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Cable news is a battle ground for partisans, but the hosts and anchors at the country’s big three networks — Fox News, MSNBC and CNN — are far less likely to belong to political parties than their commentary might suggest.
According to a Hollywood Reporter review of publicly available voter registration and election data, a relative majority (or plurality) of cable news hosts and anchors are actually undeclared (45 percent). Among those who identified a political party association, 16 percent are registered as Republicans; 16 percent are registered as Democrats; 4 percent are members of the Conservative Party; and 3 percent are members of the Independence Party — though their actual ballot choices are unknown. Nearly 16 percent of this group of 74 hosts and anchors are not registered to vote.
Among Fox News hosts and anchors, 39 percent are Republicans or Conservatives, with the only three registered Democrats being The Five co-host Juan Williams, Sunday morning news host Chris Wallace and right-leaning opinion host Tucker Carlson, likely due to the dominance of the Democratic Party in Washington, D.C., where he lives.
Despite the perception of MSNBC as a bastion of liberalism, only 26 percent of the network’s hosts and anchors are registered as Democrats, though five of the nine who are undeclared were once registered as Democrats, according to a LexisNexis database search. The network’s two registered Republican hosts/anchors are former George W. Bush press secretary Nicole Wallace, a fierce critic of President Donald Trump, and weekend host Alex Witt.
Among the network’s primetime lineup, Chris Hayes (a Democrat) and Rachel Maddow are registered to vote, while Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell do not appear to be — though Matthews has been a registered Democrat.
In the same vein, only three CNN hosts/anchors are registered Democrats, according to recent voting data: Alisyn Camerota, Van Jones and Victor Blackwell. Some 70 percent are undeclared, while only one — weekend host S.E. Cupp — is a registered Republican. The network’s primetime lineup is entirely undeclared, though Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo have all previously been registered as Democrats. Don Lemon was registered as a Republican as recently as 1990.
True to the way the network markets them, Fox News news-side anchors Shepard Smith, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum are undeclared, though Shannon Bream and Neil Cavuto are registered as Republicans.
Among network leadership, CNN president Jeff Zucker is a member of the Independence Party; MSNBC president Phil Griffin is a registered Democrat; and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott has not declared a party, per a LexisNexis search.
The broadcast evening news anchors mirror their cable news anchor counterparts: NBC’s Lester Holt, ABC’s David Muir and CBS’ Norah O’Donnell are all politically undeclared, though Holt has been a Republican in the past and Muir has been a Democrat.
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