David Gregory’s time is nearly up at “Meet the Press,” sources told Page Six, and he could be replaced as moderator of the nation’s longest-running TV show soon after the November midterm elections.
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.
Other names said to be in the frame include “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie, who comes from a political background but is unlikely to be released from the flagship morning show where she’s hugely popular. Guthrie is also due to give birth to her first child next month and will return to “Today” after maternity leave.
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” team of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have also been said to be angling for a Sunday slot, but NBC insiders said there are concerns about putting a partisan host in charge of “Meet the Press,” as Scarborough is a former Republican congressman.
After the Washington Post recently reported that NBC had commissioned a “psychological consultant” to interview Gregory’s wife and friends, NBC publicly stood by Gregory, who denounced the psychologist claim as “gossip reporting gone wild.”
An NBC spokesperson told us Tuesday night, “We heard the same false rumors and suggest you take them with a grain of salt, as we did.”
DAVID GREGORY: You heard the mayor of Murrieta, “Why now? Why so many?” Is part of the answer that the administration, through some of its executive actions, have said, in effect, “Look, if you come, we’re going to let you in?”
SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: First of all, David, the reason we’re seeing this influx has to do primarily with the conditions in the three Central American countries that they’re leaving from, the push factor.
DAVID GREGORY: More than– and it’s double, though?
DAVID GREGORY: Could it be 90,000 this year?
SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: Honduras is in a really bad place right now. El Salvador, Guatemala. The push factor is what is driving this recent influx. In addition, we know that the smuggling organizations, the criminal smuggling organizations, are putting out a lot of disinformation about supposed ‘free passes’ into this country that are going to expire at the end of May, at the end of June. “Just give us your money and we’ll get you into the country by the end of the month.” It’s like a used car salesman saying that the sale’s going to expire at the end of the week.
DAVID GREGORY: But that’s not all misinformation, Mr. Secretary. There is deferred action on some children, passed in 2012, that will allow some children of illegal immigrants to stay.
SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: Well, that’s the point we keep stressing. The deferred action program is for kids who came to this country seven years ago. It’s not for anyone who comes to this country today, tomorrow or yesterday. And the legislation that the Senate passed, which provides for an earned path to citizenship, is for those who were in this country in 2011. It’s not for those that are coming here today.
DAVID GREGORY: How many– the numbers, again. I mean a year ago it’s 26,000. It’s double that. Could it get up to 90,000 this year?
SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: I believe we’re going to stem this tide.
DAVID GREGORY: I know, but my question is how bad could it get? How many more are we going to see? People want to know the challenge you face.
SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: I believe we’ll stem this tide. And we’re doing a number of things to do that right now.
DAVID GREGORY: So you don’t think the numbers will go up, is what you’re saying.
SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: The numbers have very definitely–
DAVID GREGORY: Right. I mean they’re certainly going to go up from where they are, if they’re already double this year, and we’re sitting here in the summertime.
SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON: They have definitely gone up. But I believe we will stem this tide. We are doing a number of things to do that. With regards to the adult population, who are coming here without their kids, we have dramatically reduced the turnaround time from something like 33 days down to four days.
With regards to adults who are bringing their children, we’re bringing on additional detention capacity. We’re turning that population of people around quicker. And with regards to the children, very definitely there are special considerations with the children. And we keep reminding people of the dangers that your lead-in points out, to climbing on board top of a freight train.
I’ve spoken directly to kids on the border who’ve told me that they have held on for days and hours to the top of a freight train, literally holding on for dear life because they risk falling off and dying. We keep reminding parents of the dangers of sending your children unaccompanied on this journey, this long, 1,000-mile journey, and that there are no free passes once you get here. DACA is not available for these children.
Gregory’s first question was straight out of the Republican talking points. Instead of asking if the president’s executive actions caused this influx, he could have asked what in the administration’s view is responsible for the increase? Gregory’s question was based on partisan talking points that lack factual basis.
