Talk shows are accustomed to notoriously short lead times to respond to current events with appropriate guests but they had plenty of time to get White House staff or related people on their shows to discuss the ramifications of going into Pakistan and getting bin Laden, etc. So what did they do? They scheduled a bevy of Republican and former Bush Administration guests to quarterback the President’s operation; a point that did not escape the notice of The Daily Show’s comedy writers the following evening. Seems more than a little odd that a Democratic President gets public enemy number one and the talk shows spend their morning interviewing the previous administration that didn’t even show much interest in doing so. Admittedly, it was kind of fun watching all the Bush administration people thrash about for excuses for their failure to catch or kill bin Laden, justify their use of torture, spin so hard to take credit for Obama’s operation that it made one dizzy, and search for creative ways to deny President Obama any credit whatsoever.
I think the ratio on the talk show circuit wound up being nine Republicans versus three Democrats or 3:1 (6:1 if you’re counting Bush administration officials to Obama official
Then last night, Rachel Maddow‘s research staff looked into this coming Sunday’s line-up and noticed a similar trend only much more pronounced; 8:1. Republicans Nikki Haley, Sheila Bair, Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John Kyl, Ron Paul, versus the one lone Democrat, Dick Durbin.
These past two weeks do seem a little one-sided. I’ve always felt that there were a few more Republican pundits hanging around the network green rooms than Democrats and I’ve always wondered about the political leanings of particular talk show hosts; for example: David Gregory strikes me as conservative, Amanpour, not so much. Crowley? Completely conservative. Schieffer? Can’t tell.
So I thought I’d do a little back-of-the-envelope calculation since we list the guests of the Sunday shows in our ‘Hot Fudge Sunday’ segment. Here are the parameters: since I’m testing to see if there is a preponderance of Republican guests I decided to rule out Fox News Sunday from this experiment (in the interest of being fair and balanced, of course). I’ll presume few would legitimately argue with me that a conservative bias exists at the old Faux Noise. So I’m looking at ABC’s ‘This Week’, CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’, NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’, and CNN’s ‘State of the Union’.
Second, I used the Hot Fudge Sunday segments from 2011 only. Third, since each Hot Fudge Sunday segment has been written by different people, there may be some continuity errors (for example: some may have left a guest off or missed a guest that appeared on multiple shows). I also glossed over a couple of ambassadors to foreign countries, movie stars or others not necessarily politically affiliated, and focused on mainly US Government officials and politicians. Finally, we get our information from Politico and I haven’t taken the time to verify that their information is comprehensive, ie: are the people they list guests or members of a round table format.
My results for the four networks from January 2nd to May 8 are:
- 98 Republicans
- 88 Democrats
- 4 Joe Liebermans (not sure what to do about that one)
If you include tomorrow’s guests, it gets a little more lopsided:
- 106 Republicans
- 89 Democrats
- 4 Liebermans
Still, there doesn’t appear to be too much inequity (particularly if you add Lieberman to the Democrat column). Here is the breakdown by network (not counting Liebermans):ABC
- 18 Dem
- 25 Rep
- 21 Dem
- 14 Rep
- 21 Dem
- 26 Rep
- 26 Dem
- 33 Rep
How about that? CBS seems to be the most Liberal of the bunch while the others lean a little right (talkin’ to you, NBC). This is actually how I view the networks with the exception of CBS. On my spectrum the networks run from least conservative to most conservative: NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN. I guess I’ll have to give Bob Schieffer and CBS new consideration.
Just for fun, let’s see how FOX measures up:FOX
- 12 Dem
- 32 Rep
No real surprise there. Fair and balanced for Republicans only. Remember, this is not a scientific comparison, it’s just for fun. See the Media Matters article below for a more thorough analysis. Does this mean that the four non-Fox networks actually lean to the right? Yes, in one degree or another. They are large corporations which do not typically benefit from a liberal slant (MSNBC notwithstanding). It could be that they lean to starboard as a reaction to the hard-right jerking of FOX News pulling them off-center.
Liberal media bias is a myth; a fabricated propaganda phantom that the right uses to push a conservative message that the networks have no choice but to respond to for ratings. It’s no wonder conservatives want to kill Public Broadcasting; the last non-biased dose of reality in America. It also explains why a comedian, Jon Stewart, is the most trusted man in the news.
- Conservative Media Bias: Bush Officials Outnumber Obama 6 to 1 On Sunday Shows (PoliticusUSA.com)
- If It’s Sunday, It’s Still Conservative (Media Matters)
- Former Bush Staffers Outnumbered Democrats On Sunday Morning Shows Three to One (Mediaite)