The hosts of the big four Sunday talk shows weigh in:
ABC: This Week
Host since 2012 (and previously from 2002-2010)
On This Week's viewers vs. Good Morning America's:
"They're seeing it as a civic ritual, there's no question about that. They also want to be engaged and entertained to some degree by the conversation and they want to feel like they're part of the conversation. … I think of somebody drinking their second cup of coffee, feeling they're sitting at the table with us. I literally do imagine people jumping in (to the TV discussion) with points of their own. During the week (when Good Morning America airs), it's people running around in their robes scarfing down half a piece of toast and pushing the kids toward the school bus while getting ready for work. You really have to hit one thing you want them to know."
CBS: Face the Nation
Host since 1991
On what he wants guests to talk about:
"We're now immersed in this (political) gridlock where nothing gets done anymore. The question I'm trying to get answered here is, 'But what are you going to do — what can you do — to get this government functioning again?' This is the question that nobody's been able to answer thus far. That's what I get up in the morning thinking about."
NBC: Meet the Press
Host since 2008
On the echo effect of the Sunday news programs on the Twitterverse:
"It's always had that sort of impact, particularly because of the nature of the programs. It's political discourse, it's political gamesmanship … that becomes grist for the mill, and now for the blogosphere. I actually don't think that lessens the impact of the program. It has magnified the reach of the programs. There are lots of different conversations that go on."
CNN: State of the Union
Host since 2010
On whether Sunday shows are entirely inside-baseball:
"The Sunday shows are political shows They are driven by, certainly, what's the talk of the town. But I like to think we're talking about what folks want to hear that affects their lives. Sure, folks inside the Beltway are watching to see what people say about them and what they need to put out a press release about. But that's not who I'm talking to. I really am sort of talking to my mother."
Fox News:Fox News Sunday
Host since 2003
Fox News Sunday declined to comment for this article. In December, Wallace told Playboy magazine that his show is politically impartial:
"I defy anybody to look at my interviews with the Republican candidates this year or with, for instance, (Obama senior adviser) David Plouffe and say I was pushing an agenda. It's like what they used to say about Vince Lombardi: 'He treats us all the same — like dogs.' I think I'm tough on everybody, and I'm fine with that."