When Kentucky Democratic Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes refused to answer a local newspaper board’s irrelevant gotcha question about whether or not she voted for President Obama, Meet the Press hairpiece Chuck Todd declared it has “disqualified” Grimes from becoming senator. Which, with all thesincerity and integrity one expects from a leading Beltway mouthpiece, he then tried to explain away as merely being his interpretation of what Kentucky voters might think. Leading Beltway pieces of work being noted for their skills at objectively and dispassionately channeling the mindsets of voters in rural states.
But when Todd had the opportunity to talk to Iowa Republican Senate nominee Joni Ernst, who has refused to answer any questions at all from her local newspaper boards, refusing even to meet with them, Todd not only didn’t try to channel the mindsets of her local voters, and certainly didn’t mention what such refusals said about her qualifications to be senator, he even bought into her extreme right-wing framing on the “Personhood Amendment” Ernst so dishonestly supports.
In a profile of Iowa Republican nominee for U.S. Senate Joni Ernst, NBC host Chuck Todd asserted over the weekend that a so-called “personhood” amendment that she supported would protect “unborn human beings.”On Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, Todd visited Iowa and noted that the winner of the race would likely decide control of the U.S. Senate.
“Ernst hopes to benefit from the fact that her first name isn’t congressman,” Todd explained. “But what could be holding her back—in what is clearly an anti-Washington year—is some of her very conservative positions, including something called personhood which in some cases would grant all unborn human beings with equal protections.”
One could say that Chuck Todd’s double standard on Ernst and Grimes and his buying into the extremist linguistic framing of the most virulent opponents of choice disqualifies him from hosting what once was a respected political television program. Sadly, in today’s political TV environment, one guesses that Todd’s standards and practices make him exactly qualified.
Bill Maher took a moment during his New Rules segment to call out the media for lacking integrity. Maher specifically pointed a finger at Chuck Todd and Meet The Press.
Maher’s topic was how Republicans in Kansas are using the bogus strip club “scandal” to distract voters from the fact that Sam Brownback has destroyed the state’s economy with trickle down economics. Maher also took a moment to shred Meet The Press and Chuck Todd for dignifying the story.
The Real Time host said,
Brownback’s experiment was such a colossal failure that in a state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic senator since the outhouse moved indoors that over one hundred former Republican officials in Kansas endorsed the Democrat, Paul Davis, who a month ago was a shoo-in to take over.
But then something horrible happened, it was revealed that sixteen years ago, when Paul Davis was an unmarried twenty six year old man, one night he went to a strip club, and now good people all across this once great nation are asking themselves what do we tell the children?
But of course it worked, Davis started to lose ground in the polls so he apologized saying he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yeah, Kansas. No wait, I like Kansas. I actually go there. This is not just about Kansas. This is a national disease. An unholy alliance of easily distracted voters, and a shameful pandering media, which used to have the integrity to filter out sh*t like this.
But today what happens is, the story ran in the local press, within hours Politico picked it up, and a day later, Meet The Press, yes, Meet The Press further dignified the story by allowing Grover Norquist to talk about it. To say about Paul Davis that he is, “Not the kind of person you could ask your sister to vote for.”
Maher was right. It is a widespread problem within the mainstream media, and Meet The Press used to be one of those filters that used to weed out baseless and tasteless nonsense like the Kansas strip club story.
Meet The Press didn’t need a new host or a new set. The show needed a dose of the kind of integrity that died with Tim Russert. Chuck Todd’s refusal to allow the show fulfil its purpose is one reason that he isn’t the right choice to lead Meet The Press.
Before settling on Chuck Todd, NBC executives seriously considered tapping Jon Stewart to serve as the new moderator of “Meet the Press,” according to a report from New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman.
Sherman cited “three senior television sources” who said that NBC News president Deborah Turness held negotiations with the “Daily Show” host to take over the longtime Sunday morning program. The negotiations did not bear fruit, but it apparently wasn’t for lack of trying by NBC, Sherman reports:
One source explained that NBC was prepared to offer Stewart virtually “anything” to bring him over. “They were ready to back the Brinks truck up,” the source said. A spokesperson for NBC declined to comment. James Dixon, Stewart’s agent, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Turness did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.
Todd debuted as moderator of “Meet the Press” last month after the show’s ratings had slipped precipitously under David Gregory. The show saw an initial ratings boost after Todd took over, but has since slipped back to third place behind rival programs on CBS and ABC.
Todd, for his part, tried to make light of the news on Twitter with a reference to the sign-off for both “Meet the Press” and the “Daily Show.”
If it’s Sunday, it’s your moment of zen.
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) October 8, 2014
At the 8:25 mark of the interview, Todd’s roughly fifth question for the President began with the statement,
“You’ve not said the word, “Syria,” so far in our conversation.”
This is a subtle accusation that the President was evading a central aspect of the issue. However, President Obama had said “Syria” four times prior to that, and not in any cagey way. The fourth time was mere seconds earlier.
