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Tag Archives: Chuck Todd

Chuck Todd Infuriated by Trump’s Attack, and That’s Bad for Journalism

It can’t be pleasant to be attacked by the president of the United States, even if you don’t like him. But what “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd did Sunday is inadvertently display exactly what is wrong with journalism and why so many people respond positively to President Trump’s attacks on the media.

At a rally in Pennsylvania Saturday night, Trump called Todd “a sleeping son of a bitch.” What journalists used to do is try to keep themselves out of the story, no matter what. What Todd did in an interview Sunday with the Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, who has nothing to do with Trump’s decorum, is inject himself directly into things.

“Many people including myself raise their kids to respect the office of the presidency and the President of the United States,” he said. “When he uses vulgarity to talk about individuals, what are they supposed to tell their kids?”

This question is obviously about Chuck Todd, who was in the receiving end of the vulgarity. A few seconds later, Mnuchin tells him, “I think you should be focused on what the policies are. He’s using these vulgarities in the context of a campaign rally and obviously, there were a lot of funny moments on, on, on that rally,” to which a clearly angry and personally offended Chuck Todd answers, “Yeah, they were hilarious.”

Now, do I think the president of the United States ought to be calling a reporter a “son of a bitch”? No, I don’t. I understand Todd’s point about Trump debasing the presidency, although I think commentary we sometimes hear that he’s some kind of fascist who intends to abolish the First Amendment is silly.

But Todd and the rest of the press want to have both ways. They want to pretend to be objective and then make their feelings and their opinions all part of the story. And almost always, their opinions are liberal. They used to try to at least hide this. No more. And so now there’s a backlash, the most serious of which is not coming from the president, but from the people, who can no longer trust the press.

Chuck Todd Asks Ben Carson How a Doctor Could be Religious

Really? Now candidates are being asked to justify their belief in God? Is that where this nation, founded as a God-fearing entity, has gotten to?

NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd wanted to know from Ben Carson how a man of science could also be a man of faith.

You’re a famed neurosurgeon, some say the best pediatric neurosurgeon living in the world today. You’re a man of deep faith. Explain how science and religion in your mind coexist.

This is insulting. Carson is way too nice. He should have shut Todd right down.

Todd: GOP Sweep Puts “an End” to Amnesty Order

NBC political analyst Chuck Todd said last night that the Republican seizure of the Senate will force President Obama to back off from his plan to temporarily legalize potentially millions of illegal immigrants.

“I think politically, tonight, it put an end to it. It would be a provocative act, politically,” Todd said. “The president is going to know that if he does this, he is starting a political war in Washington between the White House and the Republican Congress. He’d be stuck.”

Todd said Republicans will feel “they have to confront” the president if he takes such an act, given the passion on the issue within the GOP.

Yeah, well, he’s gonna do it.

Todd’s analysis presupposes that Obama cares whether he is at war with Republicans. I don’t think he does, because I don’t think he has the stomach or the desire to try to mend any fences with the GOP and do the difficult work of passing legislation during his final two years.

Obama is not going to change his character now, a character that leaves him ill-disposed toward building relationships with people who disagree with him. He’s not even particularly interested in relationships with people who do agree with him.

What’s more, this will be a legacy issue for Obama. Once these immigrants are “temporarily” legalized, as with all government-granted benefits, it becomes difficult to take it away. Obama will have taken a possibly irrevocable step toward full amnesty, while pleasing a key component of the Democratic base.

Finally, the president has been big on coming through on “promises” he made in 2008, like Obamcare, withdrawing from Iraq, and closing Guantanamo Bay, which he still wants to do. He owes Hispanics. He said he would pass comprehensive immigration reform. He didn’t – he spent his political capital on Obamacare instead – so he’ll enact it by fiat as much as possible.

Expect a temporary amnesty decree by Christmas, maybe Thanksgiving.

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.

Chuck Todd: America has Obama Fatigue

Commenting on the new CNN poll which shows Mitt Romney handily defeating Barack Obama – but easily losing to Hillary – NBC News correspondent Chuck Todd diagnosed a clear case of Obama fatigue gripping the nation.

Todd spoke this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “This is a country that is fatigued from this president,” he said. “The more foreign policy problems that crop up, you see a lack of confidence in him.”

Even CNN’s Candy Crowley on her State of the Union program Sunday seemed flummoxed by the State of our President:

“He’s out fundraising and the whole world seems to be blowing up,” said Candy, prompting guest Nancy Pelosi to issue the delusional response, “The president leadership has been very strong.”

Chuck Todd: White House Screwed Up Summers Nomination

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd this morning laid blame directly at the North Portico doorstep for President Obama’s failure to install his favored candidate, Larry Summers, as Fed Chairman, saying the effort was aborted after a “somewhat inept” performance by the White House.

The withdrawal by Summers from contention from the post – done after it became clear he could not rally Senate support for his nomination – is the second major legislative defeat for the president just this month. Obama, by most accounts, was headed for failure on a resolution supporting the bombing of Syria before he abandoned that effort and struck a deal with Russia to supposedly have Syria willingly hand its chemical weapons over.

Appearing on the Morning Joe program, Todd said the White House Summers into the arena without proper political backup, resulting in him becoming a “piñata” for his opponents on the Left.

Todd said:

There is a little bit of internal finger-pointing on how they handled the Summers issue. You know, why did they let it get so public? He was put out there, arguably by his advocates in the White House, sort of put in the public purview, but didn’t have a support network of folks – a sort of a War Room, if you will – to defend him from shots. They had to know this was coming, this was not a surprise.

When you look in hindsight, if they really wanted Larry, then how they went about it was wrong and it was a bit inept. There should have been a more concerted effort. They knew who some of the potential roadblocks could be in the Democratic side. They should have been working that a little bit harder behind the scenes before they went so public and allowed him to become a piñata on the Left.

Obama’s influence  on Capitol Hill has declined to the point that he has so little “political capital” he can’t punish Democrats for opposing Summers, Todd said.

Chuck Todd Tries to Conduct His Own Press Conference

Updated March 21 at 7:28 am ET

I really hate it when White House reporters get so impressed with themselves that they ask forty questions. Chuck’s a nice guy and not normally a blowhard, but he seems here to have temporarily lost a sense of his own importance relative to the rest of the universe.

I’m glad President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu called him out. This is really quite amusing.

The worst I’ve ever seen – among many floor grabbers – was ABC’s Martha Raddatz, who would act as if the daily White House briefing had been arranged mainly for her personal use. NBC’s David Gregory had an excellent sense of the essentialness of his own questions too.

At least Chuck is asking good questions. But you are much more likely to get a good answer with one carefully crafted question buttressed by a precise follow up after your subject tries to dodge. Otherwise, the questions are about you, not about getting responses.

H/T to Dylan Byers of Politico.

UPDATE: I thought some more about this, and I want to note that this was one of those bilateral press conferences the president holds with foreign leaders at which questions are limited, in this case to two for the American press and two to for the Israelis.

With only limited access to the president, it’s quite possible Chuck was motivated more by a desire to get as many questions in as possible in order to get as much information as possible than he was by a desire to hear himself speak.