The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is an evening television news program broadcast weeknights on PBS in the United States. Unlike most other evening newscasts in the country, each edition is an hour long. The program also runs longer segments than most other news outlets in the U.S., with in-depth coverage of the subjects involved. The NewsHour avoids the use of sound bites, playing back extended portions of news conferences and holding interviews that last several minutes.
The program was formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour until Robert MacNeil, who co-anchored with Jim Lehrer, retired from the show in 1995. The show continues to be produced by their joint production company, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, which is 65% owned by Liberty Media.
According to Nielsen ratings at the program's website, 2.7 million people watch the program each night, and 8 million individuals watch in the course of a week. It is broadcast on more than 300 PBS stations, reaching 99% of the viewing public, and audio is broadcast by some National Public Radio stations. Broadcasts are also made available worldwide via satellites operated by various agencies. In Australia, the program appears on free-to-air station SBS from Tuesday to Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Archives of shows broadcast after February 7, 2000 are available in several streaming media formats (including full-motion video) at the program's website. The show is available to overseas military personnel on the American Forces Network. Audio from select segments are also released in podcast form, available through several feeds on PBS's subscriptions page and through the iTunes Music Store. The program originates in Washington, D.C., with additional facilities in San Francisco, California and Denver, Colorado, and is a collaboration between PBS television stations WNET, WETA-TV, and KQED.
Other people work on The NewsHour. The program's senior correspondents are Gwen Ifill, Ray Suarez, Margaret Warner, Jeffrey Brown and Judy Woodruff. Essayists include Jim Fisher, Clarence Page, Anne Taylor Fleming, Richard Rodriguez, and Roger Rosenblatt. Correspondents include Susan Dentzer, Tom Bearden, Kwame Holman, Fred de Sam Lazaro, Terence Smith, Paul Solman, Betty Ann Bowser and others.
For most of the run, funding has been provided by AT&T, SBC Communications (prior to its takeover of AT&T), Archer Daniels Midland, PepsiCo, New York Life, Smith Barney (and its former mid-to-late '90's moniker "Salomon Smith Barney", when merging with Salomon Brothers), Travelers Group, Pfizer, CIT Group, Chevron, Grant Thornton LLP, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Pacific Life, the Ford Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The National Science Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthrophies, The Park Foundation, BP, Toyota, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by contributions to PBS stations from Viewers Like You.
Critics have accused The Newshour, along with mainstream American media, of being "stenographers to power" with a pro-establishment bias. In October 2006, a study by the left-oriented media analysis group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) accused The NewsHour of lacking balance, diversity, and viewpoints of the general public, in favor of Republican and corporate viewpoints. FAIR studied NewsHour's guest list for the 6 months October 2005 to March 2006. Republicans outnumbered Democrats 2:1 (66% to 33%). People of color made up only 15% of US sources. Alberto Gonzales accounted for 30% of Latino sources, while Condoleezza Rice accounted for 13% of African-American sources. Hurricane Katrina victims were 46% of all African-American sources. On Iraq, "stay the course" sources outnumbered pro-withdrawal sources 5:1 (this ratio continued even after polls favored a withdrawal from Iraq). Not a single peace activist appeared. Public interest groups were 4% of sources. Current and former government and military officials were 50% of sources.
PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler agreed with FAIR's report. These are "perilous times," wrote Getler in his Ombudsman column. "As a viewer and journalist, I find the program occasionally frustrating; sometimes too polite, too balanced when issues are not really balanced, and too many political and emotion-laden statements pass without factual challenges from the interviewer.
FAIR also protested when Liberty Media purchased a majority of the program, citing Liberty's majority owner, John Malone.