On her MSNBC show Rachel Maddow called out the Sunday talk shows for their conservative bias.
Here is the video:
Rachel Maddow began, “I will admit right off the bat this is petty. I’ll admit it, but it is also true, and it has got to drive Democrats and the White House absolutely nuts. Here it is. Republican Senator Dick Luger, Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani, Republican former congressman Tom Davis. The Bush administration’s CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden, the Bush Administration Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Michael Chertoff, the Bush administration’s Homeland Security secretary, the Bush administration’s defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, the Bush administration’s vice president Dick Cheney, the Bush administration’s vice president’s daughter Liz Cheney. The week the Obama administration announces it has killed Osama Bin Laden that’s the guest list on the Sunday morning political talk shows to talk about it.”
She continued, “The Sunday shows are supposedly the apex of political debate. The pulsing, throbbing heart of what’s going on in American politics. Is the biggest story in American politics right now now retirees from the Bush administration and how they feel about stuff, plus Dick Luger? Honestly this is the roster, this is Sunday morning in all its thundering seriousness? Now among those nine Bush administration officials and other Republican politicians there were three outliers, Senator John Kerry, also a former White House communications director Anita Dunn and one current White House official Tom Donilon the national security adviser but the week the Obama administration announces Bin Laden is dead the measure of serious and importance in Washington is 3-1, Bush administration and Republican officials. Why is that?”
You, me, Rachel Maddow, and anyone else with a set of eyes knows why Republicans were featured on the Sunday shows. The corporate controlled media wanted to make sure that the Bush administration got to take credit for the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Maddow won’t come out and say it because she works for Comcast, but the truth is that since the late 1990s the Sunday talk shows have catered to the conservative point of view.
When I originally wrote about this on Saturday, I pointed out the obvious conservative media bias that was involved in the decisions to book six former Bush administration officials compared to one current Obama White House official. This was a conscious decision by the people who book the Sunday shows to feature the pro-Republican point of view.
From 1997-2005 Republicans had an advantage on the Sunday shows. During the Clinton administration more than half of the guests were conservatives. During Bush’s first term 58% of the guests were Republicans. These numbers have only gotten worse over time. Today, at least a 2-1 Republican to Democrat advantage is the norm.
I disagree with Maddow on one point. There is absolutely nothing petty about this issue. She knows that in politics those who control television control the message. This isn’t about complaining over who got more bookings. Progressives have argued that Democrats are bad with messaging, but in the case of the death of Bin Laden, Democrats had a message but the media chose to ignore it and fill the airtime with Bush administration has beens.
If Republicans rule the airwaves they get to shape public perception and reaction. Bias creates an uneven playing field for discussion and ideas. The public ends up less informed. This is why media bias in any form matters. It matters a lot. I know it is hard for those who work in the mainstream media to directly confront conservative media bias. Rachel Maddow has recently discussed why the media won’t cover liberals, but because she appears on Meet The Press from time to time she may have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to the scope and danger of conservative media bias.
Conservative media bias is very real. Instead of going halfway on it, Democrats need to confront it and challenge the mainstream media. There is nothing trivial about wanting to see both points of view represented in the media, but until Democrats demand equal treatment conservative media bias is here to stay.