Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 9, 2010

IF IT'S SUNDAY.... CNN's Sunday show, "State of the Union," is touting its line-up for tomorrow's episode.

This week, [host John King's] exclusive guests are Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) LIVE from Jerusalem. We'll get their insight on the foiled airline terror plot and President Obama's strategy on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hmm, McCain and Lieberman, talking together about foreign policy and national security. Now that's a balanced pairing.

But just as important, note that we haven't quite reached the first anniversary of President Obama's inauguration, and John McCain is on yet another Sunday morning talk show. And you know what that means -- it's time to update the big board.

This will be John McCain's 18th appearance on a Sunday morning talk show since Obama took office12 months ago. That's an average of one appearance every 2.9 weeks for a year -- more than any other public official in the country.

Since the president's inauguration, McCain has been on "Meet the Press" three times (December 6, July 12, and March 29), "This Week" three times (September 27, August 23, and May 10), "Face the Nation" four times (October 25, August 30, April 26, and February 8), and "Fox News Sunday" four times (December 20, July 2, March 8, and January 25). His appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" tomorrow will be his fourth (January 10, October 11, August 2, and February 15).

And who, exactly, is John McCain? He's the one who lost the 2008 presidential race badly, and is now just another reactionary conservative senator in the minority. He's not in the party leadership; he has no role in any important negotiations on any issue; and he's offered no significant pieces of legislation. By all appearances, McCain isn't even especially influential among his own GOP colleagues.

There's just no reason for the media's obsession with McCain. None. Eighteen Sunday-show appearances in 12 months? It's farcical.

Post Script: And reinforcing Jay Rosen's observation that "the Sunday morning talk shows are broken," it's also worth noting that Liz Cheney will be on ABC's "This Week" and CNN's "State of the Union" tomorrow, despite the fact that she's breathtakingly dishonest and has nothing to add to the public discourse.

Steve Benen 9:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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No reason? Maybe not why McCain in particular anymore (since he's not a fun maverick bucking his party, as noted), but this pattern is deliberate and in accordance with the deep interests of most of the Media's ownership. They want to prop up corporatist, neocon influence. It's not just Broderist equivalency, it is a push.

Posted by: neil b on January 9, 2010 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Since the comparison between their positions is exact, it'd be fun to see how many times John Kerry was on the Sunday shows between January 20, 2005 and January 20, 2006.

Posted by: John on January 9, 2010 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

You should be on Bill Moyers Journal.

Posted by: JPG on January 9, 2010 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

oh, i don't know. while st john is opining on obama's foreign policy, perhaps someone could revisit st john's 2008 campaign and his eagerness to engage in the georgia/russia dust-up with his ill-informed pronouncements that turned out to be staggeringly wrong.

why this man continues his hold over the washington dc establishment is one of the greater mysteries of the village.

Posted by: bkny on January 9, 2010 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

You know there are some great Sunday morning cartoons and programs that will lend more personal insight and intellectual stimulation than watching freaking Droopy Dog and Yosemite Sam talk about shit they know nothing about...with hosts who know even less and are distracted by shiney objects. Remind me again why it's so important to watch those shows? They add so much to the public discourse. Dora and Barney on the other hand are at least honest...and more realistic.

Posted by: Ronald on January 9, 2010 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

But Tim Kaine and Michael Steele will be on Meet the Press. I can't wait to hear the questions? Why don't Dems have momentum? How many seats should they be happy to lose? Why is there so much division in the Dem party? Is the rumor true that Kaine is writing a book, disparaging Native Americans and raising money for himself by using his new title? Is Acorn a racist term?

Posted by: Danp on January 9, 2010 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

I have yet to hear anyone explain Liz Cheney's qualifications for opining about ANYTHING, let alone life-or-death matters of public policy.

Posted by: Gummo on January 9, 2010 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Liz cheney is the daughter of the top pharisee , her word is blessed by the same privilege accorded to the tilted head snarl itself . Now if only god could achieve what the cheney family manages . Cheney demonstrates the quisling , weak and liberal nature of god . Tsk , on the seventh day he rested ? No wonder the republicans eat his brunch Sunday to Sunday .

Posted by: FRP on January 9, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Deja vu all over again? Didn't you write almost exactly the same thing some weeks ago, Steve? I suspect you simply copy and paste that story every 2.9 weeks (on average) and only update the numbers!

Posted by: Gray on January 9, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the repetitive and irrelevant nature of the guest list can be attributed to (1) lazy booking--the "usual suspects" are always available; (2) lazy hosting and staffing--no new research or questions necessary; and (3) "entertainment" value--one of these buffoons will always say something provocative rather than substantive. And who, besides us political junkies, watches these shows anyway?

Posted by: Kenter on January 9, 2010 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

The biggest 'enemy' your country has is your utterly corrupted Corporate Media. And most of the citizens of your country are simply to stupid to realize it. What do you expect from a population that is 30 percent obese, another 40 percent grossly overweight ? A population in which the majority 'believe' that the Earth is only 10,000 years old ? A population that is only 5 percent of the total of all countries, yest uses 25 percent of all the Earth resources ? A population in which over 10 percent of your population is in prisons, and has the highest rate of imprisonment of any other country in the world ? A population that is so stupid that over 30 percent of your citizens can even find your own fucking country on a world map ? A country and it's corporations that pays people like Brian Williams 15 million a year to read the propaganda that he is hired to read for 30 minutes a night, and yet a country that pays the teachers of your children about $30,000 a year. And then you wonder why you citizens are so stupid and thus given to 'believing' the MANIPULATION OF REALITY BY THE MEDIA THAT IS OWNED BY THE CORPORATIONS WHOSE SOLE MOTIVE IS TO ENRICH THEMSELVES ? As a result a country that should be called the UNITED CORPORATIONS OF AMERICA, versus the United States Of America.

