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Politico: Chuck Todd to replace David Gregory on ‘Meet The Press’

August 14, 2014

Full story here:

Not Much Else to Say About Meet The Press for Now

January 8, 2014

mtp-coffee-mug w QNo surprise that I have taken a break from updating this site. This is due partially to my busy schedule but also to my disillusionment with my topic, Meet The Press.  The show has certainly lost… something. The ratings (lowest in the show’s history) show it and NBC feels it:

NBC’s ‘Meet The Press’ hits historic lows in the final quarter of 2013 (Via Politico)

NBC News Keeps Busy Refuting Reports On Ann Curry, David Gregory, Rachel Maddow (Via Deadline Hollywood)

David Gregory is a good guy. He does many things in broadcasting very well, but the audience is the ultimate arbiter… and the audience has clearly spoken. Some are arguing for a swap of NBC’s Chuck Todd as anchor. That may be worth a try.

On recent Sunday mornings I find myself more drawn to Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face The Nation. Schieffer wields his gravitas in a way that says he is not trying to curry favor with anyone. His blunt questioning and bold commentaries are refreshing.

Does NBC have someone like this they can plug into MTP? Tom Brokaw’s stint as Meet The Press anchor following the death of Tim Russert was lackluster. Brokaw seems more a creature of New York than Schieffer and his “I-have-seen-it-all-in-DC, don’t-try-to-buffalo-me” attitude.

Andrea Mitchell? Joe Scarborough? Chris Matthews? Rachel Maddow? Jim Miklaszewski? Ann Curry? Peter Alexander? Savannah Guthrie? Pete Williams? Kelly O’Donnell? Willie Geist? Luke Russert?

I am not sure any of them are answer. Can NBC recruit someone from outside? I think Bob Woodruff is under-utilized at ABC News and has all the makings of a good Sunday morning anchor. Judy Woodruff might also be an interesting choice. Perhaps NBC could cut a deal where she remains as anchor of PBS Newshour and also takes on the MTP role? The same could apply to Gwen Ifill.

Ray Suarez is a thoughtful, independent minded journalist who would bring a sizable number of his fans to the show. Speaking of PBS-types, Hari Sreenivasan would bring great social media skills to the MTP anchor chair.

There are many options for NBC, but they don’t seem to be looking for an answer. Until changes are made, I won’t have much more to say about Meet The Press.


No New Notes for Three Weeks

August 16, 2013

No notes posted here August 18 , August 25, or September 1. I will be back on September 8. In the meantime here are some things to think about:

Notes on the August 11, 2013 Broadcast of Meet The Press

August 11, 2013

All Rights NBC NewsToday’s Meet the Press opened with Barton Gellman of the Washington Post, Ted Koppel of NBC News, and Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee discussing the NSA surveillance programs and the revelations of Edward Snowden. All three men were deeply skeptical of comments made by President Barack Obama on these matters in his Friday news conference. Even the graphic used during the discussion, “Debate Over Government Spying,” revealed a different tone from previous weeks’ discussions on Meet the Press.

McCaul said the threat of Al Qaeda is getting worse not better. He criticized the President for wanting a return to a “pre-9/11 mentality.” Koppel cautioned, however, “Terrorism is the weapon by which the weak engage the strong. They cause the strong, in this case us, to overreact.” He used the TSA and the invasion of Iraq as examples.

Next up Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) of the Senate Armed Services Committee discussed reforms being made to prevent and prosecute sexual assaults in the military. McCaskill is proposing reforms that would beef up the military’s response to sexual assaults. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on the other hand is proposing moving sexual assault cases outside of the military justice system. It is good to see this issue getting serious attention with serious policy alternatives regardless of which path is ultimately chosen.

The political roundtable included Republican strategist Anna Navarro, David Brooks of the New York Times, David Ignatius of the Washington Post, and former Governor and Ambassador Bill Richardson. Ignatius pointed out that Secretary of State John Kerry is making serious progress on Arab-Israeli peace talks and in talks with the Russians to plan a major peace conference on Syria. According to Ignatius, these developments are getting little attention because they are not flashy.

Brooks liked the President’s “smack down” of Russian President Vladimir Putin this week by canceling the visit to Moscow.

