WASHINGTON, D.C. - March 15 - Three
days after the release of Media Matters for
America's report documenting the continued dominance of
Republican and conservative voices on the influential network Sunday morning
shows, representatives from two of the shows in question, CBS' Face the Nation and Fox Broadcasting
Co.'s Fox News Sunday, have
finally broken their silence, while NBC's Meet the Press has failed to respond entirely. In their
responses, Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday failed to address the
findings of the report, "If It's Sunday, It's Still Conservative."
Face the Nation's Carin
Pratt, responding to the study's finding that her show hosted Republican
Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) nine times in 2005 and 2006, said: "We love Graham. He's a
great guy." Pratt then offered a defense of the overwhelming number of
appearances of administration officials, including Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, saying, "It doesn't matter whether Secretary Rice is a
conservative or a liberal. She's the secretary of state."
FACT: Face the Nation is the worst offender when it comes to
giving solo interviews to conservatives and Republicans over progressives and
Democrats. Pratt's comments about Rice suggest that Pratt believes it is
appropriate for Face the Nation to
consistently offer those in power, but not those who may disagree with them,
access to the airwaves, and to host more Republicans than Democrats overall.
And there is another critical question raised by this latest report that Pratt
has not addressed: In November 2006, Democrats won both houses of Congress.
Either the programs are hosting a debate between two sides, or they are simply
interviewing those in power. Either way, the shift of Congress to Democratic
control should have brought about a dramatic change in their guest lists, but
it has not. Face the Nation has
continued the same pattern of giving a significant advantage to Republicans
representative stated, "We want to thank Media
Matters for drawing attention to 'Fox News Sunday,' which is the
most quoted program in the Monday morning newspapers."
FACT: Fox News Sunday failed to address the report's
findings entirely. In 2005 and 2006, the program offered twice as many
interviews to conservatives and Republicans as progressives and Democrats.
Meet the Press has yet to comment
about the current
report, although, last year the show's executives were quick to respond
by remarking that "the party holding the presidency also has a cabinet
full of major newsmaker guests that speak to U.S. policy matters."
FACT: Meet the Press made no improvement in the balance
of total guest appearances during the 109th congress (2005-2006) and
after the 2006 elections. During those periods, the show granted the vast
majority of its solo interviews to Republicans and conservatives at a rate of nearly
2 to 1 and has provided less balance between Republican and Democratic
officials than Fox New Sunday.
This morning, Media Matters commended ABC's This
being the only Sunday morning network talk show with a balanced lineup of
guests on the right and left since Democrats took control of Congress in the
2006 midterm elections.
Reports from earlier this
week in The Politico and TV Week had NBC and CBS refusing to
comment on the new study, because they "believe[d] they answered the same
charges last year" when they responded to Media Matters' original report, "If It's
Sunday, It's Conservative." Their responses last year however are
easily debunked by the post-2006 election analysis in Media Matters' new report.
networks said in response to the original report:
Face the Nation's Carin
"Republicans are in power. I bet you'd find the same thing during Clinton's
Meet the Press' Betsy
Fischer said: "One
needs to consider that the party holding the presidency also has a cabinet full
of major newsmaker guests that speak to U.S. policy matters -- Defense,
State, Justice, Treasury, etc. The same would be true for the eight years of
administration when the cabinet was, by and large, filled with
most recent report shows that although control of Congress has switched hands, network practices
remain largely unchanged; the under-representation of Democrats
and progressives has continued in the months following the midterm
elections. Data presented in Media Matters 2007 report calls last
year's claims by CBS and NBC into question.
"Meet the Press, Face the Nation, and
Fox News Sunday have been offering conservatives the advantage on
Sunday mornings for years," said Karl Frisch, spokesman for Media Matters for America. "It's unfortunate that these shows haven't
taken the path paved by ABC's This Week. It isn't hard to provide a
level playing field to the right and left. This
Week has. and these shows can do the same -- they can start this weekend."
About the Report & Media Matters for America
The report analyzed
ABC's This Week, CBS'
Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press, and Fox Broadcasting
Co.'s Fox News Sunday, classifying each of the more than 2,000
guests in 2005 and 2006 as well as guests since the 2006 midterm elections by
party and/or ideology. It follows on last year's report, "If
It's Sunday, It's Conservative," which analyzed more than
7,000 guests on the Sunday shows during the Clinton and Bush presidencies and
found a Republican-conservative tilt during both administrations. As the new
findings demonstrate, despite some improvement, considered as a whole the
Sunday shows still don't offer a full range of diverse view to the
Matters for America
is a not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to
comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative
misinformation in the U.S.
available online at www.SundayShowReport.com.