Cable News Sure Loves Anti-Abortion White Guys

Let’s hear it for the boys.

<a href="">Rommel Canlas</a>/Shutterstock

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Media Matters’ Rachel Larris and Sharon Kann analyzed cable news segments on abortion by 432 individuals and found that from January 1, 2015, to March 6, 2016, 40 percent were by people who identify as anti-abortion. Sixty-two percent of all those who discussed the topic on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC were men, and much of the information across the board was misleading, the media analysis group found. Only 17 percent of the 1,554 appearances on the three networks qualified as pro-choice.

Fox News had the most strongly anti-abortion sentiment in its coverage. Researchers found that the network broadcast 705 inaccurate statements about abortion and only 158 statements that contained accurate information. For example, Fox aired 339 statements that classified David Daleiden’s discredited viral Planned Parenthood sting videos as “undercover journalism” and 336 statements claiming that Planned Parenthood “sells” or “harvests” or “profits” from fetal tissue. There has been no substantiated evidence that Planned Parenthood has been involved in any wrongdoing in its fetal tissue donation program. 

CNN didn’t fare much better—it featured three times more anti-abortion commentators than pro-choice speakers.

Of all the cable outlets, MSNBC featured the most appearances by people who identified as pro-choice or made “pro-choice statements”; 49 percent of appearances on MSNBC were classified this way by Media Matters. Only 6 percent consistently made anti-choice statements or identified themselves as anti-choice.

Out of all this, there was only one appearance on a network by a group advocating reproductive rights for women of color. The November 30 edition of the MSNBC segment All in With Chris Hayes featured Jessica González-Rojas, the executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Nonetheless, according to a survey by the Associated Press and Gfk, a market research institute, American public support for the legal right to an abortion is at its highest in two years.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend