In most professions, one needs to at least have an educational background, if not a degree, in that chosen profession. However that doesn’t seem to apply to those who work in the highest seats of broadcast journalism.
For some, nepotism and/or sexual favoritism didn’t hurt either.
How dare anyone challenge the credibility of the professional media! In fact, not only do they enjoy 1st Amendment protection from political retribution, but it appears the media also believes they have a 1st Amendment right to be heard and believed by the public.
I think it’s dangerous. We’re in a dangerous phase right now, where too many millions of Americans aren’t listening at all to what the press tells them.
— Megyn Kelly
This not a laughing matter. I’m sorry, delegitimizing the press is unAmerican. Press bashing may feel good to folks but when it’s done by people in power, it’s corrosive. Take off your partisan hats for a second.
— Chuck Todd
How the irony oozes with these people.
While there are many thousands of real journalists who received legitimate training (don’t rule out the well-documented liberal indoctrination in academia), it appears political science majors are enough for those who are raking in big bucks to steer partisan narratives, while having little-to-no formal journalism training, worked for politicians, or had the right door-opening relative.
Chuck Todd • NBC News
Todd attended George Washington University from 1990 to 1994. He majored in political science and minored in music, but never graduated. Todd earned practical political experience on initiative campaigns in Florida and various national campaigns based in Washington, D.C. While in college, Todd worked for the 1992 presidential campaign of Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
Anderson Cooper • CNN
Cooper was born in New York City, the younger son of the writer Wyatt Emory Cooper and the artist, fashion designer, writer, and heiress Gloria Vanderbilt. Cooper attended Yale University, where he resided in Trumbull College, and was inducted into the Manuscript Society, majoring in political science and graduated with a B.A. in 1989.
Martha MacCallum • Fox News
MacCallum earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from St. Lawrence University and also studied at the Circle in the Square Theatre School, founding the Miranda Theater Company in New York. MacCallum next worked as an associate in corporate relations at Dow Jones & Company.
Katy Tur • NBC News
Tur is the daughter of journalists Hanna Zoey Tur (formerly Robert “Bob” Tur) and Marika Gerrard. She graduated from Brentwood School in 2001, and from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2005 with a BA in Philosophy.
Rachel Maddow • MSNBC
Maddow earned a degree in public policy at Stanford in 1994. At graduation, she was awarded the John Gardner Fellowship. She was also the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship and began her postgraduate study in 1995 at Lincoln College, Oxford. This made her the first openly gay or lesbian American to win an international Rhodes Scholarship. In 2001, she earned a Doctor of Philosophy in politics at the University of Oxford.
Norah O’Donnell • CBS News
O’Donnell holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and a master’s degree in liberal studies from Georgetown University.
Ashleigh Banfield • CNN
Banfield obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and French from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, in 1988 and continued her studies in French at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, British Columbia, graduating in 1992.
Chelsea Clinton • NBC News
Clinton obtained a B.A. degree in history, with highest honors, at Stanford in 2001. In the spring of 2010, Clinton completed a Master of Science in Public Health degree at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.
In November 2011, NBC announced that they had hired Clinton as a special correspondent. One of her roles was reporting feature stories about “Making a Difference” for NBC Nightly News and Rock Center with Brian Williams. It was a three-month contract and allowed her to concurrently continue working for the Clinton Foundation and pursue her education. Clinton’s first appearance was on the December 12, 2011, episode of Rock Center. Although she received some negative critical reviews for her work, Clinton’s contract with NBC was renewed in February 2012. Rock Center ended in May 2013, and she left the network in August 2014. Clinton reportedly earned an annual salary of $600,000 for her work at NBC.
Amy Goodman • Democracy Now!
Goodman graduated from Radcliffe College in 1984, with a degree in anthropology. Goodman spent a year studying at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Chris Matthews • MSNBC
Matthews is a 1967 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and did graduate work in Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Matthews was also a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.
