Sunday, January 28, 2007

 

Sunday Talk Shows Scoreboard, January 28, 2007

Notes on the shows: Who's in charge here?

That is my question after watching the absurd display presented by the network talk shows this Sunday. Meet the Press and Fox News Sunday, both led off with Republican presidential candidates, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, respectively. Both initial interviews quickly glossed over Iraq in the first two to three minutes before devolving into discussions of family values, abortion and religion. This display of irresponsibility was nothing short of abhorrent behavior against the public interest by NBC's Tim Russert and Fox's Chris Wallace and the producers of both shows.

Fox fell even further into the abyss, trotting out Senator Joe Lieberman on as their next guest. Lieberman tried once again to paint the November 2006 as a rejection of "partisanship" rather than the true repudiation of the President's policies.

NBC at least made an attempt at balance with NY Senator Charles Schumer as their second guest. Senator David Vitter (R-LA), a supporter of the President's "troop surge" and opponent of regional diplomacy, followed up with more talk of escalation and even mentioned that he may be amenable to sending even more troops.

ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous was no less disheartening. The dueling Senators, Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Richard Lugar, at least - from Biden's perspective - discussed the merits of the surge and touched on Iran. Unfortunately, the discussion was too short (about 10 minutes) to be meaningful. The pundit round table didn't mention Iraq except in the context of the 2008 presidential election, preferring to focus on the proposed health care tax breaks offered by Bush in the State of the Union message and the far-off primaries.

Senator Jim Webb of Virginia waffled badly on Face the Nation, saying he's not opposed to the War in Iraq and not opposed to the president's surge policy, couching his criticism in abstractions like "opposed to the strategic mistake" and the president's "lack of a strategy."

Bob Schieffer's commentary on "the truth" was poignant and, in the current environment, rather risky. His criticism of how the government and the military has shaded (and often outright lied) about the war in Iraq and other issues, should strike a nerve in the collective consciousness. We can only hope.

Nowhere was there any mention of Saturday's 7 American deaths in Iraq nor the massive anti-war rally on the National Mall on Saturday, except for CBS, who opened their show with video from the rally on Face the Nation. The trial of "Scooter" Libby was given a short discussion by Fox's panel. Not a word was spoken about the Senate's rejection of a minimum wage increase (due to the efforts of the Republican minority) or the soon-to-be-reconvened Senate Intelligence Committee investigating pre-war intelligence - reports from which Vice President Dick Cheney office has consistently sought to delay.

In the end, watching the Sunday morning shows is a depressing experience for anyone who believes in a free, open American society with a responsible, free, fair press. The misuse of the public airwaves by the media giants which control them is appalling. It's obvious that the American public is being disserved by television media and that the only truth in journalism can be found on carefully selected internet sites and progressive radio stations.

For example, take these two articles from the highly-regarded political newsletter, CounterPunch: What's Really Going on in Baghdad by Patrick Cockburn, and Why Can't Americans See What's Coming? by Paul Craig Roberts.

The titles of the Counterpunch articles alone offer an insight to the divergence of opinion and disagreement of what important journalism really is. While the mainstream TV media glosses over Iraq and debates family values and the 2008 election, real journalism is reporting directly from Baghdad and probing the president's pending attack on Iraq.

TV media failed in the run up to the war in Iraq, they have continued to fail, are failing us now and will continue to fail with a flawed, audacious sense of self-importance and faulty journalistic reasoning.

Make no mistake, the Congress won't prevent the president from sending more troops to Iraq and elsewhere and the widening of the war - including Iran - is now a distinct possibility. Even after the resounding victories by Democrats in the mid-term elections, the president's power is still absolute, the Congress - especially the Senate - continues to abrogate its responsibility and the media whitewashes all debate and discussion.

January 28 Sunday Talk Shows Scorecard

Week 12


















































Show Guests Score WeeKTotal Cum. Total* Cum. %**
Meet the Press (NBC) Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Senators Vitter (R), Charles Schumer (D) 1 1-3 10-32 31.25
Fox News Sunday (FOX) Senators Sam Brownback (D), Joe Lieberman (I), 0 0-2 13-32 40.63
This Week (ABC) Senators Richard Lugar (R), Joe Biden (D), Representative Dncan Hunter (R) 1 1-3 17-34 50.00
Face the Nation (CBS) Senators Jim Webb (D), Arlen Spector (R), Mitch McConnell (R) 1 1-3 10-24 41.66
Total for week, all shows (12 weeks) all guests 3 3-11 50-122 40.98


*Total of progressive/Democrat guests to total # of guests.
**Total percentage of shows beginning with Sunday, November 12.
Chart updated weekly each Sunday.

How well are the Sunday News Talk shows presenting the progressive/Democratic point-of-view?

We look at the guests each show offers and award them a point for every one that is either an elected Democrat or shares the values of the progressive left and a zero for every one that does not. Generally, Democratic party guests get a 1; Republicans and all others, a zero.

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