Next up was Congressman Steve King (R-IA) who made news this week with comments many thought were offensive about immigrants to this country. King is leading the fight against the bipartisan compromise immigration reform bill being considered by Congress.

When King finished, Republican strategist Navarro said she thinks King “needs therapy and medication.” She went on to say, “He is a mediocre congressman and the only time he makes national press is when he comes out and says something offensive.”

The program ended with a roundtable discussion on the sale of the Washington Post and the future of journalism. Kara Swisher, founder of summed up the significance of this story when she said, “A lot of people, especially in Washington not elsewhere, have this romance with newspapers that has been over for a long time with most of everyone else.”

Also follow the show on the MTP Facebook page, track Twitter feeds from host David Gregory, Meet The Press, and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, watch the midweek PressPass interview, and don’t forget Gregory’s blog.

Notes on the August 4, 2013 Broadcast of Meet The Press

August 4, 2013

All Rights NBC NewsToday’s broadcast began with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell updating us on the worldwide terror threat alert issued by the US government and others for today. Mitchell said there is a chance those threat alerts could be extended in certain places beyond today.

A tweet from @meetthepress summarized a bit of news Mitchell made on the program this morning:

“BREAKING: President Obama will not meet with Vladimir Putin on Russia trip if no change in #Snowden saga – @mitchellreports says on #MTP”

Host David Gregory said this was a “new low” in US-Russian relations.

Mitchell later added that the Department of Homeland Security is increasing security measures at American airports due to today’s terror threat alert.

Next up were Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) from the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss today’s terrorist threat. Gregory asked if the controversial NSA surveillance programs were instrumental in creating today’s threat alert. Senator Chambliss said yes. Later, Senator Durbin discussed some changes that could be put in place to limit the scope of NSA surveillance.

I was pleased to see Gregory replay the March 12, 2013 testimony of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lying to Congress about these surveillance programs. However Gregory failed to follow up on why General Clapper isn’t being held accountable for his remarks.

Both Durbin and Chambliss expressed their opposition to Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) idea of shutting down the government in order to defund Obamacare.

The roundtable featured former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) who said the terror threats we face today are due to the Obama Administration being too timid in their response to terrorists. Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough pushed back and said that the president’s drone program has been very aggressive. Scarborough went on to say that Al Qaeda is no stronger today than it was when Barack Obama took office, and he said that many people believe it is much weaker. Scarborough said this is because the president adopted many of the policies of George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Joy-Ann Reid of MSNBC agreed that the president has extended some of those policies, but said he has also ended much of the rhetorical bluster which really got the United States into trouble during the Bush Administration

Gregory asked about splits in the Republican Party over foreign policy, surveillance, intervention, and other things. Joe Scarborough and Rick Santorum said the media tend to ignore similar splits among Democrats.

There was a long discussion about Anthony Wiener and Bob Filner’s scandals. Former Mayor Rudy Guiliani (R-NYC) joined the conversation. I used this opportunity to make a new pot of coffee.

Gregory said that NBC Sports has learned that Yankee great Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for the rest of the 2013 baseball season and all of the 2014 season.

The program ended with a tribute to the late NBC News correspondent John Palmer. Andrea Mitchell called him one of the greatest to serve at NBC.

Also follow the show on the MTP Facebook page, track Twitter feeds from host David Gregory, Meet The Press, and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, watch the midweek PressPass interview, and don’t forget Gregory’s blog.

Notes on the July 21, 2013 Broadcast of Meet The Press

July 21, 2013

All Rights NBC NewsThis morning’s Meet The Press began with a discussion of race in America, prompted by President Barack Obama’s comments earlier this week about the verdict in (and aftermath of) the Trayvon Martin case. PBS host Tavis Smiley was critical of the president saying he still did not answer the critical question, “Where do we go from here?” Smiley said the nation craves moral leadership on this issue.

Other panelists, including Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree and former New Orleans Mayor Mark Morial, pushed back saying that the speech was an opening for further conversation.Smiley retorted, “Lay on the table the evidence that the president has been trying to have a conversation about race.”

