Commentary

Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down

Editor's note: Barry Friedman is filling in for Wayne Friedman, who is on vacation this week.)

It's not like Kris Kristofferson didn't warn us:
Well, I woke up Sunday mornin'
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt....

Which brings us to, as Calvin Trillin calls them, “The Sabbath Gasbags.”

From May 29th to June 26th, on NBC's Meet the Press, only two current Republican officeholders appeared (Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon, 6/12, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson, 6/26); on CBS' Face the Nation, during the same period, four (Hutchinson, 5/29, Penn. Sen. Patrick Toomey, 6/5, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, twice, 5/29 and 6/12, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, 6/26); on ABC's This Week, four (Kinzinger twice, 5/29 and 6/19, South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice, 6/5, and Noem, 6/26); and on CNN's State of the Union, four: (Kinzinger and Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, 5/29, New York Rep. Chris Jacobs, 6/12, and Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, 6/19).

It's noteworthy that Upton, Jacobs, Toomey, and Kinzinger (who appears on so many of the shows, he should have keys to the Green Room by now) are retiring; Rice, one of 10 Republican House members to vote to impeach Donald Trump, was defeated in his primary; and Hutchinson, who wants to be president, is term-limited.

If we exclude FOX News Sunday, only three current Republicans seeking re-election (Bacon, Noem, who wants to be president, and Crenshaw) appeared.

By contrast, 20 current Democratic officeholders stopped by.

So what's going on?

Considering that much of the discussion on the shows lately concerns the culpability of the ex-president, a Republican, in encouraging a mob to attack the Capitol, as well as GOP cowardice around that ex-president, who can blame party officials for not wanting to wake up early on Sundays just so Jake Tapper can ask them why they are being fawning Trumpian sycophants?

According to Pew Research Center, even with the current bifurcation in the country, the number of people tuning in to the Sunday shows has not changed much since 2016. As of March, Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and This Week are all averaging between 3 and 3.5 million viewers (Fox News Sunday is coming in around 1.6 million) and have been for years, regardless of who is booked.

At their best, the shows elucidate the complexity in governing; at their worst, they allow shameless hacks to fling poo. Take Rudy Giuliani -- and his ubiquity on Sunday mornings during the Trump Administration, highlighted by his appearance on Meet the Press, when he said “Truth isn’t truth.”

Soon after, host Chuck Todd said he was banning election deniers from the broadcast.

By December, however, Todd tweeted: “You don't know when somebody you think deserves to be banned is suddenly somebody that you've got to deal with. Because you may not like them, but they have the power."

'Cause there's something in a Sunday
Makes a body feel alone.

2 comments about "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down".
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  1. Michael Giuseffi from American Media Inc, July 5, 2022 at 5 p.m.

    I guess if you have no popular or useful policy ideas how can go on national tv to present or defend them.

    Vote Democrat across the board in November like your life depended on it.  Because it does.

    Even for dog catcher. 

  2. Stuart Jay from jay consulting, July 5, 2022 at 5:32 p.m.

    Meet the Press used to be appointment viewing for me. I LOVED Russert. Never missed the show. Now I can't watch the show. I haven't watched Meet the Press in over 6 months, and have no plans to watch it until there is a change of host. Tim must be rolling over in his grave. Too bad. 

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