Did you know that Senator John McCain has been the most frequent guest on more Sunday morning TV talk shows than any body else? No wonder people think he's going to be the next Republican president; with that much face time, you become so familiar, your opponents just drop out of sight and out of mind of the viewers.
In case you missed it, because it's about big media - and big media doesn't take to broadcasting its prejudices very well - last February, Media Matters For America released the results of its nine-year study on whether or not there is a bias on the Sunday morning talk shows.
Oddly enough, there is, but it's not a liberal bias, it's a major tilt to the right.
And it doesn't seem to matter all that much which party's in power in the government, conservatives (we use this term loosely, as it's been pretty hard to find a real, 1950's-style Republican for some time now) are always over-represented. For instance, the study found that:
In both the Clinton and Bush administrations, conservative journalists were far more likely to appear on the Sunday shows than were progressive journalists. In Clinton's second term, 61 percent of the ideologically identifiable journalists were conservative; in Bush's first term, that figure rose to 69 percent.You know, before I started writing for blogs, I would sit and watch these talking heads shows, and ask myself just who these guys were, how are they getting all this face time? This guy David Brooks is from The New York Times, so why does he make these preposterous statements? How about these yelling clowns on The McLaughlin Report? Where's the fucking reporting? And that Gwen Ifel, what an Aunt Jemiamah she is.
I wasn't being critical in any calculated or systematic way, it was just my gut feeling that I wasn't getting any kind of real persepective on current events. So this survey just shows that my instincts were correct, all these talk shows are just a lot of jive talking, and ABC's Stephanopolous is just as bad as anybody else's show.
I'm sure that many of these talking heads (and political writers) really believe what they are spouting, but the producers of the shows have internalized the zeitgeist so thoroughly that they no longer are able to tell red from green, and book the shows in a reflexive and automoton-like way, but at some point, even the neocon philosopher Francis Fukuyama and The New Republic's Peter Beinart realized that they had backed the wrong horse.
I'll leave you with this quote from Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. After you have read it, reflect on Dan Rather's recent near-lynching and subsequent shabby treatment at CBS.
In a highly developed society, the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going: the soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, transport and communications workers, garbage men and firemen. These people - the employed, the somewhat privileged - are drawn into alliance with the elite. They become the guards of the system, buffers between the upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system falls.
That will happen, I think, only when all of us who are slightly privileged and slightly uneasy begin to see that we are like the guards in the prison uprising at Attica — expendable; that the Establishment, whatever rewards it gives us, will also, if necessary to maintain its control, kill us.