Chuck Todd, the new host of NBC’s long-running Sunday political show “Meet The Press,” gave a long interview to Salon.com in which he professed to hate the ratings game, is distressed when news people become the news, and confessed that he already has “Hillary fatigue.”
The NBC political news director started out his interview dismissing assertions that “Meet The Press” is a “broken” program, saying that instead of fixing the program, he is only trying to “make it better.”
But he said he also hates the ratings game. Todd said he understood that he was necessarily in the race for ratings, but felt that his program had more to offer. He was also upset that journalists who write about the media game only focus on ratings nearly to the exclusion of all else.
Todd said he was very pleased that his ratings in the all-important Washington, D.C. market had improved over the previous “Meet The Press” host’s.
“That to me is an important metric; if Washington cares about the show, that’s a start,” he said adding that if “opinion leaders” liked him, he must be on the right path.
One might understand his disgust at the ratings game, though. Since taking “Meet The Press” from former host David Gregory, his show has continued to stay in third place among the big three networks.
The new host was also stung by recent reports that NBC asked “Daily Show” comedian Jon Stweart to head “Meet The Press” before they turned to him.
Todd went on to insist that journalists shouldn’t “become part of a story.”
Salon.com then asked about the 2016 Democrat field. Todd said he was having a hard time seeing who might give Hillary a primary challenge. He immediately ruled out Maryland’s Martin O’Malley and Vermont’s self-proclaimed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. But Todd also felt that former Virginia Senator Jim Webb was also a no-go for 2016.
“He doesn’t strike me as having the hunger to do the campaigning you need to do,” Todd said.
While Todd understood why Hillary already jumped into the race, he also noted that he already has “Hillary fatigue.” And he isn’t the only one.
“The biggest problem she has is that a ton of people in the media have Hillary fatigue. I don’t know if the grass-roots Democrats do; eight years ago they did, which is why they looked to Obama. People had Hillary fatigue — really, Clinton fatigue — and were looking for a new direction. Now in the grass roots there’s some Clinton nostalgia, especially as Obama’s presidency looks shaky. But the Hillary fatigue in the press corps is going to be a challenge.”
The NBC political director is flogging his new book about President Obama entitled “The Stranger.” The project has elicited a comment from the subject of the book, too. This week, Obama called Todd’s book project “sad.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter: @warnerthuston. Email the author at email@example.com.