Photo Nails the Problem With the Conversation We're Having About Women

September 29th 2016

Laura Donovan

Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado's recent claims that Donald Trump criticized her weight in the 1990s have generated ample debate on social media and in the news all week.

A Bloomberg Television show that airs on MSNBC covered this news item on Wednesday, but a number of people noted something peculiar about the segment's panelists.


A segment titled "Three Wise Men" on the show "With All Due Respect" featured hosts John Heilemann and Mark Halperin and three panelists, including Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn. In one portion of the segment, the panelists broached the subject of Trump's controversy with Machado. Epshteyn said that the American people "don't care" whether Trump mocked Machado's weight or not and that Trump's policies are more important to focus on than the issues between Trump and Machado.

Politico chief political correspondent Glenn Thrush noted how strange it was to see a panel made up entirely of men talk about women's body issues.

Others also pointed out the irony as well.

The criticism about the panel participants found an audience. The men on the panel may be qualified to speak about political issues, but they don't have the perspective of a woman, and none of them knows what it is like to be a woman in a society that puts a premium on appearance.

Epshteyn in particular viewed Machado's claims as unimportant compared to other election issues, even though Trump's treatment of women has been a talking point in the presidential race.

Political talk shows have been known to favor male panelists.

A March report by Media Matters looked at five Sunday morning political talk shows and found that white men made up more than half of the guests on each show last year:

  • 63 percent of "Face the Nation" and "Fox News Sunday" guests were white males.
  • 60 percent of "The Week" guests were white males.
  • 53 percent of "Meet the Press" guests were white males.
  • 56 percent of "State of the Union" guests were white males.

The researchers also found that many of the guests were disproportionately conservative.

Media Matters

Media Matters

"Admittedly, much of the fault lies not with the shows but with American institutions: White men are overrepresented among elected and appointed officials, as well as in think tanks and the field of journalism," Newsweek reported. "Still, Media Matters Executive Vice President Angelo Carusone argues that the shows could reach out and find more diverse panels; without doing so, he says, they are presenting a distorted perspective of America, one in which the white male viewpoint still takes complete precedence."

ATTN: has reached out to MSNBC and Bloomberg Television regarding Thrush's Twitter observation of the panel and will update this story if MSNBC chooses to comment.

Update 3:24 p.m PT: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the number of guests on the "Three Wise Men" segment. 

[H/T Indy100]