It is impossible to accurately guess how many people will arrive at the border in this situation, but Republicans have it all wrong. The government shouldn’t be deploying troops and drones to protect the border. The administration should be doing everything that they can to stem the tide of children that are arriving. The situation will be resolved when children and adults stop leaving their home countries and trying to come to the United States. The people who arrive at the border illegally have to be sent back home, but the US needs more that Republican tough talk. The country needs a real immigration policy.
Irresponsible journalists like David Gregory only make the crisis worse when they try to exploit the partisan divide for ratings. It is shameful that a guest had to correct the misinformation that the moderator of Meet The Press based his questions on. David Gregory chose to play political games instead of informing his viewers. There is a humanitarian crisis unfolding on the border, and in a quest for ratings, Gregory pandered to Republicans instead of reporting on the story.
David Gregory’s handling of this interview demonstrated the main reason why the ratings for Meet The Press are in the dumpster.
NBC’s David Gregory pointed a series of questions about Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2012 Benghazi attacks to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), allowing Paul to attack Clinton with the long-debunked smear that she was aware of the need for additional security forces at the Benghazi compound yet denied the requests.
On the June 22 edition of NBC’s Meet The Press, host David Gregory posed a series of questions on Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2012 attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, but failed to correct Sen. Paul’s false smears that Clinton refused requested security. While discussing the possibility of Clinton running for president in 2016, Gregory asked Sen. Paul about whether “the prosecution of foreign policy,” is “the main argument” against Clinton’s candidacy. In his response, Paul invoked the debunked myth that Hillary Clinton refused “multiple requests for more security” in the months leading up the attacks.
Later in the interview, Gregory asked whether Benghazi is “disqualifying” for Clinton’s potential 2016 candidacy, again allowing Sen. Paul to claim that Clinton “was not responsive to multiple requests for more security.” Paul concluded that the American people “want a commander in chief that will send reinforcements, that will defend the country, and that will provide the adequate security,” implying for a third time that Clinton refused security she knew was necessary to the Benghazi compound:
But Sen. Paul’s smear is based on an old, discredited right-wing media attempt to blame Hillary Clinton for the deaths of U.S. personnel in the Benghazi attacks that originated with an April 2013 Republican Report. The report claimed that an April 2012 cable, sent under Clinton’s name, was a “critical cable” that called for reductions in security in response to to the U.S. ambassador’s request for additional security resources. The report’s evidence that the cable came from Clinton was that it bore her signature, though as Media Mattersnoted at the time, “several news outlets reported that it is routine for outgoing messages from the State Department to be sent under the secretary’s name without the secretary’s direct involvement.”
Sen. Paul’s claims have been discredited for quite some time — Clinton’s signature was standard for every cable, and does not indicate her direct involvement in the cable. As Foreign Policy magazine pointed out:
It’s not clear who in the State Department sent the April 19 response. But as a general rule, “every single cable sent from Washington to the field is sent over the secretary of state’s name,” a former State Department official noted, adding, “Though they are trying to make this new, it’s not. After 30+ hearings and briefings, thousands of pages, this has all been addressed.”
In September, House Democrats corrected the Republican report, explaining, “The Committee has now obtained the cable referenced by Chairman Issa, and it includes a pro forma line with former Secretary Clinton’s name, similar to millions of other cables sent from the State Department.”
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, who spent nine years covering the State Department, wrote that “every cable from an embassy bears the ‘signature’ of the ambassador — and every cable from Washington bears the ‘signature’ of the secretary of state,” concluding that “Issa has no basis or evidence to show that Clinton had anything to do with this cable — any more than she personally approved a cable on proper e-mail etiquette. The odds are extremely long that Clinton ever saw or approved this memo.” Additionally, in an interview with Media Matters, a former 27-year foreign service officer and Accountability Review Board member corrected the claims, saying, “Every single cable going out is signed ‘Clinton,’ it is the normal procedure… Millions of cables come into the operation center every year, not thousands, millions. And they are all addressed Hillary Clinton.”