Matthews served on the staffs of four Democrat Members of Congress, including Senators Frank Moss and Edmund Muskie. In 1974, Matthews mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in which he received about 24% of the vote in the primary. Matthews was a presidential speechwriter during the Carter Administration, and later worked for six years as Chief of Staff to longtime Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O’Neill.
Megyn Kelly • NBC News
Kelly earned an undergraduate degree in political science from Syracuse University in 1992 and earned a J.D. from Albany Law School in 1995.
Tom Brokaw • NBC News
Brokaw matriculated at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, but dropped out after a year as he apparently failed to keep up in his studies, in his words majoring in “beer and co-eds”. In tribute to his fun-loving freshman year, the Airliner Bar has named a booth in his honor. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of South Dakota in 1964.
Lou Dobbs • Fox Business
Although accepted at the University of Idaho and Idaho State University, he was persuaded by the staff at Minico High to apply to Harvard University, where he was accepted and later graduated from with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in 1967. After graduating, Dobbs worked for federal anti-poverty programs in Boston and Washington, D.C., then returned to Idaho. He briefly attended law school at the UI College of Law in Moscow.
Mike Barnicle • MSNBC
Graduated from Boston University in 1965.
In 1998, Barnicle resigned from The Boston Globe amid a controversy over two columns, written three years apart. The first column of more than 80 lines of humorous observations had a few lines that bore similarity to jokes in the 1997 book “Brain Droppings” by George Carlin. In a subsequent Globe review of all of Barnicle’s many years of work, a second column was called into question.
Lester Holt • NBC News
Holt attended California State University, Sacramento, and majored in government, though he never graduated.
Kimberly Guilfoyle • Fox News
Guilfoyle graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Davis, and received her Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1994. While in law school, she interned at the San Francisco district attorney’s office. She also modeled for local department stores, including Macy’s, and modeled Victoria’s Secret lingerie in a bridal magazine. She also studied at Trinity College, Dublin in Ireland. While there, she published research in international children’s rights and European Economic Community law.
Matt Lauer • NBC
Lauer is a graduate of the School of Media Arts and Studies (formerly the School of Telecommunications) of Ohio University. In 1997, he received his undergraduate degree from Ohio University at the age of 39. He had dropped out of Ohio University’s School of Telecommunications in the Spring of 1979.
Juan Williams • Fox News
Williams attended Haverford College, from which he graduated with a baccalaureate in philosophy in 1976.
Brian Williams • MSNBC
Williams attended Brookdale Community College, after which he transferred to The Catholic University of America and then The George Washington University. He did not graduate, and instead interned with the administration of President Jimmy Carter. (Take his word for it….)
Meghan McCain • Fox News
McCain is the daughter of 2008 presidential nominee and long-time U.S. Senator John McCain and Cindy Hensley McCain. She has been a public figure for much of her life, first appearing at the 1996 Republican National Convention. She attended Columbia University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in art history. McCain originally planned to become a music journalist and interned at Newsweek and Saturday Night Live.
Michael Smerconish • CNN
Smerconish received his B.A. from Lehigh University and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Charlie Rose • CBS/PBS
Rose entered Duke University, intending to pursue a degree with a pre-med track; however, an internship in the office of Democrat North Carolina Senator B. Everett Jordan got him interested in politics. Rose graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. Rose earned a Juris Doctor from the Duke University School of Law in 1968.
Jamie Colby • Fox News
Attending the University of Miami’s International School of Business, Colby earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting as well as a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami School of Law at age 22.
Bret Baier • Fox News
Baier attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, graduating in 1992 with a BA degree in political science and English.
Chris Cuomo • CNN
Cuomo is the son of Mario Cuomo, the former New York Governor, and the brother of Andrew Cuomo, the current Governor of New York. Cuomo was educated at Yale University, where he obtained an undergraduate degree, and Fordham University where he obtained his Juris Doctor.
Uma Pemmaraju • Fox News
Pemmaraju graduated from Trinity University in Texas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.
David Gregory • NBC News
Gregory was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Carolyn Surtees, an account manager, and Don Gregory (originally Don Ginsburg), a film and theatrical producer.
