Our recent report on diversity on evening cable news produced an unexpected finding that raised eyebrows here at Media Matters: According to our results, Fox News' Hannity was the third most ethnically diverse show, sandwiched closely between MSNBC's Politics Nation with Al Sharpton and CNN's Erin Burnett Outfront. But a closer look at the figures shows that this apparent diversity was largely due to the impact of a single Hannity episode devoted to black conservatives who oppose President Obama.
Hannity's guests for April of this year were 30 percent non-white, in stark contrast to the rest of Fox's evening programming, which is dominated by white guests: Special Report with Bret Baier (7 percent of guests were non-white), The O'Reilly Factor (11 percent), and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (9 percent).
Hannity's apparent greater diversity, though, can largely be attributed to the April 8 episode where host Sean Hannity aired, in his own words, a "very special studio audience edition of Hannity" that was comprised entirely of "a very distinguished group of African-American conservatives."
In all, 22 of Hannity's 58 non-white guests during the month of April were featured on this single show. That represents 38 percent of Hannity's non-white guests and 50 percent of Hannity's African-American guests.
To put into perspective just how truly unusual this April 8 episode was for Hannity, we can look at numbers for a typical show. Excluding the April 8 outlier, the average Hannity show hosted approximately 7 white guests and just a single non-white guest. That puts the numbers much closer to those of the other Fox programs studied.
Tune in to any cable news network in the evening hours and chances are that, no matter the topic, you'll be watching a white guy. Our recent study of diversity on 13 evening cable news shows revealed that white men were hosted 58 percent of the time during April 2013. And this is as true today as it was five years ago.
Back in 2008, we conducted a similar study of evening cable news shows for the month of May, and we found nearly identical results.
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.
In the first three months of 2013, the broadcast networks' Sunday morning talk shows once again skewed strongly to the right and featured a startling lack of diversity among guests.
For better or worse, these shows -- ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press, and Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday -- occupy an elevated space in the national political discussion. This is where influential people -- like senators, representatives, presidential administration officials, Fortune 500 chief executives, and leaders of prominent non-profit organizations, for example -- get to set the terms of debate and frame the issues of the week. The shows enjoy considerably high ratings as well -- approximately 10 million weekly viewers collectively, according to recent numbers from TV Newser.
With that in mind, who the broadcast Sunday shows invite on as guests has significant implications for how discussions on major issues are framed. And once again, Republicans and conservatives have an edge over Democrats and progressives on these programs.
The four broadcast networks' Sunday morning political talk shows guests skewed right during the first quarter of 2013. MSNBC's two Sunday programs featured far greater gender and ethnic diversity in its guests than the broadcast programs and CNN's Sunday morning political talk show.
Fox News covered this week's tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq the least of the three major cable networks. MSNBC provided more coverage than Fox and CNN combined.
From March 18 through March 20, MSNBC devoted more than four and a half hours of coverage to the Iraq anniversary. CNN spent 2 hours and five minutes on the story, while Fox News covered it for only an hour and twenty one minutes.
This study is a tally of the raw volume of Iraq anniversary coverage and did not take into account the quality of the content.
For example, Fox News segments included in the study include one in which an anchor questioned criticism of the media's coverage of the Bush administration's case for war, and another in which a Fox host declared the invasion "the smartest thing George Bush did."
While much of MSNBC's coverage was focused on the heavy toll of the war, segments like Morning Joe's report falsely claiming Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) originally supported the invasion (and co-host Joe Scarborough's subsequent apology for doing so) were also counted.
After being sold on faulty pretenses, according to a recent Brown University study, the war in Iraq cost the lives of 4,488 U.S. service members, at least 3,400 U.S. contractors, and an estimated 134,000 Iraqi civilians. (The study clarifies that the estimate for civilian deaths "does not account for indirect deaths due to increased vulnerability to disease or injury as a result of war-degraded conditions. That number is estimated to be several times higher.")
The Brown University study estimates the war "will cost the U.S. $2.2 trillion, including substantial costs for veterans care through 2053, far exceeding the initial government estimate of $50 to $60 billion."
