One of the most overlooked and disturbing trends in the media over the past few years have been the gradual slide of the Sunday morning network television news programs into nothing more than rating-driven tabloid nonsense. Not only that, these shows are also doing their best to prop up right wing extremist propaganda.
We saw that on full display this morning, when ABC News invited Senator Rick Scott as a guest, while ignoring the fact that just three months ago, he incited a deadly insurrection against the United States. Yes, this is the same ABC News that last night made the bizarrely false and easily refuted claim that President Biden’s poll numbers are somehow lower than Donald Trump’s poll numbers were.
Not to be outdone, CBS News used its Sunday morning show to interview Jon Voight, a man whose tweets and online videos make clear that he’s a deeply mentally disturbed conspiracy theorist. Giving him mainstream television airtime is beyond the pale in terms of irresponsibility and lack of interest in honest reporting.
Of course you can blame Chuck Todd for starting all of this. He’s spent years gradually turning the once-respected NBC Meet The Press into little more than a place where Republican guests can go to speak their lies without being challenged. When Democrats appear on Meet The Press, Chuck Todd pelts them with loaded questions and phony controversies, to the point that Democrats have largely found it pointless to even bother going on his show, thus giving even more airtime to lying Republicans.
Chuck Todd’s decision to turn Meet The Press into a right wing tabloid propaganda show has paid off in the ratings department, so unfortunately his Sunday morning competitors are now following the same blueprint. It’s how an insurrectionist like Rick Scott and an unstable individual like Jon Voight can end up getting the kid glove spotlight on national network television.
This trend is particularly dangerous because while most people don’t watch the Sunday morning shows, they do have a dedicated niche of viewers who tend to only watch political news on Sunday morning, meaning their diet consists of nothing but misinformation. Further, the networks tend to use clips from the Sunday morning shows on other programs as the week goes on, thus giving a broader audience to this worsening propaganda.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report