He received a degree in International Studies from the School of International Service.
Bob Beckel • Fox News
Beckel has a BA from Wagner College in Staten Island. While in college, he worked for Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1968.
In 1977, Beckel joined the United States Department of State as deputy assistant secretary of state for congressional relations, becoming the youngest deputy assistant secretary of state in the Carter administration. Beckel was the campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign. In 2002, Beckel managed the campaign of Alan Blinken, the Democrat nominee for United States Senate in Idaho, until he resigned after being targeted for extortion by a prostitute.
Kennedy • Fox Business
Lisa Kennedy Montgomery attended but did not graduate from Lakeridge High School in 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from UCLA.
Jenna Bush Hager • ABC
Bush is the younger of the twin daughters of the President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, and a granddaughter of the President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and took summer classes at New York University. She was a legacy member of Kappa Alpha Theta, her mother’s sorority.
Shepard Smith • Fox News
Smith attended the University of Mississippi where he majored in journalism, but left two credits away from graduation.
Wolf Blitzer • CNN
Blitzer graduated from Kenmore West Senior High School and received a Bachelor of Arts in history from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1970. While there, he was a brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi. In 1972, he received a Master of Arts in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. While at Johns Hopkins, Blitzer studied abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he learned Hebrew.
Brian Kilmeade • Fox News
Kilmeade attended C.W. Post (Brookville, New York), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1986.
Mika Brzezinski • MSNBC
Brzezinski is the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter and a counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson. She graduated in 1989 from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she majored in English, after transferring from Georgetown University as a junior.
Joe Scarborough • MSNBC
Scarborough earned a B.A. from the University of Alabama in 1985 and a J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law in 1990. Scarborough served in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 as a Republican from the 1st district of Florida.
Chris Hayes • MSNBC
Hayes attended Brown University for his undergraduate education, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and worked with student theater group Production Workshop.
Judy Woodruff • PBS
Woodruff attended Meredith College before transferring to Duke University, where she earned a degree in Political Science.
Andrea Mitchell • MSNBC
Mitchell is married to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967.
Trace Gallagher • Fox News
Gallagher graduated from the University of San Diego where he majored in business and played quarterback for the Torreros football team.
Jake Tapper • CNN
Tapper graduated Dartmouth College Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with a B.A. in History, modified by Visual Studies. He briefly attended graduate school at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.
In 1992, Tapper served as a Campaign Press Secretary for Democrat congressional candidate Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (PA-13), and later served as her congressional press secretary. Tapper also worked for Powell Tate, a Washington, D.C., public relations firm run by Democrat Jody Powell and Republican Sheila Tate. Tapper also worked briefly for Handgun Control, Inc. (now the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence) in 1997.
Tapper wrote several articles as a freelance writer, and then began his full-time journalism career in 1998 for two years as a Senior Writer for the Washington City Paper. Tapper wrote an article about going on a date with Monica Lewinsky, which skewered Washington’s culture of scandal. Tapper won a Society of Professional Journalists award for his work at the Washington City Paper.
Martha Raddatz • ABC News
Raddatz attended the University of Utah but dropped out to work at a local station.
Candy Crowley • CNN
Crowley attended Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
Tavis Smiley • PBS
In 1982, Smiley enrolled in Indiana University Bloomington. Because Smiley’s parents refused to complete financial aid papers, Smiley entered Indiana University with only $50 and a small suitcase. Administrators let Smiley complete the paperwork to become a full-time student. During his first semester of junior year, Smiley was under academic probation; he blamed his extracurricular activities for interfering with his studies. Smiley didn’t graduate from college at all, because he failed a required course in his senior year and “did poorly in several other courses,” which meant he could not complete his degree on time; rather than stay for an extra term, he chose to leave IU and move to Los Angeles.
In 2003, Smiley officially received his degree from Indiana University in public affairs.
To date, Smiley has received 16 honorary doctorates.
