The political gabfests held by the major networks every Sunday morning are probably more closely watched in Washington than anywhere else, and there’s a group in town that wants to see more of its own members on the schedule. That would be the Congressional Black Caucus. According to a study by National Urban League Policy Institute, blacks made up only 8% of the guests on shows hosted by ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and CNN. But the study is aging – it covered 2004 and 2005.
NULPI’s Stephanie Jones told The Hill that since then there has been incremental improvement, and at least one show, “Fox News Sunday,” has a black on as a regular panelist. Other guests seen fairly recently have included Tavis Smiley, Harold Ford Jr., Michael Steele, Eugene Robinson and Michele Norris.
However, members of CBC want to be there to speak for themselves, particularly when issues of interest to the black community are under discussion. They wonder why their position is being promoted by proxy, when they have distinguished member who could make the case – including four committee chairs and 17 subcommittee chairs.
Instead, only three appearances have been made by CBC members thus far in 2009 – two for Maxine Waters (D-CA) and one for Charles Rangel (D-NY).
One problem may be the dearth of black senators, who get the majority of gabfest invitations. The only one at the moment, Roland Burris (D-IL) is the only one, and he’s been keeping a low profile.