Monday, June 16, 2008

What to Do with Meet the Press

In the wake of Tim Russert's tragic, untimely death last Friday there's much speculation as to what NBC executives will do with Meet the Press, the venerable Sunday morning news program he hosted for sixteen years. But, there was truly only one Tim Russert, and selecting a suitable replacement is surely a daunting task for the network.

In my opinion, there are only two names from which to choose: Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw. Let's review the more obvious choice first. Brokow represents the same type of old school non-partisan journalistic integrity as Russert, as well as a genuine passion, enthusiasm and love of politics. He commands respect from both sides of the aisle, and is a veritable encyclopedia of national news and world affairs. He's a slam dunk for the job, and truly the only person who can occupy that chair and do justice to its former resident.

But then there's Rather who, up until four years ago, was one of the news biz's most respected journalists. A guy who unfortunately got caught up in a controversial shitstorm in the age of Karl Rove/Tom Delay dirty Republican politics. How sad that over 40 years of dutiful service was tossed in the trash over one story about President Bush's alleged draft evasion during the Vietnam War. Mind you, Rather was and still is right about the story. But the right-wing fanatics conducted a witch hunt and shot the messenger, rather than question the message. Democrats simply went along for the ride. It was shameful and undeserving. NBC would show it has ginormous journalistic integrity, and balls, were it to put Rather behind that famous desk. It would make a huge statement to the partisan hacks who took him down: that there's a new sheriff in town, and a new town as well.....

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Anonymous said...

What about David Gregory? His tenacious interview style seems like a natural. He's young and energetic and part of the NBC family.

Sidney Condorcet said...

David Gregory is an establishment hack...He doesn't have the spine for the job...

Brokaw is a good fill-in, but too old for the long-term gig...

Rather's style is entirely 20th Century...

MTP needs a smart, convivial, youngish outsider (much as Russert was kind of an unconventional choice in '91) who does hours upon hours of painstaking research and can be fairminded, but tough....

I think it's past time for a woman to get a sunday talk show and so I submit two names:
1)Gwen Ifell (safe choice)
2)Rachel Maddow (longshot)

Anonymous said...

Let's see...

You say David Gregory doesn't have the spine for the job (yet he has consistently demonstrated on the White House beat the ability to ask very touch questions).

Gwen Ifell and Rachel Maddow are both incredibily partisan, yet you think they would both be good candidates for the job. You sir, are the hack!

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant to say "tough" not "touch." However, calling "Sidney" a hack was accurate.

Sidney Condorcet said...

Oh yeah, Russert wasn't partisan, right? Moynihan and Cuomo weren't Democrats? Please...Maddow and Ifell aren't partisans in the way that Olbermann or Hannity are partisans. They are mature journalists who could be very fair minded and equal opportunity interviewers.

Gregory danced with Karl Rove, 'nuff said.

Anonymous said...

First, do not irritate is my criterion. I find Rachel Maddow irritating beyond endurance, followed by Gwen Ifell, and, lately David Gregory. He, has, as have them all, succumbed to the party line demanded by MSNBC. And there is no doubt Russert was an ardent partisan as we all saw when he seemed almost maniacal when questioning Hillary in the now famous debate.

Rather would be the most likely to maintain his integrity but I don't think MSNBC has the balls to hire him. He has a nice laid back manner that doesn't intrude in the dynamics of the interview. Maddow is too hyper, for example and Gregory doesn't have enough "presence."

Brokow would also be great.

Anonymous said...

The Creator of Meet the Press was Martha Rountree in 1947. She was also the first host.

Bring back a woman!

Anonymous said...

Rachel Maddow rocks and is a great talk show host on Air America as well as MSNBC. She is also gay and proud of it.

Anonymous said...

Rachel Maddow is too hyper and much too partisan. She is so hyped-up she had to keep shaking her head while someone else spoke who disagreed with her,

Although, it would be nice to see a female anchor who is not in a plunging neckline, dangling earrings and a "do" that flows lower than the neckline.

Call me sexist if you must, but I'd think women would object to being dressed to look like "Barbie" at a cocktail party, while they're seriously talking about world events.

Anonymous said...

Brokaw wouldn't do it and Rather is still toxic.

Chuck Todd?

Anonymous said...

anyone see that Al Gore endorsed Obama last night ?

Muhahahaha....the kiss of death!

Anonymous said...

I think the best thing they could do with MTP and all the other shows is to simply cancel them. They are among the most dishonest productions on television news.

