I’m Curious: What Would You Call The Results of This Newsbusters Study In Addition To “Unethical”? (2024)

July 2, 2024 / Jack Marshall

Newsbusters has the results of a study it performed to examine the political orientation of Late Night TV Guests. It isn’t a surprise to me in the least, yet seeing the results still gave me a jolt. As I write this, I am trying to figure out what this obviously intentional practice of the networks and entertainment industry is, exactly. But first, the study…

It tallied the guest appearances on five daily late night comedy shows: ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.The period examined was the nine months from October 2, 2023, to June 27, 2024.

In that period, progressive/Democrat guests outnumbered conservative/Republican guests 137 to 8, or 94% to 6%. If you just count partisan officials, the count was 34 Democrats to 5 Republicans.

Colbert—naturally—had the greatest cumulative discrepancy at 14-1. The Jimmy Kimmel balance count was 7-0. Seth Meyer’s was 3-0, and Jimmy Fallon, who is mostly apolitical (except in his monologues) was 1-0. Jon Stewart’s The Daily Showcame in at 9-4.

In the category of journalists and celebrities, the slant was 104 progressives to 3 conservatives.

Colbert was again the most biased at 34-0. The Daily Showwas second in bias at 29-1. Meyers had a 21-0 progressive imbalance, Fallon’s was 11-1, and Kimmel’s was 7-1. No journalists from conservative publications or platforms were allowed: here are the outlets represented:

1. MSNBC (18)

2. CNN (12)

3. HBO (8)

4. NBC (7)

T5. Comedy Central (6)

T5. CBS (6)

T5. ABC (6)

8. New Yorker (3)

T9. The Atlantic (2)

T9. PBS (2)

T11. Economist (1)

T11. Bloomberg (1)

T11. The Intercept (1)

T11. ESPN (1)

T11. New York Times (1)

T11. ProPublica (1)

Here‘s a breakdown of all the guests. This was the fourth MRC late night guest count study since September 2022. The subsequent 20 months, have seen progressives and Democrats have outnumbered conservatives 283-12. Meanwhile Kimmel and Colbert have hosted fundraising events for President Joe Biden’s re-election.

So what do you call that? Is that healthy for democracy? How much do those stats remind you of Soviet propaganda TV? How much of a thumb—or a fist—on the metaphorical scale of public opinion is harmless? When the news media keeps repeating the Axis mantra that Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” or “stolen” is baseless, are they literally saying that such an ideological monopoly has no effect at all? Do you believe that?

Essentially half the country is being cut out of participation in the popular culture cauldron of late night TV. Not too long ago, Johnny Carson’s monologue on the “Tonight Show” was water cooler conversation for everyone, not just the Official Super-Goodthink Party members. Isn’t this phenomenon divisive? Isn’t it designed to be decisive, and not just divisive, but oppressive and manipulative?

What is this?

  1. One thought that just occurred to me is whether this is a problem of conservatives abdicating their responsibility of providing sufficient counterpoint. This may be a chicken-and-egg situation, but is the lack of conservative guests a matter of conservatives refusing to engage? I can see an argument that says the hostility to conservatives drives conservatives away, but shouldn’t conservatives be willing to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them?

    Reply

    • Off topic, Ryan, but I was just pondering your proposed Rationalization 19D. Isn’t it awfully close to Rationalization 40 A. Otter’s Solution, or “I had to do something!”?

      Michael West is always cautioning me abut slicing the Rationalizations too thin…

      Reply

      • Jack,

        I think you’re right, that the distinction is too small between my proposal and 40A. My initial sticking point was in thinking initially there was something different between the “I had to do something!” and “I’m doing something, and just because it isn’t perfect, it is still all right because we’ll make it perfect eventually.” I was seeing something desperate and forced in the former, and something that could be voluntary, or at least not in response to something demanding action, in the latter. But after mulling it around a bit, I think we could demonstrate each formulation applies to essentially the same unethical actions.

        Reply

        • Oh good. I was updating the list and preparing to add “Ryan’s Rationalization,” and started having second thoughts.

