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Chuck Todd Takes Over Meet the Press

I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not sure NBC White House Correspondent Chuck Todd is the right choice to host Meet the Press.

Todd, as you probably know, will replace David Gregory. I’ve worked with both during their stints as White House reporters.

This is why Tim Russert succeeded so well on Meet the Press: He was smart, affable, sunny, knowledgable, passionate about politics, and without losing the cherubic look on his face, could slowly rip the intestines out of his guests.

Chuck has everything but the last quality. Maybe he can develop it.

At the White House, Chuck is a good questioner, standing out among mediocre inquisitors in the room. But he lacks the instinct to really carve up the press secretary.

Media reporter Dylan Byers put it well today in Politico:

Todd is well known for his analytical skills, his grasp of data and historical knowledge, but rattling off stats about House districts is not the same skill set as grilling evasive high-ranking politicians and officials on the issues of the day.

Viewers expect more than political trivia from Sunday morning shows — they want a program that goes beyond the recitation of familiar talking points, network execs believe. Americans already believe that the political press corps is too cozy with the politicians it covers. They are hungry for someone who can hold their guests’ feet to the fire, they say.

NBC would have done better perhaps to try to purloin from CNN Jake Tapper, who has that likable but tough quality of Russert’s. Ed Henry of Fox News has a similar ability as Russert to project a friendly countenance while implacably pressing for a serious answer. And Jonathan Karl has proven himself a relentless cross examiner in the White House briefing room.

Perhaps the best replacement of all is, tragically, dead. David Bloom, the NBC White House correspondent who perished in 2003 covering the Iraq war, was the best questioner I ever saw in the briefing room. He didn’t let the smooth talking Clinton White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry get away with anything.

chuck toddIt’s real hard to feel sorry for David Gregory. He was reportedly unpopular at NBC, at it’s not surprising. In the limited amount of contact we had at the White House, he was always friendly, but his behavior generally was atrocious. He gave no heed to the other reporters in the room, hogging the floor.

If we were questioning someone at the mikes on the West Wing driveway who had just met with the president, he’d show up and then it was, David Gregory’s here, everyone shut up while I ask my questions. There are ways to be aggressive without being obnoxious.

Still, I admired his tenaciousness and his commitment to the essential function of journalism, making the powerful tell the truth. I actually thought he was a good choice for Meet the Press.

Todd is, as they say, exactly the same in person as you see on TV. He has a disarming genuineness and knowledge not just of the political scene, but the motivations of the actors.

But his first responsibility as host must not be playing footsie with other Washington types, but holding their feet to the fire. It’s his duty. I hope he succeeds, because our politicians need accountability, not chumminess.

27 thoughts on “Chuck Todd Takes Over Meet the Press”

  1. Keith, no personal offense, but I could not possibly care less about who hosts “Meet The Press.” The press are “fair accompli” – cohorts in crime, if you will, with this administration. When the cows come home – and eventually, they will, the press will have to build their own barn to house those cows. They cannot, will not have mine.

  2. Tim Russert is rolling over his his grave. Tim was the epitome of what a political show host should be. Chuck is nothing more than a political operative of NBC, who is a known supporter of Dem politics and who will continue the softball questions of any and all Dems. I only watch Fox news Sunday with Chris Wallace anyway. I long ago gave up MTP.

    1. I agree. I do not watch it anymore. The old school reporters are what I miss.
      This has been stated before, better questions, are ask here.
      I agree with DeniseVB comment below (at 10:51) as well.

  3. Why do I get the feeling the WH had something to do with offing Gregory and hiring ChuckyT ?

    Did David question the official WH talking points one time too many?

    If it’s ratings NBC is concerned about, they ain’t gonna’ get better as long as they make their host lob softballs at the Lefty and RINO politcians. We the people are smarter than that :D

  4. I’ve watched them all, including the PBS zombie show, and they all have the same faces, promote the same talking points, and the same stink of old, stale news.
    The only interesting interview was with SusanRice when she brilliantly said the same thing about Benghazi five times in one morning and not one of the hosts questioned her opinion or her “facts”.
    Not one host asked her about the deleted tweet from our Egyption embassy, not one asked how the Libyans managed to view a video that virtually no one in the world had seen, nor did any of them ask why no troops were deployed to assist the embattled Americans. Not one asked her where the President was or what he was doing that night.
    Not one.
    They all ate the faux cookie presented by the devious WhiteHouse.