***UPDATE (5:02PM)*** We received a statement from NBC spokeswoman Meghan Pianta, as follows:
Last year Meet the Press brought in a brand consultant—not, as reported, a psychological one—to better understand how its anchor connects. This is certainly not unusual for any television program, especially one that’s driven so heavily by one person.
According to Politico , they contacted the author of the piece, Paul Farhi, and reported this :
Farhi said he checked with NBC twice on Sunday about the term “psychological” and that they had no objections at the time.
“I checked it twice with them yesterday. No objections then,” he wrote in an email.
With NBC’s crown jewel Meet The Press slipping to third place among the Sunday morning talk shows, studio brass hired a ‘psychological consultant’ to interview host David Gregory’s wife and friends in search of a solution to his plummeting ratings.
According to the Washington Post, the ratings for Meet the Press have been in a free fall during the past three years with the show now charting behind Face the Nation on CBS and This Week With George Stephanopoulos on ABC.
In the first three months of this year, MTP ratings among the desirable 25 to 54 demographic coveted by TV news advertisers has plummeted to its lowest level ever.
Last year, the network commissioned a psychological consultant to interview Gregory’s friends and wife. According to a network spokeswoman, Meghan Pianta, the network wanted “to get perspective and insight from people who know him best,” a project some at the network found unusual given his almost 20 year tenure at NBC.
Rumors had swirled earlier this year that NBC was considering replacing Gregory only for the network to instead expand his duties by increasing the shows “digital presence” so that, in the words of NBC News president Deborah Turness, Meet the Press would become a “7 days-a-week source for politics and beltway buzz.”
In its heyday, under the late Tim Russert, Meet The Press was a cash cow for NBC earning the network a reported $60 million in 2007.
On Meet The Press David Gregory tried to sow some Democratic discord with the Republican talking point that Obama is a big spending liberal, but he was shot down by Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA).
See video here on MSNBC
DAVID GREGORY: I wanted to get your views for a minute on the big politics of the day. First of all, you’re running for your fourth term as governor. You’re very popular. You took a state that a lot of people felt was ungovernable, chiefly because of the budget deficit, and now there is a surplus. Is there a national leadership lesson that California provides?
GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN: Well, you’ve got to be tough on spending. No matter how liberal you want to be, at the end of the day, fiscal discipline is the fundamental predicate of a free society. And you just have to maintain that. Secondly, you do have to find a way to create a governing consensus, a coalition.
In California, we do have a majority Democratic party. And we don’t have any constitutional blocking points like the 60-vote requirement in the Senate or the division of parties between the House and the Senate. So if you want–
DAVID GREGORY: But it is interesting, isn’t it, that is there a lesson for President Obama? No matter how liberal you are, you said, “Here the president’s about to present a budget where he’s saying, ‘Look, the deficits are coming down, at least for now, we’ve got to spend more. And we’re only going to get the economy going in a meaningful way if we spend more on infrastructure and the like.’”
GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN: Well, yeah. Spend more. But in the framework of adjusting your long-term liabilities so we’re in balance. So that’s not inconsistent. You can invest and create jobs. But over the long term, your revenue has to meet your liabilities. And that’s not the case today.
David Gregory was pushing the myth that President Obama is a tax and spend liberal. Gov. Brown was correct. The nation can spend money on things that grow the economy and create jobs. When the economy grows, federal tax revenues increase, and budget surpluses can be created. Bill Clinton showed exactly how this can be done during his two terms in office.
It is not inconsistent with sound economic policy for the president to call for more spending if that spending will help to balance the books in the long term.
David Gregory was trying to create some division among Democrats while pushing another bogus falsehood about the policies of this president. Gregory is directly repeating Republican talking points, and he seems to have no idea of what he is talking about.
Brown’s insistence on reality is why Democrats don’t get to hold center stage on the Sunday shows very often. If more Democrats were on programs like Meet The Press, Gregory would not be able to get away with lazily passing off Republican attacks as facts.