          Reply

  2. What is this? It’s lefty right-think. All these guests are right. Conservatives and Republicans are wrong. Why would anyone want to hear what a conservative or Republican has to say? The people running the networks and the “talent” in front of the cameras all know what’s best. Right one, brother!

    By the way, Mrs. OB worked with Jim Kimmel, Sr. at American Express. Mrs. Kimmel is Italian and has a great sense of humor. Jimmy grew up watching and wanting to be Johnny Carson. So ironic that Johnny Carson, as were essentially all his generation, conservative Republicans. They wanted to make money and amass wealth, after all. And Jimmy and his generation are all limousine Commies, wanting to give everyone else’s wealth away via ever-expanding government programs.

    Reply

  3. They didn’t include Gutfeld! ? Format too different?

    Reply

    • It’s a good point. At very least, the study should have explained that show’s absence. Does Gutfield even have guests? I think leaving that show out can be defended, especially since Newsbusters only covers the “liberal mainstream media.” Still, it looks like the research was designed to make a point—it’s a valid point—rather than to be fair.

      Reply

      • Yes, Gutfeld! does have guests, usually two guests and two co-hosts/recurring hosts (Kat Timpf and Tyrus). In fact, I would suggest that show has more liberal/democrat guests than any of the other shows combined. I am surprised they did not include Bill Maher’s show, either. They openly invite liberals and democrats (including Hillary Clinton) on the show.

        jvb

        Reply

    • I think so.

      Gutfeld has four guests a night. Some are fairly regular. Then, he has a handful of different comedians that rotate in and out (who knows their political views); then you get some other FOX News personalities that come on from time to time; finally, you get an odd one-off guest selling a book or something.

      It is a different format.

      -Jut

      Reply

      • Agreed, it’s more of an informal “panel” show, not all that disconnected from “The View” or “The Talk” or Fox’s own “The Five.”

        I also think it’s a different beast from the animals in the target study.

        Reply

      • They rarely have a leftist guest; even the comedians skew right (or seem to). Don’t know if they just don’t invite many, or if few are willing to do it. They have had Bill Maher, and odd ducks like “Charlamagne tha God”.

        Reply

  4. Is that a statistically responsible survey?

    Wouldn’t it be better to survey who “was invited”? I’d have no doubt it still skews Left, but maybe not as badly?

    Reply

    • I was thinking the same thing, but how much of the guests are kind of self-selecting.

      “We don’t invite conservatives because they always turn us down.”

      “Why would I try to get on Kimmel just to be booed for 15 minutes.”

      -Jut

      Reply

      • Precisely.

        Reply

  5. In keeping with cultural analysis, this is interesting. We really do have a bifurcated society

    SHOCKER: Elites Favor Limiting Voting to College Graduates (dailysignal.com)

    Reply

    • SHOCKER: Elites Favor Limiting Voting to College Graduates

      FF‘sS, does Lefty honestly believe everyone’s as stupid as their base?

      Teens, democrats Continue Push TO LOWER VOTING AGE TO 16

      PWS

      Reply

      • It’s not opposing objectives:

        Lower the age to include a massive amount of people who rely primarily on emotion, haven’t hit the real world, are generally informed by trends and “what’s cool”. The kind of people it is easy to steer towards socialism.

        OR

        Restrict the group to college kids, a massive amount of people who are in extended adolescence, rely primarily on emotion, haven’t hit the real world, are generally informed by trends and “what’s cool”. The kind of people already thoroughly programmed into socialism.

        Reply

      • Lower the voting age to 16. Hey, it worked great for Germany this week…oh wait!

        Reply

    • If we’re in the business of limiting the franchise – let’s limit it to people who have a genuine lasting interest in the well-being of society.

      Only households with children or who have had children get to vote. Each household who meets that condition gets a number of votes equivalent to the number of children they currently have in the home plus their own votes.

      The heads of the household choose which candidates those votes go to.

      Too radical? I can get more radical and start limiting the vote to people who aren’t paid by the government in salaries or receive government aid.

      Reply

      • How about we bring back land ownership as a requirement?

        Reply

      • I always thought that anyone who gets a paycheck from the government shouldn’t have a vote for that government. It is a conflict of interest. So, federal employees shouldn’t vote in federal elections, but should in state and local elections. State employees can vote in federal elections… you get the picture.

