Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 27, 2011

WHEN SUNDAY SHOWS GET IT RIGHT (AND WHEN THEY DON'T).... On ABC's "This Week," viewers will see host Christiane Amanpour report live from Tripoli, including an important interview with Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi. It's followed by Jake Tapper hosting a roundtable discussion with four governors: Arizona's Jan Brewer (R), Massachusetts' Deval Patrick (D), Colorado's John Hickenlooper (D), and South Carolina's Nikki Haley (R).

For all the complaining I do about the Sunday shows, this is a strong lineup. Amanpour's reporting from the Middle East has been great, and Tapper's panel features the kind of diversity -- party, gender, race, region -- that these panels too often lack.

CNN's "State of the Union" also deserves some credit for steering clear of an all-Republican lineup. The five guests are all white guys, but at least there's party diversity -- two governors (one Dem, one Republican) and three senators (one Dem, one GOP, and one independent).

Faiz Shakir, however, is right to draw attention to the other three.

Last Sunday also tilted heavily toward GOP voices. This Sunday the trend continues. Three Sunday shows -- Fox, CBS, and NBC -- locked out Democratic voices as featured guests:

Fox News Sunday: Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN), former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR)

CBS Face the Nation: Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)

NBC Meet the Press: Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

"Meet the Press" included one Democrat and one labor leader -- the latter thrown in under pressure late in the week -- for its roundtable, but when it came to feature interviews, it's yet another Sunday in which Republican guests dominated.

This comes just two weeks after the Sunday shows featured two Republican senators, three Republican House members, three likely Republican presidential candidates ... and zero Democrats from Congress or the Obama administration.

Liberal media, indeed.

Steve Benen 11:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments

Since TV news is all about ratings, not journalism, it shouldn't be surprising that Republican guests dominate the producers' rolodexes.

It's for the same reason that Jerry Springer books freaks instead of normal people. After all, who is more likely to say something "interesting" and "controversial" - Newt Gingrich or Harry Reid?

Posted by: Okie on February 27, 2011 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Jan Brewer wasn't pleasant to listen to and why in the world is McCain on one of these shows nearly every week? He has changed his positions so many times I don't think he even knows what he is for or against.

Posted by: Kenneth D. Franks on February 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

See, you just don't get it!! All you see is that there are no Dems or nearly none. If you were "Fair & Balanced", you'd understand that this is to even out the overwhelming bias for Dems everywhere else.

Not sure where that "everywhere" is, but the "Fair & Balanced" folks say so - so it must be true.

Posted by: Mark-NC on February 27, 2011 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

I don't bother watching unless Maddow is going to be on, and even that's frustrating. She's the only one I've yet see be able to squeeze in cogent and truthful talking points before being interrupted by the Republican Talking Heads.

Same goes pretty much for MSNBC. Only watch Maddow now..sometimes Lawerence O'Donnel. But he's too passive and staid, with that monotone voice that drones on. And his interview style lacks any real sense of presence, any spontaneous exchange. Best episode he did was creatively using dinging (with a bell) all the times Obama got interrupted by O'Reilly in the interview before Superbowl).

Posted by: Royal Waste of Time on February 27, 2011 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Chris Christie. The media and the Republican Party can push and promote this guy all they want, but the blunt truth is: a sleazy, fat, greasy pig like that will never be elected President.

Posted by: SaintZak on February 27, 2011 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.libyaonline.com/business/details.php?id=17342

I'd like to see 24/7 coverage of the energy trades between Libya and the world. Italy. Russia. Turkey. US. UK. Germany. etc all getting Libya's crude oil and natural gas.

The events have global ramifications. I know the human tragedy deserves full coverage, but it's how the energy markets react that determines all of the planet's future.

No economy in the world can survive at 120 per barrel for long.

The time for alternative fuels is now also a means of waging peace; something humans seem to forget how to do.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Why does the networks keep inviting McGrump, he does not have anything to offer, except a show of flip flopping. As far as inviting other Republicans en masse, it doen't make sense, as they are the ones trying to lead us down the primrose path to poverty. One pertinnent point that the talking heads never hit on, what is happening to the middle class, which begin to decline during St. Ronnie's administration.

Posted by: Ted76 on February 27, 2011 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

From the desk of Fox News Sunday

Mr. Benen, your commentary is misguided. We provided a fair and balance guest list, composed of presidential candidates representing the two most important wings of our Republican Party. We had Mitch Daniels representing the financing wing of our party and we had Reverend Huckabee representing the social conservatives wing.

From the desk of Face The Nation

Mr. Benen, your commentary is misguided. Inside the beltway, we loves us some Chris Christie!

From the desk of Meet The Press

Mr. Benen, your commentary is misguided. You must understand the we know that Senator McCain is the most knowledgeable person in the senate for both foreign and domestic issues. You must also understand that, as corporate employees, providing some love and understanding to fellow corporate employee Scott Walker will get us in good with our CEO.

Posted by: SadOldVet on February 27, 2011 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Agree mightily with Royal Waste of Time and SaintZak. Just finished wasting precious time emailing Meet The Press and asked why Rachel Maddow had not been on the panel for so long. Of course, we know the answer, she's too smart, asks probing questions that put Republicans (Dems too, if apropriate) on the spot, doesn't back down and is exceedingly pleasant while doing so. Gregory was exceptionally bad this morning, did not challenge Gov. Walker even though there was a treasure trove of material in the faux interview to make him (Walker) squirm, not to mention the tax break bill for businesses Walker passed before his union busting plan, Walkers's union busting in Milwaukee and his plan to sell Wisconsin power plants without needing competing bids,etc. Of course, his co-host John McCain had a cameo appearance as usual. Gregory was a terrible choice to replace Russert as he proves over and over. I can count on one hand the few times he's pushed the Repubs on their talking points.

