The Sunday morning shows once occupied a sacred space in American politics.
Today, many influential Washington players can’t even remember the last time they watched.
The public affairs shows — “Meet The Press,” “Face The Nation,” and “This Week” — used to set the agenda for the nation’s capital with their news-making interviews and immensely influential audience. Now the buzz around the shows is more likely to center on gossipy criticism about the hosts, notably Meet The Press’s David Gregory, whose fate has become an incessant subject of conversation, most recently in a Washington Post story on Monday. Meanwhile, fans complain about the recurrence of familiar guests — Sen. John McCain again? — who simply relay party talking points that often go unchallenged.
I haven’t watched a Sunday show in years, because I’m in church on Sunday morning. So this is news to me. Byers goes on to say that the fragmentation of mass media and the constant news cycle have rendered these shows somewhat irrelevant. I don’t know if it’s possible ever to bring them back, but you know what would be worth trying? Bring on some non-traditional types to talk about issues of politics, culture, and public life. Why not ask a philosopher, a theologian, even a novelist to address issues? I couldn’t possibly care less what John McCain says about anything, but I would love to know what, say Marilynne Robinson thinks about health care policy, or what Tom Wolfe has to say about immigration policy. Bring outside voices into the insular conversation. What could it hurt?