Charles Krauthammer • Fox News
Krauthammer attended McGill University in Montreal, graduating in 1970 with First Class Honours in both economics and political science. The following year, after graduating McGill, he studied as a Commonwealth Scholar in politics at Balliol College, Oxford, before returning to the United States to attend medical school at Harvard, graduating in 1975.
Jon Stewart • Comedy Central
Stewart graduated in 1984 from the College of William & Mary in Virginia, where he initially majored in chemistry before switching to psychology.
John Dickerson • CBS News
Dickerson holds a degree in English with Distinction from the University of Virginia. “On Her Trail”, Dickerson’s book about his relationship with his late mother Nancy Dickerson Whitehead, a pioneering television newswoman, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2006.
Gayle King • CBS
King graduated from the University of Maryland in 1976 with a double degree in psychology and sociology.
Greg Gutfeld • Fox News
In 1987, Gutfeld graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in English.
Nancy Grace • HLN
Grace attended Valdosta State University and later received a B.A. from Mercer University. As a student, Grace was a fan of Shakespearean literature, and intended to become an English professor after graduating from college, but after the murder of her fiancé Keith Griffin when she was 19, Grace decided to enroll in law school and went on to become a felony prosecutor and a supporter of victims’ rights.
Grace received her Juris Doctor from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer, where she was a member of the law review. She went on to earn a Master of Laws in constitutional and criminal law from New York University.
George Stephanopoulos • ABC News
In 1982, Stephanopoulos received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science summa cum laude from Columbia University in New York and was the salutatorian of his class.
In 1988, Stephanopoulos worked on the Michael Dukakis 1988 U.S. presidential campaign. After that campaign, Stephanopoulos became the “floor man” for Dick Gephardt, U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader; a position held until, along with David Wilhelm and James Carville, he became a leading member of Bill Clinton’s 1992 U.S. presidential campaign. At the outset of Clinton’s presidency, Stephanopoulos served as the de facto press secretary, briefing the press even though Dee Dee Myers was officially the White House Press Secretary. Later following several verbal missteps he was moved to Senior Advisor on Policy and Strategy.
Stephanopoulos resigned from the Clinton administration shortly after Clinton was re-elected in 1996.
Brian Stelter • CNN
Stelter studied at Towson University where he served as editor-in-chief of The Towerlight from 2005 to 2007. While still a student, he created TVNewser, a blog about television and cable news which he later sold to Mediabistro.
Stelter graduated Towson in May 2007, and joined The New York Times as a media reporter later in July of that year.
John Stossel • Fox News
Stossel characterizes himself as having been “an indifferent student” while in college, commenting, “I daydreamed through half my classes at Princeton, and applied to grad school only because I was ambitious, and grad school seemed like the right path for a 21-year-old who wanted to get ahead.” Although he had been accepted to the University of Chicago’s School of Hospital Management, Stossel was “sick of school” and thought taking a job would inspire him to embrace graduate studies with renewed vigor.
Dana Bash • CNN
Bash’s father, Stu Schwartz, was an ABC News producer who served as the senior broadcast producer for Good Morning America. Bash graduated cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in political communications from George Washington University.
Karen Finney • MSNBC
After attending UCLA, Finney served four years as the spokesperson and Director of Communications at the Democrat National Committee. She served as Press Secretary for Hillary Clinton in the early 1990s, then moved into the private sector, working in marketing for the children’s academic book company Scholastic Inc.
In 2001, she managed crisis communications for the New York City Board of Education, and worked for Elizabeth Edwards during the 2004 presidential campaign. On November 25, 2014 Finney joined Media Matters as a senior fellow and consultant. On April 6, 2015, CNN announced that she was selected as Strategic Communications Adviser and Senior Spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
Fareed Zakaria • CNN
Zakaria graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 1986 and later a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Government from Harvard University in 1993.
Tucker Carlson • Fox News
Carlson was born in San Francisco, California, the elder son of Richard Warner Carlson, a former Los Angeles news anchor and U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles, who was also president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and director of Voice of America. His mother is the former Lisa McNear Lombardi, and his stepmother is the former Patricia Caroline Swanson, an heiress to the Swanson frozen-food fortune (daughter of Gilbert Carl Swanson and granddaughter of Carl A. Swanson) and a niece of Sen. J. William Fulbright.