Meet The Press deserves a moderator that will focus on facts. David Gregory and his Republican fictions need to be sent packing.
Luckily the media has prepared you for this bit of surreal stupidity by previously comparing the ACA rollout to the Katrina debacle, which of course killed people as opposed to ACA, which is saving lives.
So it will come as little surprise to you that Republican talking points distributor David Gregory was happy to help Brian Williams advance concern trolling to the next level last night by comparing the ACA rollout to the Iraq War.
Transcript from NBC News with slight modifications:
Brian Williams: Let’s go to David Gregory, moderator of “meet the press” in the d.c. bureau. people start tossing around hurricane Katrina comparisons and that’s going to leave a mark.
David Gregory (R-TV): They aren’t liking that. it only goes so far if you are talking about competence of an administration or the ability for government to handle a really big project. Maybe there is some comparison. But it probably stops there. The bottom line is that the president has negative attribute attributes about his competence and his own credibility. those are trend lines that are going down. frankly I liken it more to the Iraq war. that was life and death. this is not. it’s totally different. But when it comes to an issue through which everything else can be judged that’s the comparison to the previous administration, one they are trying to fight through now.
In case you missed it, Bush lied this county into war with Iraq and the media helped him by selling weapons of mass destruction to the public with no pushback at all. So the ACA rollout is JUST LIKE the Iraq War, only without the media complicity, without the deliberate lies, and without an entire country being fear-mongered into subservience (see the Dixie Chicks). Also, as Gregory noted, there is the small, irrelevant issue of living versus dying.
Some of us think living is a BFD, so we see a huge difference between a law that saves lives and a war. Maybe Gregory doesn’t get out much, but he should stroll down Warrior’s Walk — maybe then he wouldn’t make a comparison this obscene.
Yes, the president’s poll numbers are hurting right now, but that says more about the media’s lazy coverage of the ACA rollout than it does about the real impact of technical glitches on Obama’s legacy.
Gregory is incorrect about Hurricane Katrina. Katrina did not reveal the government’s inability to handle a crisis; after all, Hurricane Sandy revealed a government’s ability to handle a crisis and working across the aisle to do so.
Katrina revealed a party/President uninterested in making government work, no matter what the cost. It revealed the end game behind modern day Republican ideology — a government that is not functional, but rather one that is designed to be incompetent in order to justify “small government”.
The tech problems with ObamaCare’s tech rollout reveal more of the same; it was Republicans who sabotaged the website rollout by refusing to run state exchanges and then refusing to fund the need to expand the federal exchange. Only Republicans hell bent on sabotage to save themselves from their refusal to be a part of fixing a problem would believe that this kind of huge load change would require nothing.
In a few weeks, the ACA website will be working and in a few years, millions will be enrolled. People who would have died without coverage will have coverage. Worried parents will have coverage that won’t bankrupt the family. No one will be looking at Obama’s presidency through the lens of a few tough months (months that would not have been tough without the rabid concern trolling of a very click/eyeball desperate media who never seem to find a “story” in real Republican fails like the government shutdown or Iraq).
But even if that weren’t true, even if it were a huge fail, comparing a healthcare law rollout to a war based on a lie or a catastrophe like Katina is irresponsible at best. It’s not even justifiable viewed through the “political lens” of desperate Republican pundits.
These kinds of cheap, sleazy comparisons are an admission that Bush really messed things up and yet the same Republicans/pundits who defend everything Bush did are at the same time so desperate to smear Obama with some Bush stench that they label every potential misstep “Katrina” and “Iraq”.
President Obama does not have a Katrina or an Iraq. He is not Bush. He is nowhere near as incompetent as Bush – in fact, Obama has been unnervingly competent (see Osama bin Laden). Where were the Bush comparisons then? Oh, I kid. It would be cruel to be accurate.