Media Matters searched raw video for any variation of "Iraq" on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC's all-day news programming (from 6 a.m. through 11 p.m.) for the day before, of, and after the Iraq War's 10th anniversary, March 18 through 20, 2013. We did not include repeats of programs; for instance, even through MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews airs at both 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., we only included the 5 p.m. broadcast. We included and timed any teasers, promos, news briefs, news packages, and full segments on the Iraq war anniversary as well as any relevant parts of interviews and panels discussing the Iraq war. We did not including any passing mentions of the Iraq war made in segments on other topics, such as the frequent invoking of the Iraq war during segments about the recent allegations of chemical weapon use in Syria.
Oliver Willis contributed research to this report.
MSNBC is giving Chris Hayes the network's 8 p.m. primetime weekday slot beginning in April. Hayes' current program, Up with Chris Hayes, has provided a beacon of diversity compared to the Sunday morning political talk shows on other major broadcast and cable networks, which overwhelmingly feature white men.
The Sunday morning edition of Up with Chris Hayes, which runs from 8 to 10 a.m., is currently more diverse than any of the Sunday morning talk shows on the other networks, as a Media Matters examination of guests since January 1 demonstrates. Most tellingly, white men make up 41 percent of total guests on Up with Chris Hayes (according to data from the U.S. Census, white men make up roughly 31 percent* of the U.S. population). In contrast, CBS' Face the Nation, Fox's Fox News Sunday, NBC's Meet the Press, CNN's State of the Union, and ABC's This Week host white men 66 percent, 64 percent, 64 percent, 67 percent, and 61 percent of the time, respectively.
Further, Up with Chris Hayes has more than double the proportion of African-American guests -- 21 percent -- as compared to each of the other programs. In all, 34 percent of guests on Up with Chris Hayes are non-white. Hayes also hosts more women -- 37 percent -- than any of the other networks' shows.
*This report originally stated that white men represented 39 percent of the U.S. general population. The correct figure is 31 percent. Media Matters regrets the error.
Broadcast and cable news networks have largely ignored a new report which concluded that the United States' rebuilding efforts in Iraq squandered billions of dollars due to widespread fraud, abuse, and waste.
Last week, Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, released a report concluding that of the $60 billion the U.S. has spent on reconstruction projects in Iraq following the 2003 invasion, at least $8 billion of it was "wasted."
In the five days since its release, only PBS and MSNBC have offered substantial coverage of the report.
NBC, ABC, and CBS have all ignored it during their evening newscasts (though it warranted passing mention on NBC's Today, the other networks' morning news programs also ignored the findings). Fox News' Bret Baier gave the story less than twenty seconds of coverage during Special Report.
CNN has completely ignored the report.
Though NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, and CNN have devoted a combined thirty five seconds to the story, PBS and MSNBC have each spent more than ten minutes discussing the report and its conclusions.
Bill O'Reilly's annual fight against the manufactured "War on Christmas" has become a revered holiday tradition over at Fox News. Just like last year, in December O'Reilly has spent more time on his show discussing the "War on Christmas" than actual military conflicts. As usual, events O'Reilly identified as a unified "War on Christmas" were almost always isolated incidents from around the country, usually pertaining to concerns over separation of church and state or efforts to make holiday celebrations more inclusive.
For example, for the second consecutive year, O'Reilly made a fuss over Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee's decision to call the tree in their statehouse a "holiday tree" instead of a "Christmas tree," going so far as to dispatch O'Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters to interview people on the streets of New York about it.
When Watters asked a young couple whether they'd heard of the War on Christmas, they simply responded, "No." Watters looked puzzled. "No, you haven't heard of the War on Christmas?" That's probably because the Grinch here is entirely O'Reilly's making. Here's a brief sample of O'Reilly's never-ending war on the War on Christmas:
For the second straight year, The O'Reilly Factor has devoted more than three times as much airtime to the manufactured "War on Christmas" than to actual military conflicts.