Media Matters did a survey of the three major cable networks: CNN, Fox, and MSNBC and discovered that only 9% of the guests on shows about education 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.


Furthermore, 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.


The survey covered the period from January 1, 2014, to October 31, 2014.


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.