The ratings for Meet The Press continue to crumble as the American people continue to show no interest in the pro-Republican Sunday morning show format.
Last week Meet The Press finished third in Sunday show viewership with just over two million viewers. The program trailed both CBS’ Face The Nation, and ABC’s This Week in viewership. Meet The Press has struggled with David Gregory as host, and nothing they are doing to revive the show is working. NBC has contemplated dumping host David Gregory, but the rumored swap of Gregory for Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough could take a bad situation and make it exponentially worse.
There have been reports of conflicts among the Meet The Press staff with David Gregory over the style and substance of the show. NBC has tried to reinvent Meet The Press by doing more taped segments outside of their Washington, D.C. studio, but viewership isn’t turning around. The problems surrounding David Gregory’s disconnect with the audience and issues with guests are well known. A deeper issue the fact that the guest structure of Meet The Press is turning off a large segment of the political audience.
Most of the Sunday morning shows are heavily biased towards Republicans. In 2013, three of the four English language broadcast network Sunday shows gave the majority of their solo interviews to conservatives. Face The Nation, Meet The Press, and Fox News Sunday all favored conservatives. Meet The Press favored the right over the left by a margin of 48%-35%. Right-wing guests outnumbered left-wing guests on Face The Nation, Meet The Press and Fox News Sunday for the entire year last year.
Many blamed David Gregory for this pro-Republican bias, but Republicans outnumbered Democrats 2 to 1 when Tim Russert hosted Meet The Press. The difference between Gregory and Russert is that Russert was better at giving off an air of objectivity, even if his show was fundamentally the same as Gregory’s.
Meet The Press is declining because the country is changing. Shows that are dominated by conservative and Republican guests are reflective of a majority of the country. As the Republicans have moved more to the right, the Sunday shows have become a platform for their radical views. Instead of keeping up with the leftward social shift in America, the Sunday shows are interviewing Rick Perry and giving John McCain a virtually weekly slot on national television.
David Gregory is just a symptom. The disease that will eventually kill Meet The Press is pro-Republican bias.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association