Now that the bloodletting is over we are starting to learn about the coming changes to “Meet the Press,” the once-premiere Sunday news show driven into the ground by David Gregory. After months of speculation, Gregory is now completely out the NBC door and Chuck Todd is taking over as permanent host on September 7. What we know so far is that Todd intends to “demystify” DC and that there will be more meeting of the press on “Meet the Press.”
Speaking with the New York Times, NBC News president Deborah Turness said The Expected about how the show “needs more edge” and to be “more consequential.” One announced change of actual substance “includes adding a regular panel of journalists who will question guests, something of a return to the venerable show’s original format.” This is good. But…
Who will make up that panel of journalists?
When the media speaks of diversity that always means we’re going to get the Village People: a group that looks different but all sing the same tune, which is titled “Give the Federal Government More Power.”
If there is no ideological diversity on that journalism panel, “Meet the Press” will look different but be more of the same. If a seat at the table is opened only for media-approved “conservatives” like Joe Scarborough, David Frum, Ana Navarro, or David Brooks, why even bother.
How about Mark Levin?
Appearing on the “Today Show” Monday, Todd didn’t lay out many specifics. He said he wants to “demystify Washington for the American public” and “translate” our frustration for “out of touch Washington people.”
The problem with “Meet the Press” is simple. Under Gregory it went from a Sunday show where Democrats were held every bit as accountable as Republicans to a Sunday show that became safe for Democrats and The Land of Gotcha for Republicans.
Tim Russert brutalized everyone equally. Whether it was Al Gore or George W. Bush, Russert was meticulously prepared, knew his stuff, gave no one an inch, didn’t fear things getting awkward, and in that way served the American people as opposed to DC.
Conservatives tuned in — not because Russert took it easy on us, but because he treated Democrats to the same beating Republicans took everywhere. Which is how it should be.
More than anything else, “Meet the Press” has a culture problem. Russert had the courage to make his liberal media friends uncomfortable by doing actual political damage to Democrats.
If Democrat guests again share the same political risk as their Republican counterparts, “Meet the Press” can rise again. If not, just kill the franchise and rerun “Lock-Up: Des Moines.”
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC