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Cable TV's Pundits Reflecting the Presidential Race

Political Pundits

(clockwise) Political pundits Michelle Bernard, Donna Brazile, Roland Martin and Jamal Simmons Composite hide caption

itoggle caption Composite

The New York Times has an interesting piece about the increased diversity among cable TV's political pundits (some of whom got their start on News & Notes and many of whom appear regularly on our show).

At issue:

Whether such moves signal real progress in diversifying the punditocracy or merely reflect the needs of a particular news cycle is the question, some media experts say. The most prominent positions on television remain overwhelmingly with those who are white and male, and some critics note how striking that non-inclusion can seem during this election year.

The president of the National Association of Black Journalists told the Times "black pundits often disappear as quickly as they arrive ... and too often talk only about race."

And blogger, professor, and frequent News & Notes guest Mark Anthony Neal offered this thought-provoking quote:

"There is suddenly a demand for smart Negroes. You're seeing a lot less of the Jesse Jacksons and the Al Sharptons and more academics and thought-leaders. This is expressly in response to Barack Obama, less so Hillary. Because of the combination of Hillary and Barack, you're seeing more black women."

What do you think? And which of the pundits is your favorite?

Graphic: Hour by Hour: The Many Faces of Political Pundits



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It is truly amazing what President Elect Obama is accomplishing before he takes office. Just thinking about what adjustments other world leaders and news organizations are thinking about right now makes me want to live longer than i should.
Speaking about living longer than an average Black man should, while visiting my doctor here in South Africa; i told her i would finally start taking blood pressure medicine because i wanted to be around for an Obama presidency. She does not believe he will be elected. In fact she said it was as likely as Robert Mugabe being voted out of office. She had not gotten the news yet, so i told her Mugabe lost, he is on his way out.

I am so very fortunate to have been born in the middle of last century; so many wondrous events have happened for me to witness. Now all we all have to do is make it past 2012.

Sent by audiodramatist | 1:19 PM | 4-3-2008

I've noticed the increase. Normally the only place you could see a Black face on cable news with some regularity was FOX, now everyone is gettin' with the program.

My favs: Donna Brazille, Roland Martin. Farai Chideya (way to represent on HBO!)

Not so favs: Melissa Harris-Lacewell (saw her on 'Real-Time', I was a tad bit dissapointed...she's very attractive though :), Eugene Robinson

Sent by Bill M | 3:39 PM | 4-3-2008

Jaun Williams shouldn't count

And I like Amy Holmes...I agree with nothing she says but I like watching her.

Sent by BC Planning | 8:16 PM | 4-3-2008

I am all for diversity of opinion within the Black community which is why I cringe every time we are treated to to a Black liberal/conservative debate as if that represents the divide within Black thought. That is the divide among white intellectuals and we have it replicated in a show about African Americans even though it does not represent the intellectual divide among Black people. One is reminded of when NBC execs told Bill Cosby if he was gonna have someone say something against apartheid then one of the family members would have to say something in favor of the apartheid regime. Cosby rejected this foolishness because it would not have been representative of a debate within Black families about apartheid.
The number of pro-apartheid Blacks was neglible. Despite the fact that the number of Black conservatives in the Black community is negligible we hear from them on News AND NOTES on every show. The number of Afro-centrist and nationalist in the BLACK community far exceeds the numbers of Black conservatives yet they are rarely heard from. I guess NEWS AND NOTES is more interested in reflecting "acceptable" Black thought than actual Black thinking.

Sent by Sayeed Mulagata | 4:04 AM | 4-4-2008

I don't think the NY Times should cheapen the accomplishment of the black pundits just based on who's running in this election. There has been a cry for years to see more diversity on the Sunday morning political news / cable new segments.

That been said my Hands Down Favorite: Donna Brazille. I've been a fan for years and always a treat for me when she's on This Week with George Stephanopoulis.

Next in line will be Eugene Robinson of the Washington. Always fair on both sides; maybe his journalism background plays a part.

I think Jamal Simmons lets his support for Obama cloud his judgment on some topics and I need a couple of cups of coffee to listen to Roland Martin; too hyper for me.

Amy Holmes - I may never see eye to eye with her on her politics but I admire her intelligence.

Sent by Moji | 1:58 PM | 4-4-2008

Oh yes! I agree with Sayeed in many ways. I've lived in the Northeast, South, and in California, I am 38 and have only come across less than a handfull of black conservatives, but I can't even count the number of Arocentrist and black nationalist that have crossed my path....which is why when white society (mainstream media) is confronted w/it, it's such a shock for them, but NOBODY in the black community is ever supprised by Afrocentric thoughts and opinions! And this is also makes it easy for mainstream to compare it to white racist thinking, which it is NOT but when there is no opportunity to HEAR it, (only observe it from afar in utube-like snipets) there is no opportunity to try and understand either....

Sent by Lovenia | 11:32 AM | 4-8-2008