Monday, October 08, 2018

Roundtable Project

The Sunday Show guest imbalance used to be one of my weird obsessions. I sort of gave up when the response to Media Matters after they did a couple of comprehensive studies was basically "suck it." They can always justify their main guests - the current news of the week warrants it, the majority in power of course has a bigger voice, the minority not in power deserves a bigger voice (weird how this excuse flips depending on well you know), they can't help it if every Democrat turns them down, where are all the white wimmin at, etc.

But aside from the particular news guests (senators, Cabinet members...) there is also the "news roundtable." You know, 3 or 4 guests plus the moderator chat about the week. I've long had trouble with this format, even aside from the ideological makeup of the guests, because it's never made any sense to me how supposedly "straight" journalists (objective, neutral, unbiased, whatever we call them this week) are paired up with ideological actors. Often not genuine opinion journalists, but real ideological activists.

There is also the ideological makeup of the guests. You never ever find one of these panels leaning liberally. When I write "never" I am almost not exaggerating. If you want to prove "never" is not accurate you can spend your day finding an example. You might succeed but your labors will have proven my point. A typical panel is moderator, 3 journalists, one conservative. Sometimes they mix that up with 2 journalists, one liberal, one conservative. And sometimes they surprise you with 2 journalists and 2 conservatives! More common than you think! What you never see is, say, three journalists and 1 liberal. If 2 liberals are in the same green room the streams have been crossed.

There's always a problem IDing guests. I don't want to argue about whether a supposed "straight" journalist is really a secret conservative, or similarly whether that "presidential historian" is liberal or conservative in his heart. I go by how they self-ID or what is implied by their job title. If they don't self-ID as ideological (or can't avoid it because of their job title) I'll stick them in the "neutral" category.

So, 10/7:

This Week roundtable:

ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd, former New Jersey Governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie, Politico Congressional Reporter Rachael Bade, and Vice News Washington Bureau Chief Shawna Thomas.

2 "straight journalists," 1 former Bush republican who spends all day tweeting about the two parties have failed us, and 1` former republican governor. Given Dowd's supposed job, I'll score it 3-1-0.

Meet the Press roundtable:

Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian, Danielle Pletka, of the American Enterprise Institute; Kasie Hunt, Capitol Hill correspondent, and Republican strategist Al Cardenas.

1 "straight journalist," 1 neutral historian, 2 conservative activists. Score 2-2-0.

Face the Nation:

Seung Min Kim of the Washington Post. John Harris, editor-in-chief of Politico. Nancy Cordes, the chief congressional correspondent at CBS.

3 journalists, Score 3-0-0.

Score 8 neutrals, 3 conservatives, and 0 unicorns.

If it's Sunday...