Making politicians and media accountable to ordinary citizens since 2000.

Home | Unconservative Listening | Links | Contribute | About

Join the Mailing List | Contact Caro

Males vs. Females in Progressive Media


My post about the number of men vs. women in progressive media stirred up a hornetís nest.  And thatís a good thing, if it got people thinking.  You can discuss the issue at Daily Kos or at Democratic Underground, where Iíve been mightily criticized for my criteria, and even for bringing up this subject at all.  See some of the email exchanges, below the list.


Males vs. Females in Progressive Media

Silk, available from Jennifer
Goodenberger's Art Gallery

Is it possible that twice as many men as women are worthy progressive commentators?  If we go by the numbers of those who have a platform, we might be led to that conclusion.

You may quibble about my criteria in the lists below, but you cannot deny that men substantially outnumber women in commentary that should include such issues as putting the sexes on an equal footing.  These lists do not, and are not meant to, constitute a scientific study, so please donít write to tell me that you disagree with a particular inclusion or exclusion.  Itís just one personís perception.  Look at the big picture, and then try to tell me Iím wrong.

Oh, and while Iím at it, may I mention that as far as I know there are only six African Americans on these lists?

Carolyn Kay (




Radio talk show hosts


(On at least one sizeable land-based broadcast station, weekday program at least two hours in length, not a sidekick)

Doug Basham

Peter B. Collins

Al Franken

Sam Greenfield

Thom Hartmann

Joe Jackson


Mike Malloy

Marc Maron

Jay Marvin

Bill Press

Mark Riley

Neil Rogers

Ed Schultz

Sam Seder

Duke Skorich

Jerry Springer

Ray Taliaferro

Bernie Ward

Lizz Brown

Lynn Cullen

Janeane Garofalo

Rachel Maddow

Stephanie Miller

Randi Rhodes

Newspaper columnists


(Major newspapers)

Jay Bookman

James Carroll

Joe Conason

E.J. Dionne

Andrew Greeley

Bob Herbert

Colbert I. King

Michael Kinsley

Paul Krugman

Robert Kuttner

Thomas Oliphant

Clarence Page

Ted Rall

Frank Rich

Robert Scheer

Dave Sweifel

Rosa Brooks

Marie Coco

Ellen Goodman

Arianna Huffington

Molly Ivins

Helen Thomas

Editorial cartoonists


(The ones best known among progressives, in my opinion)

Robert Ariail

Tony Auth

Chip Bok

Stuart Carlson

Mark Fiore

David Horsey

Mike Luckovich

Pat Oliphant

Ted Rall

Steve Sack

Tom Toles

Tom Tomorrow

Dan Wasserman

Ann Telnaes

Signe Wilkinson

Magazine writers and editors


(Includes online magazinesósome of the magazines do not pay their columnists)

Eric Alterman

Marc Ash

Bill Berkowitz

Ari Berman

Sidney Blumenthal

Noam Chomsky

Alexander Cockburn

Richard Cohen

Juan Cole

Joe Conason

David Corn

Kevin Drum

Tom Englehardt

James K. Galbraith

Sean Gonzalves

William Greider

Thom Hartmann

Christopher Hayes

Don Hazen

Seymour Hersh

Hendrik Hertzberg

Jim Hightower

John Judis

Mark Karlin

Garrison Keillor

Lewis Lapham

Jason Leopold

Harold Meyerson

David Moberg

Russell Mokhiber

George Monbiot

Salim Muwakkil

John Nichols

Greg Palast

Robert Parry

John Pilger

Matthew Rothschild

Danny Schechter

Walter Shapiro

David Sirota

Norman Solomon

Ruy Teixeira

Michael Tomasky

Eric Utne

Mark Weisbrot

James Wolcott

Matthew Yglesias

Howard Zinn

Eleanor Clift

Bev Conover

Barbara Ehrenreich

Laura Flanders

Naomi Klein

Jane Mayer

Katha Pollitt

Anna Quindlen

Amy Sullivan

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Joan Walsh

Book authors


(Progressives who have had a book on a political subject published within the last couple of years)

Jimmy Carter

James Carville and Paul Begala

Joe Conason

Thomas Frank

Al Franken

Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson

Jim Hightower

John Judis and Ruy Teixeira

Paul Krugman

Michael Lerner

Barry Lynn

Mark Crispin Miller

Markos Moulitsas Zķniga and Jerome Armstrong

Greg Palast

Bill Press

David Sirota

Jon Stewart

Kurt Vonnegut

Margaret Cho

Barbara Ehrenreich

Laura Flanders

Katrina vanden Heuvel



(In the Technorati Top 100)

John Amato

John Aravosis

Duncan Black (Atrios)

Joshua Micah Marshall

Markos Moulitsas Zķniga

Arianna Huffington

Emails regarding this topic are posted below.  Please be aware that the right-wing reasons expressed in these messages are coming from so-called progressives.  It's a reflection of how successfully the right wing has influenced thought and discussion in this country.