        Now the divisive part. If you are getting handouts but aren’t paying taxes, you don’t vote. I’m not talking about people getting disability from their disability insurance, I’m not talking about people collecting Social Security from their lifetime of contributions, I’m talking about someone who lives on welfare and pays not taxes. I’m sorry, you have too much of a conflict of interest and too little participation to be dictating how tax dollars are spent.

        I also think you shouldn’t be allowed to contribute to a political campaign that you can’t vote in.

        Reply

      • Every net $100 paid in taxes is a vote. Mitt Romney was ripped to shreds for alluding that 57% of the population is a non-taxpayer base.

        if some portion of income is sourced from the government, you don’t get a vote unless you have non-government income sources that offset that government pay enough to reach the tax-vote threshold.

        Reply

  6. Even if the survey’s results were off by half, it would still reflect a concerted effort to establish an “ideological monopoly,” to use Jack’s term. I am reminded of the Brietbart quote that “politics is downstream from culture.” These shows seem to me to be just more little cogs in the machine of socialist cultural revolution that is tearing down every institution of Western civilization. Of course, these shows are looking for ratings and are catering to their target audience, which doesn’t include me or my demographic cohort. I literally never watch these shows, except for an occasional clip that reveals some outrageous statement by a host, some ridiculous remark by a guest, or a near-fistfight on the set.As is the case with most entertainers, who knows what they really believe or think (if indeed they do believe in anything other than their wallet or if they are capable of substantive thought).

    Reply

  7. I’d call it what it is: self perpetuating bias.

    Reply

  8. I’d place this longstanding state of affairs in late night shows at the feet of David Letterman. He is an insufferable jerk. A midwestern know-it-all, playing a faux hayseed. He really corrupted the genre. Smarmy and annoying. And in his post TV show years, he’s shown himself to be just plain weird.

    Reply

    • Yes BUT: Letterman had conservative and Republican guests on more frequently than the current crop of propagandists, including Bill O’Reilly.

      Reply

      • I did not know that. I’m sure he rolled his eyes and did his side eye thing with them non-stop.

        Reply

        • I’d say Jay Leno deserves some kudos for sticking to comedy much better than all the other post-Carson hosts. He seemed mostly intent upon getting laughs rather than making political points. Good for him. He stayed in his lane.

          Reply

          • Leno seemed to care more about comedy than the money. He says he still hasn’t touched the money he made from the Tonight Show, he makes enough money from his other comedy endeavors. At one point, they told him to lay off half his Tonight Show staff. He took a pay cut and kept the staff.

            Reply

          • Craig Ferguson. James Corden.

            Reply

            • Have those two stuck to going for laughs? I’ve seen Corden’s people singing in cars shtick. Pretty cute and light-hearted.

              Reply

              • Both of them. And both are long gone from Late Night.

                Reply

  9. It’s worth considering that Newsbusters is run by the Media Research Center, which is the conservative doppleganger of mediamatters. Neither is particularly trustworthy, IMO.

    Reply

    • Do you doubt the stats? I don’t. I mentioned the fact that Colbert never has a Republican on a couple weeks ago, and Professor jdkazoo was shocked to discover that I was right. Newsbusters includes videos and transcripts, and most of the time it is res ipsa loquitur. It’s stated mission is to be a watchdog on progressive mainstream media: that’s transparent, no?

      I used to check Media Matters. It’s so much more dishonest that Newsbusters, and basically only concentrates on Fox News. It’s mission is to try to make sure only one slanted view of events, the Left’s, reached the public. Newsbuster’s mission is to point out just how pervasive and unethical the biased mainstream media is….and it makes a powerful case by just reporting what they see. No, they leave Fox alone. It’s not as if there aren’t enough critics pouncing on Fox New as it is.

      Reply

      • Newsbuster’s mission is to point out just how pervasive and unethical the biased mainstream media is….and it makes a powerful case by just reporting what they see.”

        An (arguably) brilliant occasional EA commentator (whom modesty prevents me from identifying) used to write freelance current events satire for Newsbusters’ NewsBusted segments; little was left to the imagination regarding its ideological affinity.

