The left-wing Mediaite is pretty good at aggregating videos but a recent column attacking NBC’s Chuck Todd for sitting down for an interview with Breitbart News is yet another example of why Mediate’s media analysis remains an industry laughingstock for its shallow self-importance.
Although the headline tells readers that Chuck Todd is 6 weeks into his new tenure as “Meet the Press” moderator, without any apparent knowledge of how television news works, Mediaite pretends those 6 weeks actually mean something — that what really is a nanosecond to anyone who understands this business, is somehow definitive.
Let me put it this way: Judging the success of a television news program after only 6 episodes is like assuming your 6 week old baby will eventually land in prison or on the moon.
Mediaite’s reasoning for this pompous analysis? “Over the past two weeks … Meet is down 34 and 30 percent in the demo, respectively.”
Mediate criticizes Todd for a couple of moments of editorializing about the midterms, which is fair on its own but absurd within the context of two ratings cycles. Nonetheless, the primary thrust of Mediate’s brainless preening is to shame NBC and Todd for daring to step off the accepted media plantation:
Off-camera, the decisions have seemingly been misguided and mismanaged. For example, why is Mr. Todd even speaking to Media Matters? Or Breitbart for that matter? Both sites are successful and have their own niche audiences — that’s not the point, nor is it an indictment on what each provides in terms of content. But as the neutral moderator of the television’s longest-running program, Todd probably shouldn’t sit down publications seen as heavily partisan for the perception it gives alone. Choose Time, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, Slate, National Journal, even Politico — but the more polarizing publications offer no reward. Bad form. The bigger question is: Who signed off on this decision?
I have a better question: Who signed off on Mediaite’s analysis? Are there no editors to say, “You’re blow-harding over 2 weeks?”
Oh my, look: despite all the big news these past two weeks, according to Alexa, Mediate’s traffic numbers have crashed since September. What shall I choose to blame that on? Oh, I know: WHY DID MEDIATE LET TOMMY CHRISTOPHER GO?
See how that works.
Breitbart News is frequently accused of being reactionary, but we’ve written nothing about the potential success or failure of “Meet the Press” under Todd … because after only 6 episodes that would be dumb.
“Meet the Press” isn’t a “bigger mess,” it’s a work in progress, which can look messy, especially when you assume the anchor chair under the circumstances of David Gregory’s sudden ousting and in the heat of a potentially seismic midterm election.
And how bizarre that Mediate invokes the name of the late “Tim Russert” against Todd but does so without mentioning to its readers one teeny-tiny little factoid: That it took the mighty Russert a full six years to pull “Meet the Press” to number one.
Six years, not six weeks. Why did Mediaite hide that fact, he asked rhetorically.
To his credit, what Todd is obviously doing is attempting to broaden the “Meet” audience by coming to us and Media Matters. Unlike Mediaite, he understands that the news media is fracturing and that if you want to reach customers you now have to go outside The Accepted Plantation. Furthermore, it is not at all ridiculous to assume that a guy as open and decent as Tim Russert would’ve done the same had he assumed The Chair in 2014 instead of 1992.
If Mediaite wants to criticize Todd for talking to Breitbart and others not named Mediaite, make a case. But to buttress your anti-science analysis with an anti-science conclusion is just anti-science.
Because Mediaite is setting this standard, if and when Todd’s ratings jump, even if it’s just for a week, Breitbart News looks forward to publishing a piece of analysis concluding that this success is due to the fact Todd did not speak with Mediaite.
Because, you know, science.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC