Fox Gets an F on a Diversity Report Card

The National Latino Media Council reported last week that ABC, CBS and NBC have made some progress in improving the representation of Latinos working on their entertainment programming. But the group couldn’t give Fox a passing grade this year.

In fact, NLMC gave the network an F in its 11th annual diversity report card. Fox failed to provide NLMC with data on the representation of Latinos in front of and behind the camera even though the network, along with ABC, CBS and NBC, agreed to do so when it signed a memorandum of understanding 13 years ago.

In its evaluation, NLMC considers the number of Latino actors a network employs for primetime scripted and reality programming as well as the number of Latino writers, producers, directors and entertainment executives.

Composed of 15 Latino civil rights and advocacy organizations dedicated to increasing Latino employment in the media industry, NLMC blasted Fox for being “unresponsive” to the group’s request for data:

For years, NLMC has highlighted Fox’s lack of transparency in providing clear and complete information to evaluate diversity performance. Two years ago when a new diversity team was created at the network we were hopeful for positive change. To our surprise there was change, but only for the worse. For the last couple of years the Fox diversity team has been unresponsive to NLMC’s request for timely and complete data.

Fox’s refusal to uphold its agreement with NLMC comes at a time when the network’s parent company, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., is lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to relax our nation’s ownership rules. And Murdoch’s lobbying efforts are paying off.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is planning to lift the ban on a company owning both a daily newspaper and TV stations in the same market — paving the way for Murdoch to buy the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

Lifting the ban would further threaten broadcast ownership by people of color, deepening our nation’s media inequality. Recent FCC figures show that people of color own just 3.6 percent of all full-power TV stations and only 8 percent of radio stations.

Chairman Genachowski is ignoring a 2011 federal court ruling that ordered the FCC to study the impact of any rule changes on ownership diversity before adopting any changes. Indeed, the chairman appears all too ready to help Rupert Murdoch broaden his media empire — which pushes an agenda that often marginalizes people of color.

While NLMC gave Fox an F, it gave ABC a B, CBS a B-plus and NBC an A-minus.

NLMC stated that “consistent dialogue” through the years with the four major networks, including Fox, have produced “tangible and “incremental” improvement in the hiring and representation of Latinos.

But when Fox failed to comply with its agreement this year, the NLMC let its F grade do the talking.

Tell the FCC: no more media for Murdoch.

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