        PWS

        Reply

      • Do you doubt the stats? I don’t.

        No, I don’t doubt the overall effect of the stats, though there are certainly some unanswered questions about how the values were derived.

        It might be worth considering WHY this phenomenon exists. My theory is that these shows are primarily intended to deliver profits – and over time (in Hanlon’s Razor fashion) the producers of these shows have driven off roughly half of their audiences – specifically, the conservative half. “Water under the bridge,” they might say – “if we know our audience is largely liberal/progressive, (one may rest assured that they know EXACTLY that] then it pays to reward them with comedy that reinforces, rather than challenges, their beliefs.” In other words, they’re making the exact same mistake that many news outlets did.

        Meantime, in the late night comedy slot (actually a bit earlier in the evening), Greg Gutfeld is out-drawing ALL of them when it comes to audience size. Part of that is probably due to the fact that it’s on Fox, Fox’s audience is conservative, and his show isn’t the usual parade of whiny liberal guests and pontificators.

        I suspect that another reason is that the show’s format so so different from all the other late-night shows, which basically use the same format used by Steve Allen and Jack Paar back in the late 1950s.

        Reply

        • Ironically, Gutfeld may have the most diverse regular sidekick set…a libertarian woman, and a hulking black guy. Maybe they could get side gigs as “the married couple” in American TV ads.

          Reply

  10. Media bias is nothing new. The media has always been biased. Even going back to colonial times publications backed one side of an issue or another. This premise is detailed in an article from the Colonial Williamsburg organization.

    Early American Newspapering

    “Prior to the Revolution, newspapers existed primarily to inform people of what was going on in the rest of the world,” Humphrey said. “The Revolution changed the focus to events in the other colonies.”

    Daily publication began in the 1780s, just as the new American republic emerged. There were about 100 newspapers by 1790, many of them were spirited, and some were great annoyances to men in high positions. It was a time of enormous press freedom, a freedom exercised frequently in behalf of the Federalist or Republican parties, which subsidized their own publications. Humphrey said, “Many newspapers in the 1790s were intended to accept a particular political party.” Two examples are the Gazette of the United States for the Hamiltonian Federalists; the National Gazette for the Jeffersonian Republicans. “Their editors believed that they should support their particular party in all that they did,” she noted, “so they wrote essays in support of their party and included editorial comments in the news pieces that either supported their party or attacked the opposition.”

    An interesting article from the Hoover Institute suggests an increased shift to the left by the media and a cause for the shift.

    A Brief History of Media Bias

    “This unsavory relationship between the media and the Democrats has long existed, but the political career of Barack Obama marks a quantum leap beyond the media’s traditional liberal preferences and biases––which in the past had at least a patina of objectivity and neutrality––to blatant advocacy, double standards, and explicit partisan hatred.”

    “Once reporters started coming out of colleges and universities, however, they were shaped by the leftist perspective of those institutions. These perspectives, once marginal in American public discourse, became increasingly prominent in the press and television news shows.”

    Given these observations and those highlighted by Jack’s post, what’s a critical-thinking person to do? I read the NY Times, the NY Post, and Reuters Business. I also tend to do additional research as I reference in this post to construct something resembling the truth. I don’t watch any of the shows referenced, nor do I consume cable news shows. The process is time-consuming and laborious. All of this has led me to believe that the average voter does not know what the hell is going on. They have no factual basis for their beliefs. Politicians in turn exploit this ignorance and appeal to voter’s emotions. Consequently, solutions to our country’s real problems are never addressed. That is why we have to choose between two unqualified presidential candidate this year. Welcome to the cluster f*ck called America in 2024.

    Reply

    • I find it boundlessly amusing that the media hold themselves in such high regard. Doesn’t anyone remember yellow journalism? Haven’t any of them seen “Citizen Kaine?” Haven’t any of them visited the Hearst Castle? The whole World War Two generation, Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, et al. created the false veneer of respectability in the news business. Dan Rather pulled that down around everyone’s heads. They are all just ink-stained wretches and always have been. Their relentless pose as the protectors of democracy is preposterous. “Just ignore the man behind the curtain.”

      Reply

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