Our country has seen what can happen as a result of inequitable, sexist media coverage of presidential candidates. UltraViolet Action is working to ensure this is not our reality in 2020.
But so far, the mainstream media coverage of these candidates appears to be on track to repeat the mistakes of the 2016 election and deny these candidates fair, equal and bias-free coverage. According to an analysis of at least 130 articles from mainstream news outlets, female presidential hopefuls are consistently being described in the media more negatively than their male counterparts.
Following the absence of women moderators on CNN’s April 22 town hall—a forum where only female presidential candidates were asked questions about sexism—UltraViolet Action started to organize against this sexist bias. We led a coalition of progressive organizations, including Color of Change, MoveOn Political Action, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Women’s March, to pen an open letter to media organizations covering the 2020 presidential primaries with three demands:
The letter was sent to executives at MSNBC, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, Fox News, Univision, Telemundo and PBS.
Then, UltraViolet Action asked 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to sign onto an #AskForWomen pledge to demand that every DNC debate have at least one woman moderator. Numerous prominent presidential hopefuls signed on.
Within weeks of sending the letter and circulating the #AskForWomen pledge, the Democratic National Committee announced that it will require female moderators at every 2020 presidential debate and NBC News announced that four out of five moderators for the first Democratic presidential primary debate were women or people of color. These groundbreaking decisions would not have happened without UltraViolet Action members and our progressive allies.
But the work continues. Today, our members are challenging 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to address questions on ending the Hyde Amendment, ending the sexual violence epidemic, combating police violence against black and brown women, and fighting for equal pay. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to keep up with this campaign.