People at NBC are talking, and the things they are saying about Meet The Press moderator David Gregory are not good. In the face of reports that he is about to be fired, Gregory cut his vacation short last week so that he could host Meet The Press.
Here’s the situation according to Politico:
David Gregory wasn’t supposed to host “Meet the Press” on Sunday. He was on a planned vacation in Nantucket, where, the night before, he had hosted a special presentation of the Boston Pops, sponsored by Coastal Living and Real Simple.
Midway through the week, however, Gregory changed his mind. His fate at “Meet the Press” had been the subject of numerous press reports. Page Six and others had declared him dead in the water come November. Several NBC personalities were already vying to replace him. Gregory was chartered back to Washington for Sunday’s program, having concluded, one NBC source said, that being off was “a dumb move” — that would have only further fueled speculation that the host was on his way out.
For well over a year now, NBC News executives have been trying to come up with a solution to what sources there referred to as “the David Gregory problem.” The host had driven NBC’s once-dominant Sunday show to the bottom of the ratings race. He was widely disliked within the organization and his ambition and vanity rubbed important colleagues at NBC the wrong way. Perhaps most importantly, he didn’t seem all that engaged with politics and policy, the bread and butter of Sunday public affairs programming.
It is nice that NBC finally noticed what many viewers caught on to years ago. David Gregory doesn’t care about politics. He has always been disinterested party on his own program. In the past I have referred to Gregory as the anti-Russert. David Gregory’s idea of research is to repeat Republican talking points on the air.
The interesting thing is that people at NBC seem to dislike Gregory for the exact same reasons that viewers have turned him off. David Gregory has never connected with viewers on a basic level. Many Meet The Press viewers don’t like or trust the current host. Gregory seems inauthentic to many of them, and viewers can tell that he isn’t interested in politics, but NBC is likely making a mistake by blaming all of the show’s problems on him.
Meet The Press is out of touch. The show relies too much on political conventional wisdom which is often made by people who treat Republican beliefs as facts. Replacing David Gregory with the equally bland and conventional Chuck Todd isn’t going to solve the problem. The problem is with the perceived balance of the show itself. If everything else stays the same, Chuck Todd’s Meet The Press won’t be much different from David Gregory’s version.
If Gregory showed as much passion for politics and informing viewers as he did for trying to save his job, Meet The Press wouldn’t be the disaster that it is today.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association