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REPORT: Diversity On Evening Cable News In 13 Charts

A review of guests on 13 evening cable news shows on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC during the month of April 2013 reveals that these networks overwhelmingly host male and white guests.

  • Evening Cable News Guests Were Overwhelmingly White And Male

    Men Dominated Guest List On Cable News. Out of 1,677 total guests, CNN had the largest proportion of men -- 76 percent -- during the month of April. Women did not make up more than 33 percent of guests on any network.

    White Guests Hosted Most Often On Cable News. Fox News had the largest proportion of white guests -- 83 percent. African-Americans were the largest non-white group on all networks, representing 19 percent, 10 percent, and 5 percent of guests on MSNBC, Fox, and CNN, respectively.

    Cable News Guests Were Largely White Men. According to the most recent U.S. Census data, white men make up only 31 percent of the U.S. population. On evening cable news, they represented a much larger percentage of guests -- 62 percent of guests on CNN, 60 percent on Fox, and 54 percent on MSNBC.

    White Men Were Vastly Overrepresented On Cable News. While white men enjoyed representation on cable that was nearly double that of their representation in the U.S. population, white women, who represent 32 percent of the population, were only 21 percent of guests on cable. Non-white women fared even worse. While they make up 19 percent of the population, they were only 8 percent of all guests on cable. Non-white men were also underrepresented; only 13 percent of guests on cable were non-white men while they make up 18 percent of the population.

    CNN's Guest Lineup Was Primarily White And Male

    Erin Burnett Outfront Hosted The Smallest Proportion Of Women On CNN. Out of 109 on Outfront guests during the month of April, 81 percent were men. No evening show on CNN hosted women more than 29 percent of the time.


    Piers Morgan Live Guest Lineup Was 91 Percent White. CNN's most ethnically diverse show was Outfront, which still hosted white guests 71 percent of the time. Similar to The Situation Room, the higher proportion of non-white guests on Outfront can be attributed in part to a couple of regular commentators: CNN correspondents Christiane Amanpour and Fareed Zakaria on The Situation Room and conservative political commentator Reihan Salam and political comedian Dean Obeidallah on Outfront.


    White Men Dominated CNN's Evening News. Every evening CNN show studied hosted white men significantly more often than all other guests combined. Piers Morgan Live was the worst offender with 66 percent of its guest lineup being white men.


    Fox News Hosted The Largest Proportion Of White Guests

    On The Record Hosted The Smallest Proportion Of Women On Any Evening Cable News Show. Out of 128 On the Record guests in April, only 22 were women, representing the smallest proportion of women on any evening cable news show studied. The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity hosted women more often than On the Record or Special Report with Bret Baier; however, men still dominated guest lineups at 64 and 66 percent, respectively.

    89 Percent Or More Of Guests On Three Fox News Evening Shows Were White. Special ReportThe O'Reilly Factor, and On the Record all hosted white guests near or above 90 percent of the time -- Special Report had the largest proportion of white guests at 93 percent. Hannity's ethnic diversity was better in comparison; however, a large portion of that program's diversity came from a single episode when Hannity hosted 22 of its 58 non-white guests.


    On The Record's Proportion Of White Men Larger Than Any Other Show Studied. On the Record hosted white men an astounding 77 percent of the time -- much more than twice the proportion of white men in U.S. Census data. Hannity was the only Fox show to host white men less than all other guests combined.


    MSNBC Led Evening Cable In Diversity But Was Still Largely White And Male

    MSNBC Overall Hosted More Women Than The Other NetworksAll In with Chris Hayes and The Rachel Maddow Show had a higher proportion of women than any of the other programs included in this study. By contrast, Hardball with Chris Matthews hosted women only 21 percent of the time.

    The Rachel Maddow Show Was Least Ethnically Diverse. Although The Rachel Maddow Show hosted fewer guests than other shows on MSNBC, those who were invited were most likely to be white. Out of 65 total guests, only 7 were non-white.

    All In With Chris Hayes Was The Most Diverse Show In Evening Cable News. All In had both the largest proportion of women and the largest proportion of non-white guests -- both 41 percent. All In also had the lowest proportion of white men -- again 41 percent. Hayes' show was the only evening cable news program to obtain such diversity.


    Media Matters recorded all guests who appeared during evening cable news programming on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC for the month of April 2013. We reviewed raw video of all news shows airing between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    While CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer begins at 5 p.m., we only included guests appearing after 6 p.m. We included the 7 p.m. rebroadcast of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews instead of its initial 5 p.m. broadcast. We excluded Fox News' Fox Report with Shepard Smith since the show's format is primarily straight news with hardly any guests at all. This is in contrast to Special Report with Bret Baier, another Fox show that is primarily straight news, because Special Report has a regular guest panel at the end of every broadcast. MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell only airs Monday through Thursday; all other shows air Monday through Friday.

    We did not count news correspondents providing updates to ongoing stories or presenting prerecorded news packages. We did not count any individuals briefly clipped during prerecorded news packages; however, we did count prerecorded interviewees as guests. Guests who appeared in multiple segments during a news show were only counted once for that show and date. Foreign nationals were excluded from the results.

    For guests who appeared during a phone interview and were otherwise unidentifiable and for the few guests where we were unsure of ethnicity, we omitted them from the data.

    Figures on population come from the U.S. Census population estimates, the most recent of which is July 2011.