America's top newspapers focused their coverage of health care reform on its political implications while largely ignoring its real-world impact in the week before the health care exchanges opened. Those papers have since shifted their focus, with most articles highlighting benefits under the law and enrollment in the exchanges in the week after the Obama administration relaunched the Healthcare.gov website.
In their evening coverage of the December 10 Nelson Mandela memorial service, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC focused a majority of segments on President Obama's handshake with Cuban President Raul Castro and on a "selfie" Obama took with world leaders during the event rather than on the service itself or Mandela's legacy.
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.
On October 28, Fox News devoted more than 47 minutes over the course of 13 total segments to discussing a flawed report by CBS' 60 Minutes on the September 2012 Benghazi attacks.
In the first nine months of 2013, white men dominated the guest lists on the broadcast network Sunday shows and CNN's State of the Union. MSNBC was the only network achieving notable diversity in its guests, particularly on Melissa Harris-Perry's show. Republicans and conservatives are hosted significantly more on the broadcast Sunday shows than Democrats and progressives.
In the first six months of 2013, white men dominated the guest lists on the broadcast network Sunday shows and CNN's State of the Union. MSNBC was the only network achieving notable diversity in its guests, particularly on Melissa Harris-Perry's show. Republicans and conservatives are hosted significantly more on the broadcast Sunday shows than Democrats and progressives.
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.