How the Sunday shows operate

What can viewers of the Sunday morning public-affairs shows see today? A whole lot of Republicans.

Looking at the lineups of the five major Sunday shows — NBC’s “Meet the Press,” CBS’s “Face the Nation,” ABC’s “This Week,” Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” and CNN’s “State of the Union” — we see the following:

* 5 Republican presidential candidates (Paul on NBC, Bachmann on CBS, Huntsman on ABC, Perry on Fox, and Santorum on CNN)

* 2 Republican senators (Lindsey Graham on NBC and Mitch McConnell on Fox News)

* 1 Republican congressman (Steve King on CBS)

* 1 Republican governor (Terry Branstad on NBC)

* 1 Republican former governor (John Sununu on CNN)

* 2 Republican former congressmen (Bob Walker and Tom Davis on CNN)

* 1 Democratic senator (Dick Durbin on NBC)

* 1 former Obama White House official (Anita Dunn on CNN)

For those keeping score, that’s a 12 to 2 advantage for one party over the other.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But, Steve, this makes sense. We’re in the midst of a contentious race for the Republican presidential nomination, as evidenced by a debate just 12 hours ago. Of course the Sunday shows are going to have a lot of GOP voices on.”

And that explanation would work for me, if this weren’t so common outside the context of the presidential race. Remember this lineup in May? Or this one in March?

My advice: if you’re looking for a great public-affairs show over the weekend, watch Chris Hayes.

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