Tuesday, December 31, 2013

There's no "liberal media" on the Republican-friendly Sunday talk-show circuit

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Our friend Steve Benen performs yet another valuable service in identifying who made the most appearances on the major Sunday talk shows in 2013:

You'll note the obvious, and if you've been paying attention you'll see confirmed what you saw this past year:

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.


In all, 10 of the top 13 are Republicans, as are six of the top seven.

I actually had no idea that Rogers had made that many appearances (though it makes sense that the media would favor him, given his intelligence role, just like McCaul with his homeland security role), but otherwise it's the usual suspects, the right-wing darlings who command the media attention in Washington, notably McCain, Gingrich (who of course doesn't even hold office), Graham, Paul, and King.

Sure, there are a few Democrats on the list, but they're of the establishment variety (Durbin, Schumer) or otherwise on the right wing of the party (Manchin, likely there in large measure for his bipartisan efforts to enact pro-gun gun control after Newtown). And while there are a number of far-right Republicans on the list (Cruz, Corker, Paul), there are no genuine progressives at all.

So it's not just that Republicans are favored, it's that the media's "middle," and so what passes for centrism and bipartisanism in Washington and then by extension across the country, is way over on the right. If you didn't know better, you'd think that Democrats don't control the White House and Senate and didn't win the popular vote in House races in 2012 and that the country is basically aligned with the likes of McCain, Graham, and Ayotte, as if they are the American "center."

Which is to say, based on the Sunday talk shows, the news media, skewing not liberal but conservative, not only provide a platform for Republican views, allowing them to overwhelm opposing views, but create and reinforce the public perception that the "center" is Republican, that the country is largely Republican, and that on most issues the Republicans are right. In other words, the media overwhelmingly Republican narratives and allow Republicans to define and control the political media landscape, obviously shaping public opinion in the process, even as Republicans continue to spin the lie that the media are somehow liberal.

That Republicans engage in deception and dishonesty as a matter of course is hardly anything new. But what's becoming clearer and clearer is that the media are not just letting them get away with it but actively playing along. If you want yet another indication of just how corrupt and out-of-touch Washington is, there you go.

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