Nation Media Blogger: Nets 'Afraid of the Far Right,' Tea Party Guests on Sunday Shows Aren’t ‘Grilled Terribly Hard’

July 10th, 2014 10:12 PM

When TV’s Sunday-morning political chat shows book conservative guests, maybe they’re just trying to be evenhanded, but The Nation media blogger Leslie Savan opined in a Tuesday post that often the programs do it so that the right will be less likely to badger them about their liberal bias. As Savan put it, “Sometimes seeking balance is really a plea to call off the dogs.”

What riled up Savan in the first place was one such booking, of Dinesh D’Souza on last Sunday’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” but she also griped about the Sunday shows generally letting Tea Party guests off easy (“It’s as if mainstream media are as afraid of the far right as John Boehner is”) as well as about “the corporate media…offer[ing] their stage to far-right media figures” including Laura Ingraham.

From Savan’s post (emphasis added):

In yet another of the MSM’s misbegotten attempts at political “balance,” ABC News’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos lent right-wing conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza a veneer of legitimacy to promote his latest “documentary,” America: Imagine the World Without Her…

The debate was between D’Souza and MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson, but giving a prestige platform for D’Souza’s latest wack-job theory (this time it’s a nefarious connection between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama) is akin to giving climate deniers equal media time with climate scientists…

D’Souza…went on about how Clinton and Obama were both influenced by radical community organizer and writer Saul Alinsky. Hillary met him in high school and wrote a college thesis on him; as a young community organizer in Chicago, Obama was influenced by some of Alinsky’s teachings.

And therefore…what? Hillary and Barack telepathically exchanged Alinsky vibes so they could turn the country red decades later?...Nor are secret socialist sympathies evident in these two centrist Democrats. Hillary, knocked by left and right for only ambiguously owning up to her substantial wealth, is more of a Wall Street symp[athizer]…As for Obama, if only he followed Alinsky’s emphasis on confrontation a little more.

This is hardly the first time the corporate media has offered their stage to far-right media figures. A few years ago, CNN signed up (and has since waved adieu)’s Erick Erickson and St. Louis Tea Party activist Dana Loesch as paid contributors. In April, ABC News brought on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham as a contributor; she’ll continue appearing on Fox News, where she subs for Bill O’Reilly...

It’s not that Tea Party types shouldn’t appear on the networks’ signature Sunday shows; they should, they’re in the news. It’s just that when they do, they’re not grilled terribly hard. It’s as if mainstream media are as afraid of the far right as John Boehner is.

…[Guests] like D’Souza or Ingraham help legitimize ABC News with the Tea Party right. Sometimes seeking balance is really a plea to call off the dogs.