|December 11, 2008|
|Good Luck to David Gregory on His 'Meet the Press' Debut|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|The nation finally can exhale as NBC’s David Gregory debuts this Sunday as moderator of “Meet the Press,” succeeding the sainted Tim Russert. |
The media hype surrounding the hunt for Russert’s replacement almost equaled the hoopla connected with his death and funeral. Tons of newsprint and barrels of ink were spilled on a program that carries little weight (and is barely watched) beyond the Beltway and media-centric Manhattan.
NBC didn’t exactly scour the ends of the earth to look for the head of a program challenged by the rise of the Internet and decline of newspapers, which routinely reported Monday morning about the goings-on at MtP. Gregory made his mark as White House tormentor for NBC/MSNBC. He was competing with the network’s chief foreign affairs reporter Andrea Mitchell and political director Chuck Todd, a “winner” for his solid election polling and commentary. NBC though can’t be accused of looking just in-house. It did pay some attention to Gwin Ifill, who stars on her own talking heads show on PBC.
Jack Shafer, writing in Slate, gives Gregory sage advice, urging him to put the kibosh on Russert’s retinue of cronies:
“Who hasn't heard enough from James Carville and Mary Matalin by now? Hasn't plagiarist Doris Kearns Goodwin run out of gas? Doesn't William Safire phone it in? Can't NBC do the right thing and give Andrea Mitchell her own show? And why does the mere sight of David Broder, Bob Shrum, E.J. Dionne, or Peggy Noonan on television make me want to kill myself?”
Don' be so harsh on yourself, Jack. Thousands are on your side.
Shafer recommends that Gregory put Thomas Frank, the house liberal at the Wall Street Journal, into the rotation. Frank is this blogger’s favorite columnist and author of two of the best recent books on politics: “What’s the Matter with Kansas,” and “The Wrecking Crew.”
His WSJ piece today is a doozy. He zeroes in on the New York Times Magazine’s pathetic 8,000 word epic penned by Alex Kuczynski about her “rent-a-womb” search for a surrogate mother. It is a classic “let them eat cake” piece of junk.
“For years Ms. Kuczynski worked the plutocracy beat for the New York Times, and in her whimsical way she described the travails of the world's supermodels, the scene-making that went on at this or that high-end restaurant, and the feeling on the hard streets of Greenwich and the Hamptons.”
Kuczynski married a hedge fund billionaire in '05 and paid a lower-middle class Pennsylvania woman to carry her child. That allowed Alex to go whitewater rafting down Level-10 rapids on the Colorado River, race down a mountain at 60 miles an hour at ski-racing camp, drink bourbon and go the Super Bowl. The offending spread included a photo of Alex “holding the baby on the lawn of her Southampton estate, with columns, topiary and servant.” Another image shows the “surrogate sitting, barefoot and alone, on a beat-up porch of her house in Pennsylvania.”
Frank frets the Times hasn’t yet received the memo that “our national love affair with the rich is coming to a close. The moguls whose exploits we used to follow with such fascination, it now seems, plowed the country into the ground precisely because of the fabulous rewards that were showered on them.”
Good luck, David. Give Tom a call. He is more in line with the times than the old James and Mary song and dance act.
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