Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Is David Gregory really the best NBC could find for “Meet the Press”?

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Originally published on on Fri, 12/05/2008 – 2:07pm

So David Gregory is the likely pick to ultimately succeed the late Tim Russert as host of “Meet the Press” on NBC.


We waited through six months — along with the vapid questioning of Tom Brokaw in the interim — to hear Gregory’s name. We could have predicted at the time that Gregory would get the post.

Yes, other names were bandied about. I threw out the name of Keith Olbermann – that choice got a “few” responses. Gwen Ifill’s name was also tossed about at the time of Russert’s death.

But Russert’s death seemed the opportune time to reassess the direction of the Sunday morning political network talk shows. After all, Russert and CBS’ Bob Schieffer both became Sunday morning hosts in 1991. And while ABC has had slightly more turnover in the last decade, the network has had fewer hosts than NBC since 1981. In fact, NBC was rotating hosts every few years during the 1980s and early 1990s.

Does anyone really think David Gregory will do this job for 17 years?

Of the four apparent serious contenders (along with Andrea Michell, Gwen Ifill, and Chuck Todd), Gregory is by far the safest choice.

And this video of Gregory doing back up for “MC Rove” still haunts my inner eyelids.

The pick seems very uninspired given how much the landscape of TV news has changed since 1991. A boring, corporate-media, white male such as Gregory feels like the wrong choice in 2008.

Why not Fareed Zakaria? Why not Lara Logan? Why not a newspaper person such as Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post? Why not match up David Sirota with a conservative equivalent? Why not just Sirota?

There are journalism skills and there are TV skills. The best combine both. It would be ideal to have a long-time, worldly foreign-based journalist come in and ask the tough questions, but that person might not be ideal for TV.

Gregory’s resume seems pretty weak. Other than anchoring shows, he has covered George W. Bush since 2000. And while conservatives have gone after him for asking a tough question or two against Bush, he hasn’t really shined considerably in that role.

By contrast, Schieffer is one of the few journalists to have covered the White House, State Department, Pentagon, and Congress.

The ideal host would be knowledgable, tenacious, and yet not a suck-up Washington brown-noser (yes, Brokaw, I am looking at you).

But for the Sunday morning, not rocking the boat, corporate MSM mentality, David Gregory will fit right in. But as consumers of the news and as people who like tough questions, Gregory falls really short of the milquetoast standard currently set by the talk shows.


Written by democracysoup

December 5, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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