Jul 16 2014

STUDY: Cable News: A White Man’s World

White, male guests dominate across CNN, Fox, MSNBC


A new FAIR study reveals that when it comes to primetime cable news debates, it’s a white man’s world.

Surveying six primetime programs on CNN,Fox News and MSNBC, the study finds that 84 percent of the 1,015 guests appearing in interview or discussion segments in a five-week period were white, while 72 percent were men.

The least ethnically diverse show was, surprisingly enough, on the liberal-leaning MSNBC. On the Rachel Maddow Show–which also featured the fewest number of interview guests–94 percent of the sources were white. Fox‘s O’Reilly Factor was close behind, with a 90 percent white guest list.

The most frequent guests on the programs are other members of the media: Journalists and pundits made up 55 percent of all sources. Current or former government officials were the next most common category, providing 10 percent of sources.

Other findings:

–The most ethnically diverse show was All In, the MSNBC program hosted by Chris Hayes. His previous program, Up with Chris Hayes, had been singled out for being far more diverse than the Sunday network talk shows.

–The most male-dominated show was CNN‘s OutFront, hosted by Erin Burnett, where 81 percent of guests were men. The least male-dominated show was Fox‘s O’Reilly Factor(64 percent male guests), followed closely by Fox‘s Hannity (65 percent).

–Latinos—who make up 16 percent of the US population—were particularly underrepresented, accounting for just 3 percent of sources. And women of color, who make up 18 percent of the US population, were just 5 percent of sources across the shows.

–Among guests with a partisan affiliation, Democrats slightly outnumbered Republicans, 104 to 84–much of that due to a heavy tilt towards Democrats on MSNBC.

By way of comparison, the study also surveyed the guestlist of Democracy Now!, an independent daily TV/radio broadcast. The show featured far more activists than any other program, and few US government officials. Democracy Now‘s guestlist was 60 percent male and 79 percent white.

“It is nearly impossible to have a broad, informed discussion of the issues of the day when most of the population is excluded from participation,” said FAIR activism director Peter Hart, who authored the study.

The study appears in the July issue of FAIR’s magazine Extra! and can be read here: http://wp.me/p2AI9o-nndy