No pundit should be allowed to use Iraq as a measuring tool until they are willing to have an honest discussion about their role in selling the country on Iraq. They also need to explain why they never have an ounce of courage when a Republican is in the White House, and then spend the entire 8 years of the Democrats time in the White House play acting Very Serious Journalism by concern trolling semen stains and tech glitches while ignoring the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who died in a war based on lies.
SO BORING, so full of fail, so offensive and so predictable.
After watching Sunday’s Meet The Press, one could be forgiven for wondering exactly when the United States went from being a country that faced down nuclear armageddon in the Cold War to cowering under the sheets from the threat of terrorists that may or may not exist.
David Gregory, clearly one of the liberal elitists that are in the tank for Obama, did his very best to conflate Benghazi, Boston and Syria as if they were all part of a grand terrorist plan to destroy America 3 or 4 people at a time:
I want to widen this out a little bit, because I think there’s the broader topic that we’re broaching here about national security, about our personal freedoms in America, coming out of the Boston bombing is, in part, ongoing concern about terrorism. The graphic this week in The Wall Street Journal about that growing al-Qaeda threat, even a couple of years now after Osama bin Laden is killed.
Looking in North Africa, in the Persian Gulf states, where you either have al-Qaeda with a safe haven, or, indeed, more activity. And it leads, too, to what happened last 9-11 in Benghazi, and the ongoing questions about what the United States knew about that, what the administration knew. Did they do enough to stop it? And now, new hearings coming up, new details being reported on, Mr. Mayor [Guiliani]. Is there something here that somehow gets to why we’re more vulnerable now and whether the administration has done enough, in your estimation? (Emphasis mine)
I’m curious to know in what sense are we more vulnerable under Obama? Did terrorists hijack 4 airplanes and use them as missiles aimed at American buildings? Was anthrax used to kill several people using the mail? Were several different American consulates attacked resulting in dozens of causalities? If I’m not mistaken, so far in Obama’s 4+ years in office, terrorists have killed exactly 4 people on American soil and 4 Americans not in an active war zone.
Gregory goes on:
“Jane Harman, and Mayor Giuliani, as we look at all of this, whether it’s jihadist elements operating in Syria, whether we look at, now, this widening plot out of the Boston bombings, they wanted to attack, reportedly, on July Fourth, there are others now involved, friends of Dzokhar Tsarnaev, who show their pictures, who are involved, at some level, of clearing out some of the materials from his room, what does this tell us about what we’re up against here, specifically in the Boston plot, and this question of, “Are we any safer?””
“Widening plot?” Until they can put a finger on who, if anyone, trained the older brother, Tamerlan, the “widening plot” amounts to three young idiots doing something phenomenally stupid. That these imbeciles, which one official referred to as “the Three Stooges,” tried to (poorly) cover up something of this magnitude doesn’t make them part of a grand terrorist conspiracy that makes America less safe; it just makes them dumber than a sack of hammers. No lovable goofball ending here, just a lot of jail time.
But it wasn’t a total fear-fest. Mr. Gregory did accidentally allow Sen. Patrick Leahy to make a point that interferes with the whole “It’s all Obama’s fault we’re under attack” narrative:
DAVID GREGORY: –how vulnerable we are and what we’re doing about it?
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: Oh, there are questions should be asked. I know I chair a committee that handles the State Department’s budget. We put in extra money, a great deal of extra money, for embassy security.
DAVID GREGORY: I mean that’s what we’re hearing about– (Translation: ERROR! ERROR! That is off script! We can not blame Republicans for their actions!)
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY:Let me finish. And that was blocked by the House. They said they didn’t want to spend the money. Whether that would have made a difference or not, I don’t know. Should we look at Benghazi? Yes. But keep in mind that’s just one place. We should look at our security throughout our embassies, because there will always be easy targets.
DAVID GREGORY: Were warnings ignored on Benghazi, Congressman, in your judgment? (Translation: Let’s get back to promoting the right’s conspiracies!)