    So, the new NBC boot-licker will take over a program that no one watches, whoo-hoo. Good luck Chuck.

    1. Great point! If we all understand your point of view. Why or why don’t the MSM understand it?
      I have my reason. When time allows, I would love to here anyone’s thought on that issue.

    2. srdem: *********LIKE****************

      ps: It’s not wise to eat Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies over the laptop keyboard. I now have crumbs stuck between the c and the v. :-)

  5. Chuck Todddd……groan….his name means death in German. Glad if the Gregster goes, though–what a waste watching him try to get people to say what HE thought. Wasn’t Todd a graphic designer, pollster, the Chyron guy of something before being annointed a real boy?

    1. I remember him way back when I was a Dem and he wrote political pieces for The National Journal blog. Helped get Obama elected so am assuming NBC/Obama rewarded him with a real journo gig.

  6. “grilling evasive high-ranking politicians and officials on the issues of the day”

    That ship has sailed when Obama parted the water.

  7. Now, it’s just Meet the MORE Depressed. I never watched MTP after Tim Russert’s untimely death. With Russert, I never quite knew what his party designation was…he was that good. I assumed he was a DEM simply b/c he worked for NBC.
    I agree, Keith. Jake Tapper would be a better choice. In any case, I will not be watching. And it’s not b/c of Obama – his goose is cooked. It’s b/c Hillary makes me ill, and I refuse to listen to the chatter for the next two years. If she wins, there’s always Canada.

    1. Hillary makes me ill too! I groan at the sight and sound of her. I turn her stumpy legs off. She is not qualified, its not fair that the woman who let the Ambassador die and other three men die without lifting a finger to help them, when they begged and pleaded for help so many times and she refused to send help, and then they were murdered.

      1. In a parallel universe, (about 15- 20 yrs ago) little miss log legs would have been shown the pastureland from the very start of her lust for power & crown. She alone is the reason for the recent spike in maalox sales. And she looks as miserable as any hag I’ve seen…. thats why we have done the amish thing… she is shunned from our TV/monitor. :D

  8. Tim Russert actually hired Chuck Todd about a year before he died. It was reported at the time of Russert’s death that he was going to mentor Todd to be his replacement when he retired.

    1. so Tim’s death was truly untimely and he is truly turning over in his grave as he sees what a joke NBC, MTP, and Chuck has become. Fortunately for Tim, he’s in a better place and doesn’t have to deal with this BS anymore.

  9. I guess the Obama are trying to make up,with Chuck for giving Josh Earnest the Press Secreteary Job instead of him. I mean Chuck has been trying out for the job since before 2008. Obama’s aides did not come to President quicker than Chuck Todd.

  10. Agree with the consensus that Chuck Todd is a terrible choice but among the NBC crew, is it any surprise? Look at their line up…..Rachael Maddow and his/her twin Chris Hayes, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, even the so called legit news people…Brian Williams and yes even the once respected Tom Brokaw. All so blatantly left-leaning it’s disgusting. Meet the Press and overall journalistic independence died with Russert.

  11. Tim Russert, God rest his soul, was a one of a kind. Clearly. No one could have filled his shoes. He understood and focused on the relevance of high political offices and the people directly effected by these elected leaders.

    David Gregory was the worst choice to replace Russert.In his own career, he went from a stuffed, over-starched shirt type of correspondent to a beaming and upbeat talking head on the Today show. To put him on the flagship of Sunday morning news shows was an incredible error. To leave him on for 9 years? Incredibly stupid. Ratings suicide.

    Give Mr. Todd a chance. Let him know your criticisms. He is no frail puppet in an Armani suit or a soft news yuckster.

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