Last week, we sent a survey to several dozen cable news hosts from Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, hoping to gain insight into how insiders view their own colleagues and competitors.
While guaranteeing complete anonymity, we asked them to name one colleague for each of the following 10 categories: Best and Worst Hosts, Fox; Best and Worst Hosts, CNN; Best and Worst Hosts, MSNBC; Best and Worst Guests, Overall; and Best and Worst TV Reporters, Overall.
So when it came to the latter four categories (guests and reporters), how did our surveyed cable newsers vote?
As you might expect, the “best” selections were quite splintered, likely a reflection of each voter’s loyalty to their own network. However, the surveyed group’s selection for “worst” reporter transcended network lines, with two clear winners emerging.
Take a look below:
There was no clear majority here, but several big names received a plurality of votes: Ann Coulter, Ben Carson, and Marc Lamont Hill.
In trying to figure out why those three received more votes than any other names, we decided on this possible (and sort-of obvious) explanation: Hosts like guests who have something to say — controversial or insightful — because they boost ratings.
Whenever Coulter emerges from self-imposed media breaks, she’s always a hot commodity for bookers looking to get some attention for their show; Hill is a full-time contributor at CNN, but you can always guarantee he’ll be forthright and sometimes controversial in his assessment of news; and Carson has a propensity to make headline-generating, Godwin’s law-invoking statements. All of those make for better Nielsen scores.
A plethora of other interesting TV guests received single votes, including Charles Barkley, Gov. Chris Christie (who rarely goes on cable anymore), and Mike Barnicle.
There was no clear “winner” here. No one received anything resembling a majority or a plurality.
One interesting note before we reveal who did get votes: One of the surveyed hosts wrote “Any liberal” for this category. Hmmm… do you think it’s the same voter who wrote “None” for “Best Host, MSNBC,” and “All of them” for “Worst Host, MSNBC“? We’ll let you decide.
Among those who received votes from hosts in this category: Fox’s Geraldo Rivera, CNN’s Stephanie Cutter, NBC’s Donny Deutsch, and Fox’s Jesse Watters (more on him in a bit).
No individual received more than a single vote, indicating that perhaps bad bookings are in the eye of the beholder.
[Image via Shutterstock]
As expected, this category fell neatly down network lines: CNNers likely voted for CNN reporters, Fox Newsers for Fox reporters, etc.
While there’s no clear majority or plurality winner, a handful of reporters received multiple votes from their peers: Fox’s Jennifer Griffin, CNN’s Dana Bash, and MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin.
This was the only category among the four on this page that had clear “winners”: Fox’s crack ambush reporter Jesse Watters and MSNBC’s bro-reporter Luke Russert.
The pair almost split a majority of the votes, with Watters receiving two more votes than his counterpart. Flashback: These two placed first and second in our report on “The 6 Biggest Dudebros in Cable News“.
As for why so many across all three networks felt these two were the worst? Well, it seems rather obvious for Watters: He’s become a go-to symbol of cable news shit-eating grins and highly-paid trolling. Russert, on the other hand, has long taken heat from media types for: A) being a product of alleged nepotism; and B) having a title far beyond his years while delivering supremely milquetoast analysis.
Want to see how our anonymous cable news hosts voted about MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News? Check out the links below:
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]