There's poor ol' David Gregory, sharing his final political roundtable with his
saboteur ...er, successor, Chuck Todd.
After weeks of rumors and denials, NBC News president Deborah Turness finally confirmed what everyone saw coming: David Gregory as host of the Meet the Press is no more. He is an ex-host.:
In an email to NBC News staff, Turness praised Gregory, who has hosted the Sunday morning public affairs show for the past six years:
I want to express my sincerest thanks to David, who, after the death of Tim Russert, led Meet the Press for almost 6 years. Under his leadership the show has had a string of exclusives, and David has shown a remarkable gift for holding leaders to account and getting answers on issues that matter to our audience. He is an outstanding journalist whose sharp intellect and quick sense of humor have made him a pleasure to work with. I know you all join me in expressing our deepest gratitude and in wishing him the very best.
Turness said Todd, who is currently the NBC News political director and the host of "The Daily Rundown" on MSNBC, will assume hosting duties September 7.
Deborah, Deborah, Deborah....I realize that memos like this are supposed to put the best spin on things and are not necessarily the truth, but come on. There was absolutely nothing even vaguely approaching the reality there. Gregory famously eschewed the very basics of journalism, which hardly qualifies as outstanding behavior. And while I don't have a cubby at 30 Rock to confirm it personally, it's been an open secret that Gregory is less than a pleasure to work with or for.
So after many years of plummeting ratings and the tuning out of America, Turness thinks that she can steer this flagship program back on to calm waters by...promoting Chuck Todd?
Gotta tell you, Deb, I think this is a perfect case of jumping out of the frying pan and landing square in the fire. There is absolutely nothing that Todd brings to the table that makes this a better move for MTP. Certainly not journalistic integrity.
In fact, after a particularly egregious episode not that long ago, I jotted down the simple basic fix for Meet the Press:
Fire David Gregory. Under no circumstance should you hand off the reins to Chuck Todd, Joe Scarborough or any other pundit who cannot actually practice journalism. It's called "Meet the PRESS" for a reason.
For the love of everything holy, stop giving platforms to people who are chronically wrong (or who assume that the viewing public doesn't remember that they said something completely different six months ago). David Brooks, Newt Gingrich, that means you.
But here's the key: if you really want to see ratings jump, have your guest respond to a panel that includes actual non-DC/NY insiders. Stop catering to the cocktail circuit who don't want to upset their brunch date. And here's a radical thought: include a person affected by the policies that the guest is here to advocate. If you want to talk poverty with Paul Ryan, knock yourself out. But make sure someone is there to ask him SPECIFICALLY how reducing government benefits helps people get out of poverty. Tianna Gaines, whom you've had on MSNBC shows, would have done 1000% better at questioning Ryan than Gregory did.
And this is a bipartisan solution. I want you to grill Democrats (the few you deign to invite on the show--Seriously, Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz today? Just ugh.) just as hard as the Republicans. And CALL THEM OUT ON THEIR LIES. All of them. You want to re-establish trust in your viewership and credibility? Start acting like a journalistic show and not a public relations infomercial.
Giving Chuck Todd (whose true love is the horse race of polling and numbers in elections, and cannot wrap his head around that these political maneuveurings have real world effects on real people outside of the Beltway Bubble) is nothing more than changing the face of a format that Americans have already rejected.
We'll be back here, Deborah, you'll see. We're going to have this same exact conversation next year when you wonder why the ratings haven't gone up. And maybe...just maybe....you'll figure out that maybe ignoring your audience isn't the smartest move.