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The chart that shows just how white America’s mainstream media is

Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
Attendees at the White House correspondents’ dinner, 2015.
By Heather Timmons
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Mainstream US news coverage of the protests in Baltimore has drawn fierce criticism from activists, protestors, and non-US media outlets companies like Al Jazeera.

Many critics say they see an inherent bias in the news coverage, which they believe favors police forces and local government, spreads scare-mongering about African American protesters, and mostly ignores the underlying reason protests are breaking out across the US—the continued killing of unarmed black men and women by police.

How biased America’s mainstream media actually is, and why, is a topic that has been studied and debated for years by various academics and nonprofit groups. And the ethnic makeup of traditional media outlets has been closely tracked for a long time by groups like the Radio Television Digital News Association and the American Society of News Editors.

So one thing is very clear—America’s newsrooms have been overwhelmingly staffed by white journalists for decades, and continue to be so, even as ethnic minorities near 40% of the population. While percentages of minority journalists in television, newspapers, and radio have eked up slightly in recent years, the gap has not closed, and in some cases is getting wider:

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