Network news - including cable news - does America a HUGE disservice. CBS has the camera's eye as their logo - an inference on the notion that they simply are our window onto reality. It's really a visual image of Fox's "we report, you decide".

Neither is true - just look at the corrupt manner in which Dan Rather behaved. And Fox? More examples than you can count.

Amongst the most prominent newsies who are framed as part and parcel of the news gathering/dissemination process include an amazing roster of people who have clear histories as harsh partisans on one side of the aisle.

Roger Ailes - Reagan
Tom Johnson (CNN) - LBJ
Cokie Roberts - daughter of House Majority Leader
George Stephanopoulous - Clinton's flack.
Tim Russert - Moynihan and Cuomo.
Chris Matthews - Carter's speech writer.

There is a big difference between putting Carville on CNN and Rove on Fox as COMMENTATORS.

These people with clear biases are humans. They have their biases and they are NOT going to put them aside.

So we have an industry that hides behind the first amendment, that seeks to push itself into every corner and control information (which is why they all oppose loosened campaign finance rules). One would think that the industry would have the sense to be smart enough to avoid these clear conflicts of interest.

But they don't.

Which is why you can bank more on what you read in the National Enquirer than the WSJ or the NY Times.

Anonymous said...

1:57 Well said.

I'm sure you're right and I hope you'll expand your audience, if indeed, it is confined to this blog. Everyone should either learn the truth or be reminded of it.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Ditto--fine assessment, 1:57.

How about Bill Moyers? He's an unabashed progressive, but he's also a seasoned journo and a very tough interrogator. Moreover he's very well informed and provides balance to his interviews. When I say "unabashed" progressive, I mean that he doesn't wear his partisanship on his sleeve.

Definitely not Gregory. I like Dan Rathers as a choice, and lots of people have been throwing around Chuck Todd's name, which is not bad, either.

Anonymous said...

Energy Guzzled by Al Gore’s Home in Past Year Could Power 232 U.S. Homes for a Month
Gore’s personal electricity consumption up 10%, despite “energy-efficient” home renovations

NASHVILLE - In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

“A man’s commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home,” said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.”

In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.

Freedem said...

For all the gushing over Russert I was a bit appalled. They should have just renamed the show "Meet Tim Russert" a long time ago, as it totally lost its original multi member actual press.

That would be a very good thing to bring back. To have several press people who have other actual press jobs, coming in on a rotating basis, and based on how they handle that job.

Helen Thomas, Kieth Olbermann, Rachael Maddow, could easily be paired with what ever person Cato or Heritage Foundations might suggest, or other person perceived as a middle of the roader.

Each of say four journalists gets to actually act like journalists for 15 min, or not invited back, and let people judge for themselves where the reality lies.

Anonymous said...

Moyers is indeed an "unabashed" progressive in that his bias is "not concealed or disguised - it is obvious." That became clear when he interviewwed Rev. wright. T

The same can be said for Maddow, Todd, and anyone who works for MSNBC, because unabashed partisanship is a requirement for employment there.

Anonymous said...

Bill Moyers would nicely fit in the list of "news gatherers and dissementators" that I noted above. He was a press executive and active memeber of the Kennedy and LBJ administrations.

These networks should just shut down their news divisions and turn things over to the people at the National Enquirer.

At least there will be no doubt about the source.

Anonymous said...

I don't even know who is a true journalist anymore. Ostroy helped my understanding when he responded to a critic by saying that his job, as a journalist, is to report the new (the truth,) rather than to interpret the news.

Most of the "journalists" recommended for the Russert job don't seem to fit that definition, to me.

Certainly not Olbermann, Matthews, Maddow, for starters. They are so biased that a listener can almost predict what they will say next.

Based on Ostroy's definition who, besides him, is a true journalist?

How about Ostroy for the job?

Anonymous said...

Ostroy is a nice guy and pretty smart. But he's a strident partisan - even he'd admit that. What we need in the media are people who are committed to honest, neutral principles - people who have respect for the ethics of their profession

Anonymous said...

"I guess the senator [Obama] has changed his position since voting for the 2005 Bush energy bill - a grab-bag of corporate handouts that I opposed," McCain said. "Come to think of it, that energy bill was the only time we've ever seen Senator Obama vote in favor of any tax break - and it was a tax break for the oil companies."

-John McCain

Anonymous said...


Too funny.

You'd have a pretty hard time finding a single policy issue John McCain has not flip-flopped on since he branded himself a "maverick" while running for President in 2000.

He's become a parody of his carefully crafted previous image.

Anonymous said...

