July 24, 2014

Ms. Turness, here's the thing you don't seem to get: This is a management issue. Without proper ethical guidelines on what is acceptable and what isn't, what the hell do you expect? (Hint: Journalists shouldn't socialize with the people they cover.) A political talk show at least purports to be presenting an approximation of the truth. But when viewers see numerous lies, undisclosed conflicts of interests, and clearly partisan attacks, why should they bother with your crappy show? Do you suppose there's an actual reason we call it "Press the Meat" -- or do you think we just love to snark away our Sunday mornings?

If you even think of replacing Dancin' Dave with Mika and Joe, well, there's an American expression you may not know. It's called "out of the frying pan and into the fire." You think viewers will be happy to replace one hack with two? Why not just go back to the show's original format, with a rotating panel of working journalists? Or should we all just throw up our hands and accept that infotainment and hackery is here to stay? Stay tuned, folks:

While NBC News President Deborah Turness has publicly supported the embattled Gregory, there are serious concerns about the losing battle to turn around the show’s sinking ratings.

Viewership is down a whopping 43 percent compared to when Gregory ascended to the moderator’s chair in December 2008, after the death of Tim Russert. The show finished in third place behind CBS’s “Face the Nation” and ABC’s “This Week” in the second quarter of 2014.

An NBC source said, “The discussion is whether to make a change before or after the midterm elections. Just after the midterms would give the new moderator time to settle in.”
According to insiders, NBC political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd is the rightful heir to Gregory, but he has not been officially offered the job.

The Daily Beast sez Mike and Joe really want it:

According to my sources, Scarborough, 51, a Washington-savvy former Republican congressman from Florida, and Brzezinski, 47, the supremely well-connected daughter of former White House national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, have been aggressively angling for the job in the event of Gregory’s all-but-certain demise. If they were to be picked as MTP cohosts, it would represent a complete departure from the 69-year-old program’s traditional format.

An NBC insider told me the duo had believed they had an understanding with top news division executives that they would be named cohosts of the Sunday Today show in addition to their Morning Joe duties. Then Turness arrived at NBC from Britain’s ITV News in August 2013 and undid the agreement, I’m told. “They were furious,” my source told me, referring to Scarborough and Brzezinski.

While some observers have expressed skepticism that Scarborough, an erstwhile professional politician, should be made co-anchor of a public affairs program that aspires to be strictly nonpartisan and down the middle, Scarborough’s supporters cite the example of Stephanopoulos—who was a sharp-elbowed Democratic operative and a top adviser in Bill Clinton’s White House before he became ABC News’ chief anchor, cohost of ABC’s top-rated Good Morning America, and the host of the frequently top-rated Sunday show.

Indeed, the much-revered Russert, before he joined NBC News, was an aggressively partisan top aide to Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.

The 42-year-old Todd, who has occasionally clashed with Scarborough on the air, leading some to believe that there’s little love lost between them, has slimmed down in recent weeks to fighting trim. Todd, who wears a goatee, is also deeply knowledgeable about politics and Washington folkways.

Whatever happens, we can safely assume that the hackery quotient will be maintained and maybe even exceeded!

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