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MEDIA BUY-US: Are Sunday Talk Shows Leaning Further Right Than Ever Before?

In These Times writer Mike Elk had some strong words for NBC’s Meet the Press anchor, David Gregory, following an interview on Sunday in which Newt Gingrich was allowed to make unchallenged assertions about the ongoing Boeing v. National Labor Relations Board dispute:

While Meet the Press host David Gregory vigorously challanged Newt Ginrgrich on details of his personal life, he failed to challenge Gingrich on his false assertion that the NLRB was breaking the law by finding that Boeing punished workers for striking in Washington state by moving a planned new production line there to nonunion South Carolina. Despite the NLRB complaint against Boeing being one of the most high-profile NLRB cases in decades and entirely consistent with past legal precedent, Gregory failed to say anything.

His decision not to challenge Gingrich on the Boeing case is especially troubling since the main sponsor of Meet the Press is none other than Boeing. The top of Meet the Press’ website proudly boasts that the show is “sponsored by Boeing.” No other corporation is listed so prominently as a sponsor on the website. In addition, Boeing is the exclusive sponsor of Meet the Press’ the iPhone app.

By not challenging Gingrich’s outrageously false assertion that the NLRB is acting illegally by demanding that the company move production, Gregory did not do his duty as a journalist and allowed his audience to believe that the NLRB was indeed acting illegally. This is simply untrue.

Elk is certainly not the only one to notice Right-Wing slant on the day of rest. A Friday night post on popular micro-blog Political Carnival called the upcoming slate of political TV programs “Red Sunday,” highlighting an 8-to-1 ratio of Republican legislators representing:

Guess what?

Meet the Press: Newt Gingrich (R)

Face the Nation: John Boehner (R)

CNN’s State of the Union: Mitch McConnell (R), Paul Ryan (R), Former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart (D), Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson (R), retired Adm. Dennis Blair, and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Negroponte (R) – both directors of national intelligence in the last Bush administration.

This Week: Nikki Haley (R), Sheila Bair (R), chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

That’s what.

A week prior, there was outrage — albeit muted, hardly visible liberal media outrage :) — over Sunday Talk Show’s inviting a slew of former George W. Bush staffers to discuss the death of Osama Bin Laden. Obama administration officials, meanwhile, hardly appeared. From Mediaite:

The capture and killing of Osama bin Laden is unarguably the biggest foreign policy news to occur during the Obama Administration, and arguably the biggest foreign policy development of the last ten years. So how did the Sunday morning talk shows treat this huge news? By booking a bunch of former officials from the Bush administration. Or as Rachel Maddow asked last night, “Is the biggest story in American politics right now ‘retiree’s from the Bush administration and how they feel about stuff?’”

It turns out, though, that conservative media bias may not be new at all. Analysis of Sunday Talk Show appearances from 1997-2005 was released in 2006 by Media Matters. It found a drastic leap in conservative officials and pundits beginning with George Bush’s presidency in 2002:

The balance between Democrats/progressives and Republicans/ conservatives was roughly equal during Clinton’s second term, with a slight edge toward Republicans/conservatives: 52 percent of the ideologically identifiable guests were from the right, and 48 percent were from the left. But in Bush’s first term, Republicans/ conservatives held a dramatic advantage, outnumbering Democrats/progressives by 58 percent to 42 percent. In 2005, the figures were an identical 58 percent to 42 percent…

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.


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