At least McCain let's us know when he's changed his mind. Today The Wash. Post reports that it's been discovered that Obama told the Iraqis that they are not to believe his promises to the American people during this campaign that he will withdraw troops immediately. That he'll take his time and do it later when he wants to. This is like his NAFTA and Canadian warning not to believe his campaign promises.

MCCain may flip; but Obama lies. Obams is becoming the "second Bush."

And, suddenly Obama says "spouses" are off limits after making Bill a constant target of bashing.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama's strategy for Iraq has been clear since November 2006: Immediately begin withdrawing troops from Iraq with a fixed timetable at a rapid pace. And Iraq's foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari finds this extremely disconcerting. Mr. Zebari says that a precipitous withdrawal "would create a huge vacuum and undo all the gains and achievements. And the others would celebrate."

So Mr. Zebari had a message for Barack Obama which was that Iraq is really making progress and he hopes that any action Obama takes will not endanger this process. It was Obama's reply that caught my eye: he said that "if there would be a Democratic administration, it will not take any irresponsible, reckless, sudden decisions or action to endanger your gains, your achievements, your stability or security. Whatever decision he will reach will be made through close consultation with the Iraqi government and U.S. military commanders in the field."

Ok ....... so what are we supposed to make of that? I've said from the beginning that the most important issue for this country is terrorism, and our efforts in Iraq are our greatest front in that fight. So here we have a Democrat candidate who is promising his voters a speedy withdrawal ... then we have a foreign minister who says a speedy withdrawal would be disastrous ... then we have a Democrat candidate who says he is willing to consult with the Iraqi government on how to handle the situation ... and then we have an Iraqi government that doesn't want us to withdraw immediately.

I don't know, folks. We've always known that politicians will do anything to get elected ... but it seems like every day there Barack Obama has "changed" his mind or "shifted" his view. But all you, the ignorant voter, need to remember is that he will bring you change that you can believe in.

Anonymous said...

9:18, it's quite simple:

Obama has said all along that he plans to start troop drawdowns, and to get us out of Iraq (he's never said when), but in a manner that is responsive to "the facts on the ground," meaning he WANTS to pull out troops immediately and quickly, but he has ALWAYS included the caveat that this would have to depend on the situation there. Certainly during the primaries, and even now, he finesses the answer by highlighting McCain's apparent insistence on staying the course (i.e. no promises of troop drawdowns, no timetables, etc.).

Look at what his (former?) advisor, Powers, had been saying the whole time: you use troop drawdowns as a negotiating tactic to ensure the Iraqis will get shit done. Obama's position is that troop drawdowns will always be done according to what is most prudent and do-able. Recall in the debates when Edwards was still in: Edwards pressed both Obama and Clinton as to how many troops would be moved out, and most importantly where they would go: home, Kuwait, where? Both Clinton and Obama demurred, because they knew they could make no promises, and I believe they both thought that most likely they'd be "over the horizon" (i.e. Kuwait).

Obama's actual position on Iraq has never changed: he wants to get us out of there, but is mindful of being too precipitous. Anyone who thought he or Hillary would just pull 'em out was being willfully stupid. The only thing that's shifted is the rhetorical tack Obama's taken, depending on the venue. Like all of them, he's finessed the emphasis of his plan, but like all of them, he notes it's both impossible and probably undesirable to pull out all troops ASAP.

Did you people really believe that any of the candidates was just going to unilaterally end our involvement in Iraq starting Jan. 21? What the hell have you been smoking?

Finally, which would you rather have: Obama who actually WANTS to drawdown troops at some point, even though he may not be able to, or McCain, who's made it clear he has no intention of drawdowns, and if possible would want to increase troop levels?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Boortz,

"I don't know, folks."

Yes, that's made readily apparent.

"We've always known..."

Didn't you just say you don't know?

"that politicians will do anything to get elected ... "

Interesting. Obama is a politician, but SO IS JOHN MCCAIN, right? So what the hell is your point?

"but it seems like every day there Barack Obama has "changed" his mind or "shifted" his view."

You really don't know, do you? John McCain has spent the last month shape-shifting so much he's likely to break a hip.

"But all you, the ignorant voter,"

Classic Boortz... the need to insult.

"need to remember is that he will bring you change that you can believe in."

No, WE can bring change we can believe in and the only candidate remaining for president who espouses a hope for new vision and direction for the United States is Barack Obama.

Like you, Mr. Boortz (or Boortz wannabe), McCain is stuck in a 20th century mindset that has proven disastrous over the last 7.5 years and simply advocates more of the same.

