversary” (MSNBC, Thu. 1/6/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.359 million adults 25-54

65. CNN Newsroom (CNN, Fri. 1/7/2022 3:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.255 million adults 25-54

177. Forensic Files “Time Will Tell” (HLN, late Sat. 1/8/2022 12:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.155 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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BNM Writers

Dave Ramsey and Those Evil Millionaires

Ramsey spent some time discussing a recent New York Times article, which was pushing the moral need to “abolish millionaires.”

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Readers got another strong shot of common sense for their dollars and cents last week from the radio host known for delivering it in daily doses over the years.

During last week’s launch week for his new book, Baby Steps Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth – and How You Can Too, author and radio host, Dave Ramsey, took to the airwaves to share the underlying philosophy of his newest hit.

“We launched this book in the middle of a society where a portion of the people are out there; I call them the hope stealers. Their job is to steal your hope,” Ramsey began. “Their job is to tell you that the society, the culture, the country that we live in is so broken that the little man can’t get ahead. You stand no chance unless you inherit it from a rich uncle. You can’t make it; we need socialism. We need wealth redistribution. Wealthy people are evil anyway, and so they should be punished.”

Ramsey spent some time discussing a recent New York Times article, which was pushing the moral need to “abolish millionaires.” To Ramsey, this is anathema. After all, the radio host has made a name for himself, as well as created thousands of jobs through his multi-million dollar business by becoming the financial voice for the “little man.” He began small, became a millionaire, lost it all through bankruptcy, and then prospered much more than before through the reliance on true, Biblical financial principles.

“A billion dollars is wildly more than anyone needs, even accounting for life’s most excessive lavishes,” Ramsey quoted the story. “It’s far more than anyone might reasonably claim to deserve, however much he believes he has contributed to society. Billionaires should not exist. When American capitalism sends us its billionaires, it’s not sending us its best. It’s sending us people who have lots of problems, and they’re bringing their problems with them. They’re bringing inequality.”

Ramsey pointed out the apparent case of jealousy and envy.

“Two evil character traits of anyone who is one with money. Money is evil; money is bad. If you get money, you are evil, and you are bad,” Ramsey said. “You should have it taken away from you and given to someone else….so that they are evil and bad, I guess. I never thought about that part. If we give it out, is it not a problem for the poor people that get it. I mean, if it’s bad, maybe we should just centralize it with a few people and destroy them instead of giving it to other people. That’s kind of illogical. The critical thinking breaks down on this, doesn’t it?”

And as usual, Ramsey didn’t hold back what he thought. As he has said countless times, he’s an “expert on his own opinion.”

“I’m old. When I was young, we called those communists,” he said. “This is straight-up Marxism.” He then referenced Democratic politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s policy adviser, who said “every billionaire we have is because of a policy failure” and that “a moral society needs guardrails against it.” 

Co-host John Delony, questioning the logic of the extreme leftist logic Ramsey was referencing, asked a real-world question to test the integrity of the socialist theory.

“I’m just thinking of the first guy that popped into my head, everybody’s favorite target – Elon Musk comes up with a cool computer program and sells it for a lot of money. Helps a lot of people do a lot of things. Then he develops a car and a battery. What’s the inherent evil there? I’m perplexed by the argument,” Delony said.

“It’s not logical; it’s not critical thinking skills. Marxism never is,” Ramsey answered, cutting through the propaganda. “What ends up happening is that the whole thing is about vilifying wealth and the wealthy so that we can do a power grab and move the money around and get credit for it. It’s a power grab thing. That’s generally what’s at the core of Marxism or these kinds of things all along.”

As Ramsey has been saying for years, and studies support, the wealthy lead all income earners in consistent giving.

“In the real world, the most generous people on the planet are the wealthy,” Ramsey noted. “This is actual data, not theory, not political rhetoric that’s trying to beat a drum. But the actual data says that wealthy people feed more starving children than not-wealthy people.” 

“88 percent gave to a charity in 2020,” Delony pointed out, referencing a survey of 1626 households with a net worth of at least a million dollars.

“Millionaires, there they are again!” Ramsey chimed.

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