Since the show's debut on October 7 and through November 29, Fox News' The Kelly File has hosted conservatives significantly more often than progressives and has surpassed even Fox's Hannity in its divide between guests on the left and right.
Megyn Kelly's Primetime Show: Same Old Slanted Fox
The Kelly File Hosted Conservatives Three Times More Often Than Progressives. 56 percent of guests on The Kelly File were conservative, while only 18 percent were progressive.
Four Of The Top Five Guests On The Kelly File Were Conservative. Of the five guests with at least seven appearances in the period studied, four were conservative: Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt (14 appearances), American Enterprise Institute fellow Marc Thiessen (13), talk radio host and Fox News contributor Monica Crowley (7), and Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume (7). The only progressive in the top five was talk radio host Richard Fowler (7).
The Kelly File's Guest List Was More Conservative Than Hannity's. Conservatives on Hannity enjoyed a 2-to-1 advantage over progressives; however, conservatives on The Kelly File had a 3-to-1 advantage. The proportion of conservative guests on The Kelly File was higher than the proportion on Hannity -- 56 percent to 50 percent.
Kelly Claimed That Her Show Would “Balance Out” On Guests And That Fox Is “Fair and Balanced”
Kelly Claimed Partisan Affiliation Of Her Guests “Will All Balance Out And You'll See Both Sides.” On the October 13 edition of Fox's #MediaBuzz, host Howard Kurtz asked Kelly if viewers will “see more Republicans than Democrats” on her show, to which Kelly replied:
KURTZ: What about the counter-notion that maybe as a counterweight that Fox News leans right. Does your show lean right?
KELLY: I don't think that's true. I think what we do at Fox News is fair and balanced broadcasting. And so, you know if you tune in to see my show at 9 pm, you're not going to see the same stories as you see on the front cover of The New York Times necessarily. You know, that's not what we get paid to do, is just follow the marching orders of media that we do believe leans left. That there's plenty of options if people want that. But Fox News gets paid for telling the full story, the complete story, and having both sides of the argument presented in a way.
KURTZ: But will I see more Republicans than Democrats?
KELLY: It depends on the night and the story. You know? I mean, hopefully no, over the course of a week or two, it will all balance out and you'll see both sides. [Fox News, #MediaBuzz, 10/13/13, via Media Matters]
Fox Promo Promised The Kelly File Would “Make Sure The Viewers Hear It Straight.” In a teaser promoting her new show, Kelly File host Megyn Kelly said:
KELLY: My obligation as the host of The Kelly File is to make sure the viewers hear it straight. We are going to have the best guests with the best analysis, and I am there to keep everybody honest. It's the news of the day but with a little heat. [YouTube, 9/26/13]
Kelly Claimed She Would “Present Both Sides Of The View.” As a guest on the October 3 episode of The O'Reilly Factor, Kelly promoted her show as “a news program” that “will present both sides of the view”:
KELLY: It's going to be a live broadcast, and so it's going to be a news program, a breaking news program, not an opinion program. So I'm not going to be the female Bill [O'Reilly].
But I mean I'm not going to be somebody like you what needs to happen with the sequester and showdown. That's not going to be what I'm there for. I will present both sides of the view. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 10/3/13, via LexisNexis]
Media Matters reviewed all transcripts of The Kelly File and Hannity in the Nexis database between October 7 (The Kelly File's debut) and November 29 and recorded all guest appearances. Guests were coded for ideology based on their own self-identification or public affiliation with an openly ideologically organization or media outlet. When ideology was difficult to determine, we coded such guests as neutral.
Chart by Oliver Willis.