What Chris Hayes Means to the Debate

By Ta-Nehisi Coates
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As we congratulate Chris Hayes on his move to primetime, I think it's worth looking at the considerable impact of his show. Courtesy of Alyssa Rosenberg, I think this chart from Media Matters is a really important illustration of Up With Chris Hayes contribution to "The Debate." The comparison here has problems. The other four shows here are rooted in "The Big Get," and are framed around an interview with a senator or a governor, people who generally tend to be white and male. But Chris features politicians in the way that they feature anyone else. If he gets a senator or governor, great. If he doesn't, oh well. From his perspective there's no real reason to believe that John McCain is going to give you the most informed perspective on housing policy.

The implications go beyond merely an amorphous "diversity." I am almost never surprised by anything a politician says on a Sunday talk show -- politicians generally parrot the party line. But I am very often surprised by what I hear on Up With Chris Hayes. That is because the show is more interested in policy itself, than the choreography of politics. You are not going to turn on Chris Hayes and hear "Is Climate Change Real? Ted Cruz and Andrew Cuomo Debate. You Decide." You are going to hear a scientist who actually knows what he's talking about.

I guess it's worth noting that Chris makes no pretense of objectivity. His is clearly a left-wing bias. This means nothing to me. The other Sunday shows are biased towards power. For years it was said that the Left needed a Fox News. I have never believed that. But I do think Fox News could use a Chris Hayes.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/03/what-chris-hayes-means-to-the-debate/274117/