Panelist including Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, we’re critical of “stand your ground” laws but agreed it was largely a state issue.

Next up was a discussion of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing featuring Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R). He said there were “no other viable options” for Detroit. “We’ve been kicking the can down the road for 60 years,” added Snyder. He said he is bullish on Detroit’s long-term future and that there are many good things going on in Detroit. “The last major obstacle is the city government,” Snyder said.

Host David Gregory pointed out that the federal government spent $80 billion to bail out the auto industry, but we can’t seem to find $18 billion to bail out Detroit.

David Brooks of the New York Times pointed out that the collapse of Detroit is not just about deindustrialization because that happened in a lot of cities. The Detroit case is about a failure of institutions, he said.

The program ended with the tribute to the late Helen Thomas who made her first appearance on Meet the Press in 1976. Gregory quoted President Obama who yesterday praised Thomas’ “…fierce belief that our democracy works best when we ask tough questions and hold our leaders to account.”

Also follow the show on the MTP Facebook page, track Twitter feeds from host David Gregory, Meet The Press, and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, watch the midweek PressPass interview, and don’t forget Gregory’s blog.

Notes on the July 14, 2013 Broadcast of Meet The Press

July 14, 2013

All rights NBC NewsWhen I heard that Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Harry Reid (D-UT), the minority and majority leaders locked in an increasingly personal battle, were to appear on Meet the Press this Sunday I had one question: Will they sit side-by-side and be interviewed simultaneously or will they fall to the unfortunate Meet The Press practice of being interviewed sequentially?

In the opening of the program I was heartened to hear host David Gregory say that McConnell and Reid would “square off” this morning on Meet the Press.

Alas, the two men were ready to go at the start of the broadcast, but Gregory did not talk to them together. What a lost opportunity. There was most certainly no “squaring off” and, therefore, not much news.

Majority Leader Reid called on Republicans to approve President Obama’s executive branch nominees. He called upon the US House of Representatives to approve the immigration reform legislation.

Minority Leader McConnell said most nominees have been confirmed. He is against changing the rules of voting in the Senate. He also hopes the immigration compromise becomes law.

Gregory was rightly hard on McConnell for continuing to refer to the Affordable Healthcare law as a “bill” in an official letter sent to the National Football League and again in the interview itself. McConnell could only laugh and offered no good reason for his terminology.

There were some fireworks in the political roundtable section of the program. National Review editor Rich Lowry said the immigration reform bill still has a chance to pass the House even though he personally believes it should fail. GOP strategist Stephen Schmidt, however, believes that the House can fix this bill and make it far better than the current immigration situation.

Former Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) passionately explained to Lowry that conservative opposition to immigration reform is political suicide for Republicans. Lowry disagreed.

Earlier in the broadcast, Senator Reid suggested that perhaps the Senate would look at a bill banning late-term abortions. Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, said in the roundtable that whenever these bills are discussed it tends to activate progressives and women to get more involved in the political process.

At the end of the broadcast, Gregory issued a correction to a reference he made last week about the Medicare surtax.

(Note that the opening minutes of the broadcast were spent on the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial. From Sanford, FL, NBC’s Kerry Sanders noted that it has been a quiet night there.)

Also follow the show on the MTP Facebook page, track Twitter feeds from host David Gregory, Meet The Press, and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, watch the midweek PressPass interview, and don’t forget Gregory’s blog.

Notes on the July 7, 2013 Broadcast of Meet The Press

July 7, 2013

All Rights NBC NewsThis morning’s broadcast began with live coverage of the Asiana flight 214 crash in San Francisco, and then turned to the crisis in Egypt.

Meet the Press was supposed to feature an exclusive interview with opposition leader Dr. Mohammed Elbaradei. Dr. Elbaradei was named prime minister of Egypt yesterday before his name was withdrawn by the Egyptian interim president’s office.

Just hours before Meet the Press came on the air, Dr. Elbaradei cancelled his appearance. Host David Gregory said he spoke with Dr. Elbaradei by phone and reported three things from that conversation: 1) Dr. Elbaradei claimed he was sick with laryngitis and a fever and therefore could do no television interviews, 2) He told Gregory that he still expects to be named prime minister as early as today, and 3) Dr. Elbaradei said, “The country is falling apart.”

