Late Night DNC: 94 Percent of Late Night Guests Are Liberal

July 2nd, 2024 10:00 AM

In the nine months since the end of the writers’ strike, the late night comedy shows have remained remarkably consistent, as a NewsBusters study determined 94 percent of their political guests have been liberal. 

The end of the strike coincided with the start of the 2024 presidential election campaign and MRC analysts found that in the nine months from October 2, 2023, to June 27, 2024, liberal guests outnumbered conservative guests by a count of 137 to 8. 

The study looked at the 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

Here is a video from NewsBusters media editor Bill D'Agostino highlighting some of the crazier things said by late night guests.



MRC analysts also divided the guests into two categories: partisan officials and then journalists and celebrities.

When it came to partisan officials, the count was 34 Democrats to 5 Republicans.

Colbert led with the greatest cumulative discrepancy at 14-1. Kimmel’s count was 7-0, Meyer’s was 3-0, and Fallon’s was 1-0. The Daily Show came in at 9-4.

In his return to The Daily Show, Jon Stewart’s politician count has actually been two Republicans versus one Democrat over 17 episodes. However, one of those two was former RNC chairman and current co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Frank Fahrenkopf, who was on to react to Presidents Trump and Biden cutting the Commission out of the 2024 debate cycle. The other was former Rep. Ken Buck.

The other two Daily Show Republicans were Rep. Nancy Mace and former presidential candidate Nikki Haley. Colbert’s lone Republican was former Rep. Liz Cheney, who, unlike former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, actually managed to still sound like a Republican at times.

On the Democratic side, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jasmine Crockett, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Obama staffers turned Pod Save America podcasters Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor all appeared twice.

For journalists and celebrities, the results were 104 liberals to 3 conservatives.

Again, Colbert was the most tilted with a tally of 34-0. The Daily Show came in second at 29-1, while Meyers’s came in at 21-0, Fallon’s was 11-1, and Kimmel’s was 7-1. Stewart’s journalist and celebrity count has been 12-0.

The definition of a conservative could be just anybody who was not a liberal for a moment. The three men were comedian Bill Burr, Dr. Phil, and author Jonathan Haidt, who appeared on Kimmel, Fallon, and The Daily Show, hosted by Jordan Klepper, respectively.

When it came to journalists and media figures, the outlets represented were naturally all liberal:

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)

Fellow late night comedian John Oliver of HBO was the most frequent guest, with seven appearances. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Meyers himself, CBS’s Gayle King, and CNN’s Jake Tapper each appeared three times. Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, Willie Geist, and Rachel Maddow, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, The Daily Show’s Ronny Chieng, CBS’s John Dickerson, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, historian Yuval Noah Harari, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, and PBS’s Christiane Amanpour each appeared twice.

A complete breakdown can be found here.

This was the fourth MRC late night guest count study since September 2022, and over the course of the subsequent 20 months, liberals and Democrats have outnumbered conservatives 283-12, or 96 percent liberal, and comes as Kimmel and Colbert have hosted fundraising events for President Joe Biden’s re-election. Kathryn Hahn, who performed at the Kimmel-Biden fundraiser, will also guest host Jimmy Kimmel Live! from July 8-10.

Notes and Methodology: The study ran from October 2 through June 27. Journalists were defined as either liberal or conservative, regardless of the segment’s subject matter. A celebrity was defined as either a current late night host if that host was on to be interviewed, political activist, or anyone famous who discussed politics or a religious project. If a celebrity is known to have strong political beliefs, but did not discuss them, they were not included.

People who were partisan officials (i.e. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Adam Kinzinger, and Jen Psaki), but who now have other jobs are counted as celebrities and journalists, with the exception of the cast of Pod Save America because they have their own, unaffiliated show. Guests were labeled based on what they said rather than any label typically associated with them. Therefore, Schwarzenegger, Cassidy Hutchinson, and Kinzinger are considered to be liberals or Democrats, while Liz Cheney, Jonathan Haidt, Bill Burr, and Dr. Phil are considered conservatives or Republicans.

A politician was defined as any currently or previously elected American office holder, White House staffer, cabinet secretary, their spouse, or any of their children who were on to discuss political matters.