David Gregory sure learned his Villager lessons well. Want a big Scoop? Just sell out the integrity of your platform (In this case Meet the Press) that the American people depend on for access.
When the stories about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's love of hiking and the ensuing revelations about line crossing and soul mates were first revealed, I think it's safe to say that most people never saw it coming. But what hasn't been a surprise is the resulting confirmation of how many in the media are willing to sell their journalistic souls for political access.
From his emails to Sanford's office, where he begs for an interview:
Left you a message. Wanted you to hear directly from me that I want to have the Gov on Sunday on Meet The Press. I think it's exactly the right forum to answer the questions about his trip as well as giving him a platform to discuss the economy/stimulus and the future of the party. You know he will get a fair shake from me and coming on MTP puts all of this to rest.
... So coming on Meet The Press allows you to frame the conversation how you really want to...and then move on. You can see (sic) you have done your interview and then move on. Consider it.
In the middle of the breaking scandal, Gregory not only offered to let Sanford guide the story, he was willing to give him a platform to change the subject. And then Gregory would "move on."
Move along now little doggie. No story here, that's it..just a couple of kids in love...run along. Nothing here to see. I can only echo what Vernie Gay said about the new Meet The Press:
But he also seems more intent on covering the waterfront than digging for news, or in pushing the talking heads off their talking points. Recent interviews with Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) felt like a waterfront that went on for miles - an endless vista of chatter and spin.
BOTTOM LINE "Meet the Press" is now the de facto safe show on Sunday morning - "safe," that is, for those being interviewed.
Gregory has been handed perhaps the most important program in television journalism. It's time to start acting like the king who rules wisely yet ruthlessly. Otherwise, his legacy will match that of Garrick Utley or Bill Monroe - moderators who were highly respected but not highly feared. In this job, it's vital to be both.
These Mark Sanford emails proves Vernie's point perfectly.