Gregory then turned to Nabil Fahmy the former ambassador of Egypt to the United States. Gregory said that Fahmy has been mentioned as a potential foreign minister of Egypt in the interim government. Fahmy defended the role of the military and predicted a return to democratic processes very soon in Egypt.

Jeff Goldberg of Bloomberg called the events in Egypt a victory for progressivism and a defeat for democracy. He said we know the Muslim brotherhood are a totalitarian fundamentalist party and that their removal from power is good for women and Christians and others in Egypt. But we can also predict, he said, that it won’t be the last time the military plays a role in the political process.

Goldberg said, “If there had just been some patience on the part of liberals, the Muslim Brotherhood might have imploded on their own accord.” Now Goldberg worries the Muslim Brotherhood can be seen as martyrs and may get more involved in terrorism. Later Gregory quoted Shadi Hamid of Brookings making much the same point about the potential now for the brotherhood to become more involved in terrorism and to blame the United States for their fate.

Later Goldberg said, “This was the Muslim Brotherhood’s big chance, and they blew it. They put a bumpkin in charge, who was in over his head, and he tried to seize absolute power.”

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell pointed out that democracy is not necessarily synonymous with free and fair elections.

Moving on to other topics, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “Any such acceptance of [Edward] Snowden to any country is going to put them directly against the United States, and they need to know that.”

The political roundtable next chewed over developments in health care reform. In reaction to the Obama Administration’s delay of an employer health care mandate, Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID) asked, “So what part of Obamacare actually works?”

On immigration reform, Congressman Labrador tried to spell out the Republican opposition to the Senate bill. In a sometimes heated exchange, David Brooks of the New York Times called it one of the most intellectually weak opposition arguments he’s heard in Washington, D.C. Labrador said that is ridiculous. He later added that if we don’t do this right it will, “…be the death of the Republican Party.”

NBC’s Chuck Todd said for the first time he sees some doubt in the Obama White House about the prospects of immigration reform passing both houses of Congress this year.

Also follow the show on the MTP Facebook page, track Twitter feeds from host David Gregory, Meet The Press, and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, watch the midweek PressPass interview, and don’t forget Gregory’s blog.

Notes on the June 30, 2013 Broadcast of Meet The Press

June 30, 2013

All Rights NBC NewsThis morning’s Meet the Press began with a panel discussion of the Supreme Court same-sex marriage decisions. The panel included MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, NBC’s Pete Willams, conservative leaders Ralph Reed and Jim DeMint, and Michael Eric Dyson of Georgetown.

There were a few fireworks during the discussion, but no new ground was covered. Host David Gregory brought in Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) who is making a quixotic push for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. There was nothing new in his arguments.

Gregory then played the tape of an interview he did the day before yesterday with former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). If there was anything newsworthy in Pelosi’s comments, I assume they would’ve made their way into NBC News broadcasts on Friday or Saturday. She expressed support for same sex marriage, abortion rights, legislative action to re-instate the Voting Rights Act, etc.

She did say that anyone who thinks Edward Snowden is a hero should be disabused of that notion by now since he is threatening to share information with the Chinese and Russians.

The panel returned to discuss the Voting Rights Act. No one expressed much hope that Congress could devise a bipartisan answer to the Supreme Court’s concerns any time soon.

The most exciting part of the program was an appearance by State Senator Wendy Davis (D-TX) who successfully filibustered an anti-abortion bill in the Texas legislature last week. She did a very good job on the national stage. No doubt, we will see her again in venues such as this.

In the panel discussion on abortion rights Maddow made Reed and DeMint noticeably uncomfortable describing a state government mandated vaginal ultra-sound. She pressed them to say whether or not this was an acceptable use of government power. They dodged the question.

Also follow the show on the MTP Facebook page, track Twitter feeds from host David Gregory, Meet The Press, and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, watch the midweek PressPass interview, and don’t forget Gregory’s blog.

No Notes This Week

June 23, 2013

It sounds like I am missing an exciting Meet The Press today as I travel from Kosovo to Lisbon. You can follow (or review) the NBC LiveBlog here.