Some humble suggestions for David Gregory
I don’t go to church on Sundays, but I do watch Meet the Press. So I am pleased to see that the venerable NBC talk show is finally going to get a permanent host to replace the late Tim Russert. Herewith, some unsolicited advice for the new guy, former White House reporter David Gregory: Bring ...
Herewith, some unsolicited advice for the new guy, former White House reporter David Gregory:
- Bring on subject-matter experts more often. Chuck Todd and Paul Begala are great political commentators, but they should not be your go-to guys on, say, what to do about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai or the wisdom of airstrikes on Iran. There are plenty of smart wonks out there who know how to make a splash on television, so don’t just go to the usual suspects. Having more genuine experts on TV before the Iraq war might have brought some inconvienent truths to light and saved us all a lot of trouble.
- Stop using boring senators such as Claire McCaskill as proxies for Barack Obama. You are only going to get bland talking points because they will be too afraid of making a mistake. Powerful committee chairs, on the other hand, can often make news on the program.
- Score more exclusives. Meet the Press would be a great venue to launch things like Bob Graham’s terrifying WMD report.
- Be yourself, but don’t be a jerk. Bring the same love of politics and spirit of bonhomie that Russert brought to the game, but avoid overly cosy relationships with some guests. Save the how’s-your-marriage banter with James Carville and Mary Matalin for the green room.
- Ask tough follow-up questions. Don’t let your interview subjects wriggle away as Tom Brokaw does, but don’t rely as heavily on trying to nail them with predictable “flip-flop” gambits like Tim Russert did. If the damning quotes are recent and relevant, go for it. But remember that a foolish consistency in the face of shifting evidence is no virtue.
- Make Joe Biden a weekly panelist.
Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images for Meet The Press
Blake Hounshell is a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.
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