The show had been on for only a couple of years when I first arrived in Washington, and among the young liberals I knew it was widely loathed, though universally watched. The lineup of regular panelists–Pat Buchanan, Robert Novak, Jack Germond, plus Mort Kondracke or Eleanor Clift—was supposedly balanced. But in fact it pitting three hard right ideologues (including McLaughlin himself) against two center-left journalists, so the left side of the panel always seemed defensive and outmatched—which is exactly how it felt to be on the left in Washington during the Reagan years. Roger Ailes, the Fox News president recently ousted on charges of sexual harassment, is widely credited as a genius for creating the “fair and balanced” cable network, but it was McLaughlin who first figured out the winning formula.
And McLaughlin's show was often more genuinely "fair and balanced" than most, where often those "center-left" journalists are replaced by one "mainstream" journalist.
If it's Sunday, it's conservative.