He studied history at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
Greta Van Susteren • NBC News
Van Susteren graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976, where she studied geography and economics. She later earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1979 and prior to the start of her television work returned to Georgetown Law as an adjunct faculty member in addition to her full-time legal career. She was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Stetson Law School.
Mara Liasson • NPR, Fox News
Liasson is a graduate of Brown University (class of 1977) with a bachelor of arts degree in American history.
Amy Kellogg • Fox News
Kellogg received her B.A. from Brown University in Soviet studies, and her M.A. from Stanford University in Russian and East European studies. Kellogg is fluent in Russian, Spanish, and French. She spent the second semester of her junior year at Leningrad State University, in the former Soviet Union. After graduating from Stanford, she spent some time teaching English and studying Spanish in Argentina before shifting into the news business.
Al Sharpton • MSNBC
Attended Brooklyn College, dropping out after two years in 1975. In 1972, Sharpton accepted the position of youth director for the presidential campaign of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. Between the years 1973 and 1980 Sharpton served as James Brown’s tour manager.
Shannon Bream • Fox News
Bream attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. While attending Liberty, she entered the Miss Virginia pageant and won the title of Miss Virginia in 1990. She participated in the Miss America 1991 pageant and was one of the ten finalists. Her scholarship award covered much of her education.
After graduating from Liberty University in 1993 with a degree in Business, Bream returned to Tallahassee and attended law school at Florida State University. She interned with Florida Congressman Bill McCollum, in the US House of Representatives.
Elizabeth MacDonald • Fox Business
MacDonald graduated with a B.A. with honors from Canisius College in 1984.
Katie Couric • Yahoo!
As a high school student, Couric was an intern at Washington, D.C. all-news radio station WAVA. She enrolled at her father’s alma mater, the University of Virginia, in 1975 and was a Delta Delta Delta sorority sister. Couric served in several positions at UVA’s award-winning daily newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. She graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies.
Erin Burnett • CNN
Burnett attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she studied political science and economics, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political economy.
Lawrence O’Donnell • MSNBC
O’Donnell graduated from Harvard College (class of 1974) with a major in economics in 1976.
From 1989 to 1995, he was a legislative aide to Democrat Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. From 1989 to 1991, he served as senior advisor to Moynihan. From 1992 to 1993, he was staff director of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, then chaired by Senator Moynihan, and from 1993 to 1995 he was staff director of the United States Senate Committee on Finance, again under Senator Moynihan’s chairmanship.
Joy Reid • MSNBC
Reid studied documentary film making in the Harvard University Visual and Environmental Studies department.
Hallie Jackson • MSNBC
In 2006, Jackson graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. degree in political science.
Abby Huntsman • Fox News
Huntsman is the daughter of 2012 presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr.
At age 16, Huntsman worked a behind-the-scenes position at Good Morning America. By her own admission, she disliked it so much that she contemplated giving up on television “forever”. While attending the University of Pennsylvania, Huntsman interned for Diane Sawyer. In 2012, during and after her father’s presidential campaign, Huntsman appeared as a political commentator for ABC News in Washington, D.C., and Good Morning America in New York City. In 2013, she was listed as number 26 on the Forbes 30 under 30 list of up and coming members of the media.
Dagen McDowell • Fox Business
McDowell graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Art History.
There are notables not on this list because they actually majored in journalism. We also used Wikipedia as a constant reference because many of the news entities (for some strange reason) decline to include education backgrounds in the posted bios of their on-air celebrities.
And this is just on the anchor level. There are probably many others on the print/blog side, that have earned the right to be called journalists, sitting right next to those who do not and it’s no wonder why we get “news” and narratives we can’t trust.
BTW: the majority of black on-air personalities today actually had to complete classes/majors in the disciplines of the journalism profession BEFORE they got jobs in the business; a prerequisite many of their white counterparts have successfully bypassed.