First, after Todd asked the President if he was preparing for a new war, Obama said,
“ISIL poses a broader threat because of its territorial ambitions in Iraq and Syria. But the good news is coming back from the most recent NATO meeting is the entire international community understands that this is something that has to be dealt with.”
Second, addressing the growing threat of ISIL, Obama said,
“And we’ve seen the savagery not just in terms of how they dealt with the two Americans that had been taken hostage but the killing of thousands of innocents in– in Iraq thousands of innocents in Syria, the kidnapping of women the complete disruption of entire villages.”
Third, Todd pointedly asked Obama whether his earlier description of ISIL as a “JV team” had changed. The President responded,
“What I said was, not every regional terrorist organization is automatically a threat to us that would call for a major offensive. But what is absolutely clear in ISIL, which started as Al Qaeda in Iraq and arose out of the U.S. invasion there and was contained because of the enormous efforts of our troops there then shifted toSyria, has metastasized, has grown. And now we’re going to have to deal with…”
Fourth, Obama concluded his response on that topic by saying,
“We’ve got to do more effective diplomatic work to eliminate the the schism between Sunni and Shia that has been fueling so much of the violence in Syria, in Iraq. And so we put together a plan that is compatible with the kind of work that we’re doing now.”
Todd immediately followed this by falsely stating that the President had not “said the word, ‘Syria.’” It was good to see Todd bring a bit more of Tim Russert’s old pointedness to the position, following David Gregory’s stewardship of the position. And Todd may have had a point on the President’s rhetoric changing from downplaying the threat from ISIL to now building a coalition to confront it. But he needs to either listen to his interviewee better, or refrain from slipping patently false barbs into his questions.
Chuck Todd interviewed President Barack Obama as his first duty on the renewed Meet the PressSunday morning, an interview that ranged from ISIS to the possible political plays behind Obama’sdecision to delay executive action on immigration until after the midterms to his regret over golfing following a statement on the death of journalist James Foley.
At the end Todd asked to pre-book Obama for next week’s show, as he had scores of questions left to ask.
The axe finally fell today as David Gregory confirmed that he is out at Meet The Press, and is leaving NBC. Chuck Todd will be the new host of the Sunday morning staple.
David Gregory got the boot fast. This was a literal don’t let the door hit you on the butt on the way out. According to CNN, “The sources confirmed widespread speculation that David Gregory, the moderator of the iconic Sunday morning public affairs program for the past six years, will be replaced by Todd. One of the sources said the transition will be swift — so swift that Gregory will not even host “Meet the Press” this weekend.”
Gregory confirmed his departure on Twitter:
I leave NBC as I came – humbled and grateful. I love journalism and serving as moderator of MTP was the highest honor there is . (1 of 2)
Gregory won’t get a farewell show. He won’t get to say goodbye on the air. This is all proof that the bosses at NBC have convinced that the show’s problems are all about Gregory. They are going to be in for a rude wake up call if the Chuck Todd era doesn’t bring back the viewers that the show lost after the death of Tim Russert.
In reality, David Gregory is getting what he deserved. He isn’t a political journalist, and his lack of interest in the subject matter showed. Gregory repeated partisan talking points as facts and would let anyone get away with saying any untrue statement. Instead of challenging false statements, Gregory would respond with trademark mmmmhmmm.
Replacing one conventional D.C. talking point machine (Gregory) with another (Todd) likely isn’t the answer.
The fact that NBC has rushed into the Chuck Todd era reveals how desperate the network has become to revive the sagging ratings. It will be the same roster of Republican guests and Beltway journalists on the same set. Neither David Gregory or Chuck Todd is Tim Russert, which is why the ratings for Meet The Press are likely to continue to struggle.
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.
***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.
Ain’t it great? The idiots at “Meet the Press” were hard-pressed to come up with a “balanced” approach to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. So what did they do? They asked viewers to complete the sentence “I have a dream,” as if Martin Luther King Jr. had failed us on that score. Let Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars explain why NBC chose to exhibit Mitt Romney giving us his take on the subject:
So MTP viewers are treated to the odd and jarring juxtaposition of rapper Snoop Lion asking for safe communities with no guns to failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney asking for kids to be “great.”Not to put too fine a point on it, but WTF??? The figures that Meet the Press think can best speak to the civil rights fight are Snoop Lion and Mitt Romney?
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006—VA-Sen: Frameshop: Allen At It Again, Winks At White Folks:
Adding insult to injury in the “macaca” affair, video cameras trained on George Allen’s latest apologies have captured yet another disturbing scene: Senator Allen winking at a room full of white folks before apologizing for his racism.The video in question was published in a Washington Post article by Michael D. Shear and Tim Craig (“Allen Calls Webb Aide, Apologizes For Remark” 24AUG06).
Just after the 1 minute mark in the video, Senator Allen responds to a question from the audience by saying “I want to be very careful about the words I use,” then winks and smiles at the all white, elderly crowd in Springfield, VA. In response to Allen’s wink and smile, the crowd erupted into laughter. In the next scene of the video, Allen apologies for the “macaca” incident saying, “From the deepest part of my heart, I am sorry and I will do better.”