This Politico fluff piece on Chuck Todd and the new Meet the Press is only useful for highlighting just how 'insider' Todd is, and how out of touch the Village is.
Take, for example, the opening.
If David Gregory failed as moderator of “Meet the Press,” it was because he lacked a passion for politics. Todd, by contrast, has a borderline unhealthy obsession with the subject. He is, as his colleagues often say, the definition of a political junkie.
This is where all of you in the Crooks and Liars community get to chime in with what you've been saying over and over and over again. David Gregory failed as moderator of Meet the Press because he fluffed guests, sang the right wing song without bothering to check facts, and indulged himself in a bath of "both sides, both sides" on a regular basis.
Being a political junkie is a handy thing, but only if you're going to do things like fact-check your guests' talking points.
And that was only the beginning. Moving on to Chuck's vision for MTP now:
I see the show in three buckets,” Todd explained. “Bucket one is the bread and butter: an interview with a real newsmaker, not just an elected pundit …. Bucket two is what on ‘Daily Rundown’ [his MSNBC program] I would’ve called a ‘deep dive,’ a deeper look at something I should know more about that’s relevant if not of the moment. … Bucket three is the roundtable, and my demand for people on my roundtable: I want reported analysis. Not just people who read The New York Times and Wall Street Journal op/ed pages and come up with opinions.”
Oh, how deep! Although I'm not exactly sure what the difference is between "reported analysis" and people reading op-eds and coming up with opinions. Would that be think tankers who show up armed with their very partisan talking points?
Well, let's see what Chuck says.
Todd’s roundtable will feature regular contributors, including Joe Scarborough, who has been promoted to NBC News senior political analyst and a regular contributor to “Meet.” (Todd dismisses any suggestion that Scarborough doesn’t fit the bill for reported analysis: “Scarborough is more plugged in than people realize,” he said. “This is a guy who is on the phone a lot. If I thought Joe was just pontificating, I wouldn’t have him on.”) Luke Russert, the congressional reporter and son of the late moderator, will also feature regularly on the program, both on the roundtable and as a reporter on the digital side.
Oh yeah. That's a bench with deep thinkers on it. The high praise for Scarborough has me retching already. But wait! There's more.
Another notable addition is that of acting executive producer John Reiss, a former Nightly News executive producer who most recently served as EP on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”
“Of all the producers that have gone through Nightly News, he was the biggest political junkie,” Todd said. “He and I have bonded over politics ever since I got here.”
Well, there ya go. Tweety's executive producer must certainly predict oodles of cutting-edge political information and commentary, right?
We end the piece with a little personality (!!!) from the erstwhile Todd, who flexes his football junkie muscle while dealing with Deborah Turness:
Still, for someone who is about to take on what Russert often described as one of the most important chairs in political journalism, Todd remains calm. When Turness called this week to schedule a Thursday-night “working dinner” in Washington, he stressed another obligation.
“Deborah told me she wanted to have a working dinner tonight,” Todd said, just a few hours before the meeting. “I said, ‘Um, Deborah, It’s Football Night in America. And it’s my Packers. Can we make sure there’s a television?’”
“We found a sports bar that gave us a room with a TV,” he said. “The rest of the staff can have a working dinner. I’m going to be watching football.”
Priorities. It's all about priorities.
Here's my takeaway: They are smearing lipstick on a pig and pretending the pig is ready for the cover of Vogue magazine. This is all cosmetic. Swap in the younger "junkie," put the millennial and symbolic Li'l Luke in there to carry the family name, and get the President as the first interview for the new host to play up the prestige factor. (Yes, President Obama will be Chuck's first interview on MTP.)
If they wanted real change, Chuck would have declared that facts are on the table, talking points are out, and he would have DVR'd his Packer game to prepare for his Very Serious Promotion.
So let's start a pool. How long will it be before John McCain is Chuck's guest for the Meet the Press interview? Let me know in the comments.