REPORT: Only 9 Percent Of Guests Discussing Education On Evening Cable News Were Educators

››› ››› HILARY TONE, LIS POWER & JESSICA TORRES

Media Matters conducted an analysis of education coverage on weeknight cable news programs so far in 2014 to determine how many of the shows' guests who discussed the topic were educators. The analysis found that across MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN, educators made up only 9 percent of guests during education segments.

Only 9 Percent Of Guests In Education Segments Were Educators

Across MSNBC, CNN, And Fox, Only 9 Percent Of Guests In Education Segments Were Educators. On segments in which there was a substantial discussion of domestic education policy between January 1, 2014, and October 31, 2014, there were 185 guests total on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, only 16 of whom were educators, or 9 percent:

Cable News Average Chart

On CNN, Educators Made Up 4 Percent Of Guests In Education Segments. CNN hosted 27 total guests in education segments. Twenty-six were non-educators, and only one was an educator, or 4 percent.

On Fox News, Educators Made Up 5 Percent Of Guests In Education Segments. Fox News hosted 81 total guests in education segments. Seventy-seven were non-educators, and only four were educators, or 5 percent.

On MSNBC, Educators Made Up 14 Percent Of Guests In Education Segments. MSNBC hosted 77 total guests in education segments. Sixty-six were non-educators, and only 11 were educators, or 14 percent.

Cable News Breakdown Chart

MSNBC Was The Only Network Above The Average. MSNBC, at 14 percent, was the only network above the average of 9 percent, while CNN and Fox were behind at 4 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

Cable News Educator Guest Percentage

Methodology

Media Matters conducted a Nexis search of transcripts for programs that aired from 5 p.m. through 11 p.m. on weeknights on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News from January 1, 2014, through October 31, 2014. We identified and reviewed all segments that included at least five mentions of any of the following keywords: school!, teach!, educat!, and Common Core. 

The following programs were included in the data: The Situation Room, Erin Burnett OutFront, Crossfire, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Tonight, The Ed Show, PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Hardball with Chris Matthews, All In with Chris Hayes, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, The Five, Special Report with Bret Baier, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, The O'Reilly Factor, The Kelly File, and Hannity. For shows that air reruns, only the first airing was included in data retrieval.

Media Matters only included segments that had substantial discussion of domestic education policy issues, including but not limited to: education reform, teacher tenure, early education, guns in schools, the Common Core educational standards, religion in schools, and school choice. We included each segment where education policy was the stated topic of discussion. We also included segments that were not limited solely to education but that featured significant discussion of the topic. We defined significant discussion as at least two speakers in the segment talking about education to one another (e.g. the host asking a guest a question about education during a multi-topic interview).

We defined an "educator" as someone who either is or has been employed as a K-12 teacher, a school administrator such as a principal, a professor of education at the college or university level, or someone with an advanced degree (master's or Ph.D.) in education.

We counted all guests who appeared in relevant segments, using bios, profiles, resumes, and news stories available online to determine as best we could each guest's educational background and professional experience.

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