Katie Couric Says Hierarchy at Every Major News Network is Male, Misses Major Exception: Fox News


Appearing on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday, journalist Katie Couric and host Brian Stelter discussed the ousting of Les Moonves from CBS and the general media landscape as it pertains to women and the one year anniversary of the start of the #MeToo movement. Couric lamented the fact that the news divisions of the broadcast giants, and every cable news network, are all run by men. But are they?

Couric said she never saw or knew about any disturbing behavior from her former news partner Matt Lauer, who was fired in #MeToo moment over alleged sexual harassment, but that she did notice the bad culture at CBS News.

“CBS news, I think, it’s clear from Ronan Farrow’s excellent reporting that they have a real culture problem there,” she said. “The culture I found at 60 Minutes personally was very challenging and at times quite offensive, because I think obsequious subservience was a job requirement in order to thrive there, for many women.”

Couric observed that the culture at 60 Minutes has been there for a while, but also that it extends to other news organizations.

“Obviously the male hierarchy has been in place there for years and it’s time for it to end, but they’re not the only network that has a male hierarchy,” she said. “If you look at the news presidents at every major broadcast and cable network, they’re all male. All three evening news anchors are male. The vast majority of executive producers at every network are male. And this really has to end.”

For a few of those male names, we can take a quick look.

The leadership at CBS, where Mooves is out and where Couric was part of the team at 60 Minutes (which she and Stelter discuss in the clip) consists of:

Joseph Ianniello, CBS acting CEO
David Rhodes, President, CBS News
Jeff Fager,Executive Producer, 60 Minutes

All three male, as Couric said. And CNN, the network on which this interview aired, is as follows:

Jeff Zucker, President of CNN Worldwide
Ken Jautz, Executive Vice President, CNN
Michael Bass, Executive VP of Programming, CNN U.S.

There’s ABC News:

Ben Sherwood, President, Disney ABC Television
James Goldston, President, ABC News

As Couric said, men again.

Here is the news choice of progressives, NBC News:

Andrew Lack, Chairman, NBC Universal News Group
Noah Oppenheim, President, NBC News
Phil Griffin, President, MSNBC

MSNBC’s President is an old white man, to be clear.

And finally, Fox News:

Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman, FOX News
Suzanne Scott, Chief Executive Officer, FOX News and FOX Business Network
Jay Wallace, President, FOX News and Executive Editor


Yes, Suzanne Scott, a woman, is the CEO of both Fox News and Fox Business Network.

Couric is correct that most of the leadership of news organizations, and in particular where she used to work, are run exclusively by men. But that’s not true at Fox News, a rather notable exception about which she made no note. It’s an interesting exclusion, whether by oversight or omission, but not a contradiction of her overall assessment on the preponderance of men.

Although she didn’t discuss it specifically, we checked out a few major print publications as well.

Liberal New York Times:

Mark Thompson, President & CEO
A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher
Dean Baquet, Executive Editor

Conservative Wall Street Journal:

William Lewis, CEO and Publisher
Matt Murray, Editor in Chief

The Washington Post:

Frederick J. Ryan Jr., CEO and Publisher
Martin Baron, Executive Editor

Again, men. Of the gender balance, Couric says it affects how the news is covered.

“If we really believe that the tone at the top is paramount, then you have to have more diverse voices at the top because they have such an impact on the editorial choices that are made, who covers stories and how they’re covered,” she said.

This is also an argument for viewpoint diversity, made frequently by conservatives, who say that the lack of Republican or conservative voices in leadership in news networks creates a liberal bias. Couric is arguing that the lack of female voices creates a male bias.

It is interesting to observe that we don’t hear Couric arguing about how the news is too liberal, or conservatives arguing it’s too male, very often.

And you have to wonder if liberal bias may have played a role in omitting the fact that the number one and by-far dominant cable news network, Fox News Channel, has a female CEO in a discussion about lack of female executives. A similar situation occurred on The View a few months ago when Fox’s Harris Faulkner had to remind the hosts about diversity at Fox News as compared to the other two cable networks.

Speaking of diversity, former CNNer and prominent female journalist Soledad O’Brien recently ripped her former network, over theirs.

Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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