I stopped watching the Sunday morning bobblehead shows around the time that Tim Russert died unexpectedly. All the Beltway media villagers genuflected before Timmeh! Russert, praising him as a great reporter. Really?
This would be the same Timmeh! Russert who allowed the Neocon war mongers of the Bush-Cheney regime to use Meet The Press to “catapult the propaganda” (as C-Plus Augustus George W. Bush famously said) to sell an unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq to the American people.
Some of Dick “Darth Vader” Cheney’s greatest lies were told to Timmeh! Russert on Meet The Press, and Timmeh! never once challenged Cheney on his bogus “facts.” Dick Cheney’s ‘Meet The Press’ Greatest Hits Of 2001-2003. Timmeh! was an enabler for the Bush-Cheney regime propaganda — as was every other Sunday morning bobblehead show.
Whether Republicans are in control or not in control in Washington, it doesn’t matter. The Sunday morning bobblehead shows always feature Republicans. The genre of the Sunday morning bobblehead show is essentially “What do Republicans think?” on any given topic of the day. The Beltway media is nothing more than a GOP echo chamber.
And why wouldn’t they be? The reporters you see on your tee-vee are all in the top 2% of income earners. Even the lowest paid talking head you see makes six figures; the anchors make several million. They are the GOP’s constituency. They all use the same tax attorneys and accountants, and they all attend each others Georgetown and Alexandria cocktail parties. Several Beltway reporters have married the politicians they cover (e.g., Mrs. Greenspan, Andrea Mitchell). It’s all so incestuous.
Steve Benen has documented the Sunday morning bobblehead show GOP echo chamber effect for the past two years. In 2013:
The general impression is rooted in fact: the Sunday shows love Republicans. “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” “This Week,” “State of the Union,” and “Fox News Sunday,” hoping to reflect and help shape the conventional wisdom for the political world, collectively favor GOP guests over Democratic guests every year, but who were the big winners in 2013?
The above chart shows every political figure who made 10 or more Sunday show appearances this year, with red columns representing Republicans and blue columns representing Democrats. For 2013, the race wasn’t especially close – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) easily came out on top, making 27 appearances this year. That works out to an average of one appearance every 1.9 weeks (or 2.25 Sunday show appearances a month, every month for a year).
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who led the race for much of the year, ended up in second place with 24 appearances over 52 weeks. As a consolation prize, it’s worth noting that McCain made 21 Sunday show appearances in 2012, so while he couldn’t match Rogers’ 2013 tally, at least the Arizona Republican saw a significant increase.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R), who hasn’t served in public office since resigning in disgrace 15 years ago, was tied for third place with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of only a few Democrats to make the cut.
In all, 10 of the top 13 are Republicans, as are six of the top seven.
And now in 2014:
Just like last year, I tallied up the guests for “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” “This Week,” “State of the Union,” and “Fox News Sunday,” and once again, Republican voices easily outnumbered their Democratic counterparts. In fact, this year was even more one-sided in the GOP’s favor.
The above chart shows every political figure who made 10 or more Sunday show appearances this year — based on Nexis transcripts and the shows’ archives — with red columns representing Republicans, blue columns representing Democrats, and purple columns representing those who aren’t part of either party. Rogers easily outpaced the field last year with 27 appearances, and this year, he did even better, making 30 appearances. To put that in perspective, that works out to an average of roughly one appearance every 1.7 weeks (or 2.5 Sunday show appearances a month, every month for a year).
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) was the only other person to reach 20 appearances this year, though he still ended up trailing Rogers by a large margin. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a Sunday-show staple for a generation, was third with 15, tied with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the non-partisan head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who made a flurry of media appearances to discuss the Ebola threat in the fall.
But further down the rankings, some interesting numbers pop up.
For example, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the more popular guests this year, to the point that he made more appearances than any Democratic official in Congress or in the Obama administration. In fact, 15 people made 10 or more appearances on Sunday shows this year, and only three Democrats made the cut – and they’re all at the bottom of the list.
Of the 15 most frequent guests, 14 are men. All 15 are white.
* * *
[T]he five major Sunday shows represent a political institution of sorts, highlighting the kinds of voices and ideas the Beltway media considers important. The discussions held on these programs help reflect – and in many cases, shape – the conventional wisdom for the political establishment in D.C.
And a little too often, these discussions suggest to the public that it’s Republicans whose views drive the conversations that matter.
The next time you hear a Republican complain about the “liberal media,” your reaction should be “What liberal media?” It’s a wonder that Democrats, Progressives and Liberals can get their message out at all. All political conversation in the Beltway media echo chamber is shaped in the context of “What do Republicans think?” on any given topic of the day.
There is no diversity of guests on the Sunday morning bobblehead shows (white, male, Republican) and the diversity of views tends to be limited to conservative and far-right. I am convinced that we would all be better off if this “political institution” went the way of the dinosaur and disappeared. The Sunday morning bobblehead shows have ceased to serve any useful purpose in informing the public. They are just a GOP echo chamber.