Anonymous said...

Obama is "redoing" his wife" and we must forget that she said "America is mean"' Redoing his Iraq policy, but not telling the American people about it; "redoing" the seating arrangement of Muslims when he speaks; and by an large, giving us so much "change" I changed my mind about his judgment and leadership ability.

Anonymous said...


Nice try, little GOP troll.

See the log in your own candidate's eye...

Anonymous said...

In March of 2007, the Obama campaign stated that he would "aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election" if he won the Democratic primary election.

Every major Presidential candidate since 1971 has used public financing and now Obama wants going back on his word and buy the election. If Obama becomes President he'll have to backtrack on almost all of his empty promises. Obama promises 'change' and he will deliver 'change' - he'll change his mind on every promise that he made to his supporters. We are going to get higher taxes, less stimulus to the economy, more companies moving off shore to avoid the excessive tax burden, and guess what? The war in Iraq will continue just as long as if McCain becomes President.

Obama can't talk about all of our successes in Iraq because he's running on failure. Once he becomes President he'll be forced to admit that Iraq is actually improving and stabilizing (19 US Military deaths this month in all of Iraq vs. ~150 deaths in Detroit) and Obama will not end the war like he promises today.

Anonymous said...

Obama is another "I was before _____ before I was against it."

The latest is publicly financed general election.

No wonder Kerry loves him.

Anonymous said...

Why does Obama keep lying about his childhood and upbringing? Or, at least according to my research, he is not telling the truth:

He was not raised by a single mother. She remarried an Indonesiam Oil Executive named Lolo Soetoro and they moved to Indonesia. There OBama took his stepfather's last name and became Barry Soetoro.

After that marriage didn't work they returned to the USA where Obama chose to attend high school in Hawaii. He was eventually enrolled in an elite, expensive private school paid for by his grandmother who was a Bank Executive. It's droubtful that his grandmother would take care of her grandson and not assist her daughter if in fact, she needed food stamps while getting her Ph.D.

Not for a moment in his life did Obama suffer poverty, neglect, abandonment or hardship.

Anonymous said...

What a shame. The Ostroy Report has been infested by the GOP spin machine.

Anonymous said...

6:44 AM,
Actually these are FACTS about Obama so no spin is necessary.

Anonymous said...

Character-wise, Obama is the Democratic version of George W. Bush. He's popular; he's rich, he's likable, and he's a liar that will do or say anything to get his way.

Anonymous said...

The NY Times today -- that great LIBERAL "rag" everybody bashes for it's partisanism - says in an editorial that Obama's decision to break his promise for public financing may have seriously damaged it forever.

So much for trusting Obama and depending on him to keep, protect and foster our democratic ideals. It's all about what he needs/wants to win.

This act of deception and self-service is a warning of danger ahead if he is elected.

Anonymous said...

Read David Brooks in the Times today if you want a picture of the kind of man Obama really is. It is a true record of what we've seen from him and it's frightening.

Anonymous said...


Shoddy research and putting words in all caps for emphasis do not make your "facts" the truth.

Obama's father left when he was 2, which is abandonment. His mother did not re-marry until he was 6, so she was a single mom raising her son. Obama lived with Lolo Soetoro and his mother for 4 years before going to live with his grandparents. His mother left Soetoro a year later to reunite in Hawaii. She never lived with him again and it is a fact that Ann Dunham, Obama's mother, did need the assistance of food stamps for a time.

For the life of me I cannot understand how being enrolled in school at the age of 6 under the name "Barry Soetoro" is somehow a knock on Obama.

Now let's look at the other candidate:

John McCain has said that he did not love America until he became a prisoner of war. This from a man who is the son and grandson of Navy Admirals, who has had a lifetime of medical care, his education and his salary paid for by the American taxpayer.

John McCain was a noted womanizer who consorted with prostitutes and cheated on his first wife.

John McCain was a member of the Keating Five - a scandalous association with a man whose malfeasance cost the American taxpayer the equivalent of $6 billion in today's money.

John McCain within the last 4 years has flip-flopped on just about every major policy position he's ever taken. He's proven he does not understand the critical underpinnings of the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan, he's stated himself he does not understand the fundamentals of the economy and instead of the carefully crafted maverick image he honed he's become little more than a pander-bear.

No, thanks. America is tired of the same old, same old and that is everything John McCain represents.

Anonymous said...


David Brooks does not seem to be too frightened, or did you miss the part where he said he's "ambivalent watching all this"?

Anonymous said...

So much for election reform that the Democrats have wanted for so long. So much for the truth from the "messiah". He's like all the rest.

