In 2013 and 2014, then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) made more Sunday show appearances than anyone else in the country. But last year, Rogers was no longer in Congress, relinquishing his crown, and clearing the way for someone new to win the Great 2015 Sunday Show Race.
For the third straight year, I tallied up the guests for “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” “This Week,” “State of the Union,” and “Fox News Sunday,” and in 2015, Donald Trump was the big winner, making 36 appearances (Rogers won last year with 30). To put the Republican presidential frontrunner’s tally in perspective, that works out to an average of roughly one appearance every 1.4 weeks – or three Sunday show appearances a month, every month for a year.
It’s worth emphasizing that many of Trump’s 2015 appearances came via telephone – as opposed to an in-person, sit-down interview – which may lead some to believe his overall victory should come with an asterisk.
For those inclined to overlook his total, Bernie Sanders and Ben Carson were pretty busy on Sunday mornings, too, with each making 28 appearances.
Broadly speaking, once again, Republican voices easily outnumbered their Democratic counterparts last year. The above chart shows every political figure who made 10 or more Sunday show appearances this year – based on Nexis transcripts and the shows’ archives – with red columns representing Republicans and blue columns representing Democrats.
I should note that for the purposes of this study, I excluded hosts and journalists, looking exclusively at current officials, former officials, candidates for public office, domestic or foreign policymakers, or anyone fairly characterized as actively involved in the political arena. (Karl Rove’s inclusion here is admittedly debatable, but given his role in the Crossroads operation, it seemed only fair to characterize him as someone who’s “in the arena.” He has a media role, to be sure, but Rove also hopes to directly influence the outcome of the elections on which he comments.)
As longtime readers may recall, there’s a school of thought that says tallies like these are unimportant. Obviously, I disagree. For me, the five major Sunday shows represent a political institution of sorts, highlighting the kinds of voices and ideas the Beltway media considers important. The discussions held on these programs help reflect – and in many cases, shape – the conventional wisdom for the political establishment in D.C.
And every year, it seems it’s GOP voices who dominate.
Postscript: I’d like to remind readers that MSNBC offers fine programming on weekends, including Sunday mornings, featuring a diverse group of stories and guests.