Message from Paul V:

Caro, for the first time ever I must take exception to your items about the gender of those in the progressive media.  There are two components:

1) The expectations that every endeavor in life must be equally represented by every possible human classification.

2)  The implication that this intentional, to keep "the other' down or out.

Both are significant liberal ways of "thinking" far too often...

The lists almost made me laugh.  First of all, the vast majority of men listed I have never even heard of!  Me, a dyed in the wool liberal media wonk.  Contrarily, I have at least a passing acquaintance of almost  all of the women. What that list also tells me, is that the opportunity for a woman to break into the progressive media as a woman is a hell of a lot easier than for a man!  Think about that, "you" have only a few women to compete against, men have a lot more other men.  Before you say, "But 'I' am also competing against the men." that would only hold true if "you" were gender blind, and the hiring authorities were.  Obviously, neither are.

Life is unfair.  Unfair is not the same as unethical or immoral.  If there was a law discriminating against women in the field, that is patently legally and ethically wrong.  But there isn't...

My response

But what if it isnít intentional?  What if itís one of those insidious biases we donít even know we have?  If thatís the case, how will we ever get past it, if we donít acknowledge it?  We used to call it ďconsciousness raisingĒ in the 60s.

If you object to my criteria, or my inclusions in the list, why donít you make your own list?  Iíd be interested to see the result.

All I ask is that I be evaluated on my own merits, but I donít think I am.  I have some talent as a writer, and sometimes a unique perspective, but I havenít been able to break down the formidable barriers against getting paid in this business.  I donít consider it competing, I just want someone to take me seriously, despite the facts that Iím female, almost 62 years old, live in flyover country, didnít go to an Ivy League college, and am not independently wealthy.

I want to be judged on the strength of my ideas and my ability to express them, but I donít think thatís whatís happening.

It doesnít take a law against something to make it ethically wrong.  You know that.

Message from Alan R

Here's why: Women aren't applying for the positions.

It's that simple. No great sexist conspiracy to keep women down here.

In general, women aren't as attracted to careers in politics as men are.

In fact, if you adjust the figures to reflect the ratio of applicants, I believe you'll find that women actually have a BETTER chance of succeeding in political careers than men do. So no affirmative action is necessary.

Don't complain to men. It's not our fault that women aren't interested in politics.

My response

Better chance.  Number of applicants.  Uh huh.  I showed you an actual list.  You gave me hunches.

The members of the political message groups I belong to and the readers of MakeThemAccountable are at least 50% women.

Time to think up another hunch.

Message from Shirley J


It must be terrible to be so insecure and have such low self-esteem. All you feminists are alike. You feel so very threatened and intimidated by anything that is male-dominated. Why is that? People like you make me ashamed and embarrassed to be a woman. I couldn't care less if something is dominated by males. How come it bothers you so much? What is the big deal? Who cares? You and your ilk act as if it is always a bad thing for something to be male-dominated.  What is really pathetic about you is that you act as if you live in some fantasy world where you expect everything to be equal. People are not equal. They never have been, and they never will be. As much as you hate to admit it, men and women are DIFFERENT! THEY ARE NOT EQUAL! The world has never been equal for everybody and it never will be. Why can't you accept that and stop living in a dream world?...

My response

Well, Shirley, I guess those slaves on the plantations, shucking and jiving and singing their hymns, were having just a great time, too.

Maybe my concern has something to do with needing to eat from time to time.  And have a roof over my head.  And, God forbid, go to the doctor every now and then.  And I want to be able to do that by working for pay in an area where I have a bit of talent and a lot of passion.

What I want is an equal chance, not an equal result.

Yes, that definitely makes me sick in the head.

May 2006 update on book authors:
I canít help but see a certain pattern in recently released progressive books.  Do you see it, too?

Sam Seder and Stephen Sherrill

Jonathan Alter

David Sirota

Glenn Greenwald

Eric Boehlert

Jerome Armstrong, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga

Madeleine Albright,

Bill Woodward

[They can barely find one woman to even co-author a book.  Must not be enough applicants.  Click here to read my book proposal, for which I can't find a publisher.óCaro]

Series page


Last changed: December 13, 2009