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By the Numbers: In Katrina’s Wake, Race and Class Largely Ignored

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"By the Numbers: In Katrina’s Wake, Race and Class Largely Ignored"

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“That’s the big elephant in the room: the race and economic class of most of the victims, which the media hasn’t discussed much at all.”
– Jack Cafferty, CNN, 9/1/05

ThinkProgress has conducted a review of transcripts from the three major cable news networks over a full week — Saturday, Auguest 28 to Saturday, September 3 — for coverage of the race and class issues exposed in Katrina’s wake. The data demonstrates clearly that all three networks are still, to a greater or lesser extent, ignoring the “elephant in the room.”

The Findings, By the Numbers:

0: Number of segments in which race or class issues were the primary or substantial focus, over four days, 8/28-8/31, on all three networks.

22: Number of segments (of roughly 1,300 total) in which race or class issues were the primary or substantial focus over the full seven-day period on all three networks.

12: Number of the 22 segments that aired on MSNBC, the highest number of any network. CNN featured 8 of the 22 segments.

2: Number of the 22 segments that aired on Fox News Channel.

[Note: In both segments, Fox anchors downplayed the role of race in the Katrina disaster aftermath. During the first segment, a 9/1 broadcast of "The O'Reilly Factor," Bill O'Reilly described himself as the "one person in America that believes that this doesn't have anything to do with race. Here he is, sitting right here." During the second segment, a 9/2 broadcast of "Fox & Friends," a clip of Kanye West's comments during an NBC relief program were played. Two anchors -- Juliet Huddy and Julian Phillips -- agreed that "it was an inappropriate place to make those remarks." The third anchor, Steve Doocy, said that "NBC should have had a producer with a finger on the button" to censor West's comments.]

7: Number of the 22 segments that aired during primetime (between 7pm and 11pm).

1.6%: Proportion of all segments on all three networks over the full seven day period (roughly 1,300 total) that focused on race or class issues.

3.8%: Proportion of all segments on all three networks over the final three days, 9/1-9/3, that focused on race or class issues.

Full breakdown (spreadsheet)

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