Sex Discrimination in Newscasting

This Note argues that the current judicial deference to viewer surveys used by television stations in newscasting employment decisions is unwarranted. Part I explores how different treatment of women newscasters constitutes sex-plus discrimination. Part II demonstrates that viewer surveys almost always reflect sexual stereotypes that are impermissible under title VII, and argues that such surveys should be presumptively inadmissible as evidence to rebut a claim of sex discrimination. Indeed, mere use of these surveys may in and of itself establish a prima facie case of sex discrimination.

Part III contends that sex discrimination in the news industry resulting from the use of viewer surveys cannot be justified under any of the recognized title VII defenses. Part IV discusses the policy considerations involved in the use and scrutiny of viewer surveys. It concludes that if courts are unwilling to prohibit the use of surveys generally as discriminatory per se, they should at least subject particular surveys that are challenged as discriminatory to judicial scrutiny.