Posted by: Kathryn on February 27, 2011 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

As bad as this is, it was even more infuriating when they were doing the same thing between 2008 and 2010, when the Democrats controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House.

Speaker - now 'ex' - Pelosi, who managed to pass so many bills in the House that the Senate left untouched hundreds (420?) of them and she often had to pass them more than once, was practically invisible on the Sunday shows in comparison to Boehner.

That things still haven't improved is a national embarrassment.

Posted by: Kiweagle on February 27, 2011 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

instead of watching the "Sunday Shows", and then coming here to bitch and whine, I've found it far more enjoyable- and productive- to get outside in the Real World, and take a walk. Or poke about the garden, rake a flower bed. Or even, Read a Book. . .

Posted by: DAY on February 27, 2011 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

It would be great if Current TV had a Sunday show when Olbermann gets it up and running.

Posted by: js on February 27, 2011 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Two weeks ago (Feb. 13), State of the Union featured White House budget director Jacob Lew. Meet the Press featured Kasim Reed, the (black) Democratic mayor of Atlanta.

Posted by: bob somerby on February 27, 2011 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

@bob somerby - Correction noted, but you might also have noticed that McCain and Barbour, who were on Meet the Press today, were on just 2 weeks ago. So the point is that the Dems are - as then - hopelessly under-represented despite STILL controlling the White House and the Senate:

ABC's "This Week" - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty

NBC's "Meet the Press" - Reps. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Bobby Schilling, R-Ill.; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

CBS' "Face the Nation" - Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Egyptian-American scholar and Nobel laureate Ahmed Zewail

CNN's "State of the Union" - John Negroponte, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.; Edward Walker, former U.S. ambassador to Egypt; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; White House budget director Jacob Lew.

CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" - Where do Egypt and the opposition movement go from here? With Richard Haass and Steven Cook from the Council on Foreign Relations. What caused the crisis and who made it worse. Could it have been YOU? With JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

"Fox News Sunday" - Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss.; Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Posted by: Kiweagle on February 27, 2011 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Since TV news is all about ratings, not journalism, it shouldn't be surprising that Republican guests dominate the producers' rolodexes."

I have never watched Sunday shows. If other liberals are like me, then the reason that Sunday talk shows feature Republicans is because only Republicans watch Sunday talk shows. Put Democrats on and the ratings will plummet faster than the economy under Republican leadership.

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Article: "Fox News Sunday: Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN), former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR)

CBS Face the Nation: Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)

NBC Meet the Press: Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)"

A Sunday morning show without McCain would be like a shower without cold water. Most of these programs have become unwatchable junk.

Posted by: max on February 27, 2011 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

@PTate - If not the Sunday Shows, then where does the average American, who demonstrably ignorant of the issues, go for their political news?

* Radio? It's dominated by the extreme right-wing.
* Newspapers? Readership has been declining to the point of bankruptcy.
* Internet? Almost everyone only bothers to view pages that confirm their ideological perspective.
* Magazines? With rare exceptions, the information is obsolete and moot by the time of publication.
* TV? And you begin to see the problem...

Posted by: Kiweagle on February 27, 2011 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I saw Gov Walker on Meet The Press. My basic opinion http://twitgoo.com/1zhfyh that all he wants is to get the budget under the personal control of Republicans has not changed.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on February 27, 2011 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I can make a case for each of the guests mentioned except for John McCain. Does the Meet the Press booker sleep with a McCain staffer or something. There is nothing McCain can add to any current topic, he has no authority in the Senate, and nobody in authority in either party pays any attention to him. Why the hell is he on the TV machine today? Would somebody ask David Gregory? Please. Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 27, 2011 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

[...] why in the world is McCain on one of these shows nearly every week? He has changed his positions so many times [...]
Posted by: Kenneth D. Franks on February 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM

And there you have your answer. He has changed his position so many times -- sometimes even within the same interview -- that it's like booking three (or more) people for the price of one :)

Posted by: exlibra on February 27, 2011 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Back in the good old days, Reagan blasted the media for being unfair to conservatives. Ever since, the media has bent over backwards to promote the covservative POV.

Calling President Obama...


PS: Col. Larry Wilkerson was on al Jazeera English saying he paid no attention to Sen. Lieberman on foreign affairs. It made my morning. :)

Posted by: Seould on February 27, 2011 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

The only good thing about seeing McCain on Meet The Press is that he makes me feel like the soldier who had a bullet just crease him rather than blowing his head off.

Posted by: sparrow on February 27, 2011 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

"I can count on one hand the few times he's pushed the Repubs on their talking points" - K


And that is precision why Gregory landed that spot. Also,I disagree with you on his value as a replacement for Russert...he is doing the same enabling as Russert did, therefore he's a 'team' player for the beltway brand. I am sorry, I just have not been able to take any of the Sunday pontificating very seriously for many years now. But that's just me...

Posted by: H.Finn on February 27, 2011 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

you folks don't seem to understand......MTP is a TV show, i.e., entertainment. Not News, and not necessarily fact. It's a "program" that fulfills the "public service" requirement. It fills a dead spot on Sunday's and allows the network to make some money on commercials at a time when, otherwise, no one would watch.

Posted by: T2 on February 27, 2011 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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