Research/Study Research/Study

STUDY: What Voices Were Heard On Cable News Following The Orlando Shooting

Media Matters reviewed the diversity of guest appearances featured in cable news coverage the day after the deadly June 12 Orlando, FL, attack on an LGBT nightclub. Of the three cable networks, Fox News hosted a substantially lower percentage of LGBT guests. Although MSNBC and CNN did give considerable air time to LGBT voices, none of the three networks hosted a significant number of Hispanic or Muslim guests. 

  • All Three Cable Networks Extensively Covered the Mass Shooting In Orlando

    A Deadly Mass Shooting At An Orlando LGBT Club’s Latin Night Resulted In 49 Fatalities and Over 50 Injured. In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, a shooter who declared allegiance to ISIS walked into Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, FL, hosting a Latin Night, with an assault weapon and handgun and began firing as the bar was about to close, killing 49 people and injuring over 50 others, many of whom were Hispanic. [The Washington Post, 6/20/16]

    Media Matters Reviewed The Diversity Of Cable News Coverage The Day After The Mass Shooting. Media Matters analyzed guest appearances on CNN, FOX, and MSNBC on June 13, the day after the attack, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Media Matters coded for Hispanic, LGBT, and Muslim guests to gauge representation of these affected communities on the cable networks, counting Hispanic guests who identify as LGBT in both categories. 

    Fox Significantly Underrepresented LGBT Voices, And None Of The Networks Featured Many Hispanic Or Muslim Guests

    In cable news coverage of the Orlando shooting, CNN hosted 101 guests, Fox hosted 80 guests, and MSNBC hosted 73 guests between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. on June 13. 

    Fox News Coverage Of Orlando Massacre Included Scant LGBT Voices And Lacked Diversity Overall. Fox featured only three LGBT people as guests while covering the shooting, which was not only the lowest percentage out of the three networks (4 percent of the total guests), but also the lowest raw score for all three groups -- Hispanic, LGBT, and Muslim -- among all three networks.

    MSNBC Featured The Highest Percentage of LGBT and Hispanic Guests. MSNBC provided the most representation of Hispanic and LGBT voices, hosting the highest percentage of Hispanic (12 percent, nine in total) and LGBT (29 percent, 21 in total) guests out of the three networks.

    CNN Featured The Most Muslim Guests But Failed To Include Many Hispanic Voices. Seven of CNN’s guests identify as Muslim (7 percent of total), while Fox and MSNBC each hosted four Muslim guests. There were six Hispanic guests (6 percent of total) featured on CNN. 

    Guests Representing Intersectional Communities Were Underrepresented Across All Three Networks. Fox News did not feature a single Hispanic guest who openly identifies as LGBT. CNN and MSNBC both featured several openly LGBT Hispanic guests (four and six, respectively), but both networks hosted more than twice as many non-Hispanic LGBT guests as Hispanic LGBT guests. None of the networks hosted a Muslim guest who openly identifies as LGBT. 


    Media Matters used Nexis and Snapstream to search for all guests appearing on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. on June 13, 2016, in segments where the stated topic of discussion was the June 12, 2016, Orlando, FL, massacre. Network anchors, like Fareed Zakaria, who appeared as a guest on a program that they did not anchor were coded as guests in the analysis. Network analysts were also included as guests. Network correspondents were not counted as guests. Pre-taped interviews where there was no significant dialogue between the reporter and guest were excluded from the analysis. Reruns of interviews from previous programming were excluded from the analysis. Guest appearances were coded for whether the guests are Hispanic and whether they self-identified as Muslim and/or LGBT, either on the segment or prominently elsewhere in the media. Guests were counted per segment appearance. Survivors who were brought on as guests were included in the analysis.