For Release
July 12, 2001
Contact: George Farah,
Essential Information


Washington D.C., July 12, 2001 -- The Sunday morning political talk shows shut out issues related to corporate power. That is the primary conclusion of a new report issued by Essential Information, a Ralph Nader founded organization that provides information to the public on important topics neglected by the mass media and policymakers. Report authors George Farah and Justin Elga conducted a quantitative analysis of transcripts broadcast over a period of eighteen months from four talk shows -- The McLaughlin Group, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week.

They found that:

  • Topics related to corporate power -- the environment, corporate crime, labor, mergers, consumer rights, corporate welfare, national health care, free trade agreements, redlining, blockbusting, multinational capital flight, tort reform, renewable energy, the commercialization of children, etc. -- make up less than 4% of the shows’ discussion topics.
  • An overwhelming majority of invited guests on the shows are lawmakers, government officials, and politicians -- a skew that tends to reinforce narrow parameters of discussion and exclude issues of corporate power.

"Issues related to corporate power -- from banking to telecommunications regulations, from international trade policy to antitrust enforcement -- are central to Washington policymaking and to the condition of people’s lives," said study co-author George Farah. "It is a public disservice that the talk shows systematically ignore these issues."

"Corporate influence over the networks, the shows and the guests may in part explain the remarkable omission of issues related to corporate power," said study co-author Justin Elga. "Multinational conglomerates own the networks, major corporations sponsor specific shows, businesses regularly pay celebrity journalist lecture fees, and massive corporations fund the campaigns of the guest newsmakers."