Like I said your GREATEST ENEMY IS YOUR OWN CORPORATE MEDIA. And you are to stupid to realize it.

Posted by: blue on January 9, 2010 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

The media's obsession with these two guys is getting to play out like that South Park episode where the choice is Turd Sandwich or Douche Bag. CNN is beginning to write its own parody! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on January 9, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

One wonders what the viewership ("ratings") of the Sunday shows is, compared to say, a year ago.

Posted by: DAY on January 9, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously, that line-up is like the archetype of What's Wrong With Our Media. It is almost self-parody.

'Today on CNN, we'll talk with the old cranky, incoherent guy America rejected for President, the one who thought Sarah Palin should be VP, and we'll ask him what our policies should be. Then, we'll talk to the least popular politician in his home state of Connecticut, runner-up for the Sarah Palin spot on the first guy's ticket. He's a bellicose defender of Israel, and supporter of our invasion of Iraq, so we'll ask him about what we should to in Yemen.'

Posted by: biggerbox on January 9, 2010 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

And do you expect Lieberman to get any hard questions about his evident non-oversight of Homeland Security, in which dangerous flaws have been allowed to persist? Why is the Senate oversight lagging behind the House's?

Posted by: bob h on January 9, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

MSM talk/interview shows = entertainment = controversy = demented pinko/commie/traitorous liberals/conspiracy theories.

Posted by: rbe1 on January 9, 2010 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Steve: will you for chrissakes stop this Pollyanna b.s. that somehow, if you're earnest enough, the corporate Republiscum who run the mainstream media and their Villager whores are ever going to change?

I'm shocked, shocked that John McCain and Joe Lieberman are appearing on television as representing anything like political leadership.


Just forget this crap. It doesn't mean a damn thing and it makes you look silly.

Posted by: TCinLA on January 9, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

We have to appreciate that the Sunday shows are a perk of the DC social scene. They're the video expression of the puerile ninny-ism that give the Villagers their charm.

It isn't news at all and has no pretensions to being news. It's about masturbating your sanctimoniousness.

It's about David Brinkley sunning himself on a rock.

Posted by: cld on January 9, 2010 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

My God, Lieberman and McCain? What innovative programming concept will they think of next on Sunday morning? John McCain interviewing Joe Lieberman?

There are better things to do on a Sunday morning than watch this crap, like going to church for example.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on January 9, 2010 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised that CNN didn't throw in Rudolph Giuliani to make a perfect tri-fecta.

Posted by: menader on January 9, 2010 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

John King ABSOLUTELY loves John McCain. It was so obvious during the election that I couldn't bear watching CNN's coverage. Between King and Dana Bash they could start their own John McCain Fan Club. Maybe they already have. Do either one of these idiots (McCain and Lieberman) have anything new to say? I'd think not, but lets spew it anyway. This is why I don't watch CNN anymore. It's gone to the crapper. I also agree with menader on the Rudy inclusion.

Posted by: Joy on January 9, 2010 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

...despite the fact that she's breathtakingly dishonest and has nothing to add to the public discourse.

That describes the hosts and regular pundits on these shows as well.

Posted by: qwerty on January 9, 2010 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

The simple reason the corporate media keeps going to the Repubs time and time again is because they want a fight. "If it bleeds, it leads."

Posted by: bobbob on January 9, 2010 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody even watch these dreadful shows any more? They aren't entertaining and deliver no useful insight. I don't follow their numbers but their audiences have to be shrinking.

Posted by: Woody Guthrie on January 9, 2010 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Political Animal should just do some graphs showing the McCain / Liz Cheney Sunday morning appearance numbers-sort of like the home-made employment graphs? I do agree that earnest outrage on the 18th appearance is a little old. I know the mainstream's not picking up on it, so maybe a picture will say more than words for them.

Posted by: danny shenanigan on January 9, 2010 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well, to look on the bright side, now that I won't be watching any more of the network Sunday gas-bags, I'll have more free space on my TiVo to keep the Daily Show and Colbert Report longer.

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 9, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't matter this week, as everyone will be tuning in to Michael Scott, I mean Steele, on NBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3898804/

Posted by: John Dillinger on January 9, 2010 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, I can remember when it was embarrassing to lose a Presidential election...

Posted by: Doug on January 9, 2010 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, thanks for telling me Liz Cheney will be on This Week.... so I know what not to watch. cannot stand her.

I'll program Meet the Press instead.

Posted by: clem on January 10, 2010 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

John McCain is also the former Republican presidential candidate who staked his fortunes on a stupid bet: that female voters eager to support Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton would switch allegiance in order to back a GOP ticket featuring a female vice-presidential candidate, then-governor of Alaska Sarah Palin.

Yes, Clinton and Palin share the same gender. One struggles to find other similarities. One is that Palin, like Clinton, became a political star. Republicans have McCain to thank for that.

Meantime, viewers of Sunday morning talk shows can decide whether McCain is an oracle or a curio.

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