Our friends and family, especially those who live more than 100 miles from the Washington, DC Metropolitan area, are surprised to learn that Yleem and I rarely watch any of the Sunday political talk shows. That may soon change, and I’ll tell you why in a second. But first, I’ll share with you a few reasons why we purposely tune out the Sunday fluff.
The content is mostly fluff and, take this to the bank, it is never hard news. People want to know how the political sausage is made, but viewers have been condition to expect less than that from news outlets. It requires a very enterprising and persistent journalist to extract it. I can get that from James O’Keefe or any other of a handful of liberal, such as Pro Publica, or conservative who tune out the headlines and focus on exposing waste, fraud, or abuse, and a whole lot more. And the great thing about it all, it is just a mouse click or YouTube channel away.
With so much information on the Internet, so long as you’re sorting through reliable sources of data (easier said than done), you’ll learn a whole lot more in a few clicks than listening to talking heads or politicians tell you what you think you should know. But the Sunday talk shows also have access to a very talented pool of front line journalists – on and off television – who work sources and follow story leads. It is not an easy job and sometimes I wonder if the producers for these shows talk to their news gatherers?
Granted, Yleem and I are not the average or target viewer of these programs. And we also have a slight edge in sorting through the fluff since we also have more than close to forty years of combined experiences in the policy and political machines. If you count our pre-DC years, that number is much higher.
However, there was a time that these Sunday shows broke more than the latest set of talking points from the Hill or K Street or, worse, news entities trying to “be the news”. Not too long ago, we learned a lot from these shows. Today that Sunday talk show circuit has become very phony. And, boring. Then there is the “gotcha interviews,” that are, again, phony baloney.
Maria Bartiromo now has her own show now on Fox News. She is Fox’s Global Markets Editor and, if she remains true to her CNBC ways and method, we may just tune in or record her Sunday show. She told the Daily Beast recently:
Bartiromo prides herself on not doing “gotcha interviews” … Bartiromo said her Sunday show, which will air at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, will be different from such staples as Meet the Press and Face the Nation in that it will focus on business and the economy, and feature guests who actually “get their hands dirty” running businesses, representing workers, or meeting a payroll.
“I feel like you turn on all the political shows and it’s all the politicos talking their talking points, and very rarely do you get anybody connecting the dots,” she said. “I’m hopefully going to be able to give business a voice in the conversation on Sundays. So rather than hearing from a politico who says tax reform should look like this, immigration reform looks like that, I would rather have a CEO say, ‘Look, I have all these billions overseas, and I’m not gonna bring the money back because here’s what I need tax reform to look like.’ Or, ‘Look, I have all this money that I would like to create jobs with, but I’m not gonna do that because I can’t find the skill sets required.’…So my goal is to really get people with a stake in the ground on the air.”
If she does it right, and Fox News allows her to develop the program to more than sound bites interviews, she can expect politicians lining up at her studio door. There are a lot of people in this town who would welcome a new format and focus to the Sunday talk show circuit. Some folks think they are a thing of the past. We disagree. A lot happens in this town every week and the American people deserve and want a solid summary every now and then. The Sunday Fluff shows could play a vital role in that process.