We're getting CHANGE all right, but all change is not good change.

I agree with the comment that Obama is the Democratic version of Bush.

Two lying, conniving politicans. And who suffers? Our country, and the world. I hope we know better this time.

Anonymous said...

Even if Obama's mother got no financial help from his father who deserted them and if she got nothing in a divorce settlement from her very rich second husband, I hope his mother is not one of many who abuse the welfare system to collect chartiy, when her mother, who could afford to send her grandchild to an expensive private school as the result of her well-paying job as a bank executive could have helped her daughter with her groceries.

Anonymous said...


Your "hope" presupposes guilt. How sexist!

I find it quite interesting that the women at Ostroy who decry the sexism of the media or the Obama campaign have little or nothing to say about John McCain's infidelity and sexual exploitation of women.

Anonymous said...

Heard Obama's answer to the press about his failure to keep his word about public financing. Unbelievable. He said that things have changed; now the Republicans 527 groups will raise huge sums of money. First, he knew that when he promised to accept the public financing regulations. Second, already MOVEON has spent millions on campaign material including that new soppy tv ad of mother and child. Third, it was reported that Soros and Begala have already financed and made plans to do 527-type smears on the Regus and air them on MSNBC. Obama knew all of this when he broke his promise and ruined finance reform.

And, as an aside vis a vie that ad and the frail mother saying "You can't have him."

When did fathers get thrown totally out of the picture when it comes to family and protecting children?

Suddnly the crowning compliment for Michelle, and any woman trying to make an impressioins is "She's a good mother." What happened to "He's a a good father" Why wasn't there a strong father saying to McCainn, in the MOVEON ad: "You can't have him". Oh, that's right -- Obama's is after the women's vote. So they use frail looking, no frills, no makeup "working woman." How off the mark.

Anonymous said...

The stuff I've read in the last few comments doesn't matter. Obama will be the next prsident.

And to get back to the point: I think Russert's friend Al Hunt should get the Meet the Press job.

Anonymous said...

The NY Times -- and today Bob Herbert have totally gone insane.

Herbert says Obama was right when he said black men, in particular, should take care of their children and should marry the mothers; but, Herbert says, they just can't do that in the economic climate in America. It's the country's fault these young men who can't get jobs father children and then leave them. If there were more jobs, then these men would stop creating illigitimate children and take care of them. It's America's fault that they drop out of school; that they don't get a job; that they don't practice birth control or abstinence; that they have promiscuous sex and they have no sense of responsbility to their child conceived out of wedlock nor its mother. They just can't support a family on $20,000 a year, Herbert says.

I'd say this is more a problem of their early childhood training in values and perhaps the lack of correct moral guidance in church.

Whatever, I don't think it's our government's fault. Sexual gratification is not essential to continued breathing and there are ways to avoid pregnancies.

Maybe it's the schools' fault for not having sex classes.

Anonymous said...


Jun 20, 2008
JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Reuters)
- Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said on Friday he expects Republicans to highlight the fact that he is black as part of an effort to make voters afraid of him.


Obama is linking his weaknesses to his race so everyone can scream "racism" when you bring up his inexperience.

[from same article cited above]:
"They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?"

Anonymous said...

Armstrong Williams one of the extreme right Republicans who was on Bush's payroll to promote No Child Left Behind, admitted on Fox News that he's ready to throw all of his Republican values and points of view over and vote for Obama. Race trumps principle.

Now, that is scary.

Why is every black person in the country so determined that their black candidate gets in despite opposed views and principles. Isn't that racism at its extreme?

Anonymous said...

It seems Rev. Wright and the other BLT churches have been teaching the wrong lessons in their sermons. Perhaps sexual abstinence and responsiblity should have been mentioned. This goes for all churches of all races and denominations. Virtue is learned in most cases.

What is Herbert suggesting? That the government now start work programs and subsidies for underpaid young men so they can afford child support for their illegitimate children?

Anonymous said...

9:00 is right, of course. And I have a few other issues with Obama. Now that he's flopped on public financing, Soros can give as much money to Obama as he chooses, and then Soros can rule the country.

No one has shown the clip of Michelle calling Obama "pathetic" when she was on The View and asked if she wanted him to run for president. So much for her opinion of her husband and for them being able to "shut her up."

And sexism continues loud and clear. When telling the news of Hillary keeping a promise to a young girl and speaking at her graduation, the MSNBC "title" under the picture of HIllary talking was "Pomp, Pantsuit and Circumstance." What is their problem with women?