The pathetic state of the press in this country has come down to this;
That's right. News organizations, unable to do their own work have gotten so bad at it that Sunday news shows have actually been offered the service of Fact Checking.
Now, let's set aside for a second the fact that really, when a politician is interviewed by the press that said press is informed enough on the questions they will be asking that they will not only be able to catch the politician on a half truth or out and out lie, but be able to keep that politician on their toes. They will be doing their job.
When a politician or any figure going to an interview with the press is not nervous, is not scared is not double checking their facts before going on, the press isn't doing their job.
I submit that when it comes to Meet The Press, politicians, especially those on the Right are likely enjoying a cocktail before their interview.
I've written before about how Dick Cheney got hours and hours of fun filled interviews with Tim Russert in which he was not challenged at all in the build up to war in Iraq. Russert, sadly, only woke up to the bullshit well after it was too late. I remember when Hillary Clinton was running for NY Senate and Russert moderated the debates between her and then opponent Rick Lazio. Russert pounded Clinton on the Lewinsky "issue" and pretty much gave Lazio a pass on everything. I'm told Russert was a liberal. Perhaps he was overcompensating, but I digress.
I may be a liberal but I want every politician to be fact checked, not just the Right. But mostly what I see is pretty much the opposite. The grilling is aimed at Democrats and the Left and Republicans pretty much get to say whatever the fuck they want. And twerps like Breitbart and the Fox Propaganda Machine whine about a Liberal bias in the press that I have yet to see outside of Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann.
And then there's David Gregory...This guy...dancing while Karl Rove is serenaded by a tuxedoed white rap artist who has probably never gotten closer to the inner city than his cleaning lady. Stuff like this makes me think of Max Von Sydow's line in "Hannah and Her Sisters"; If Jesus were alive today, he'd never stop throwing up.
The picture is fuzzy, but that's Gregory behind the rapper, thumbs up, bottom lip bitten.
OK...back to my original point (in my own roundabout way). I used to be addicted to the Sunday morning news shows. Face The Nation, This Week (way back with David Brinkley, then of George Stephanopolos, now Jake Tapper and eventually Christiane Amenpour) and of course Meet The Press, the longest running TV show in history, let alone the longest running news show.
When I started watching these shows, it was anchored by a reporter named Garrick Utley a very serious news man with pretty decent credentials. When I was a kid, I remember this show being an even more challenging (if boring to a child) place. The subject, be they politician, activist, celebrity etc, faced a panel of about 4 or 5 journalists. Those journalists ranged in the political spectrum from right to left and asked whatever question they saw fit.
I guess to save money, NBC began to pair it down...then the started a round table set so that every one was sitting at the same table all chummy and inside club like.
Utley retired and he was replaced by Tim Russert, an amiable man with a zealous love of The Buffalo Bills and a background in politics but not much background in journalism so far as I can tell. This only reinforced the "insider" game. He was chummy and palsy with politicians because, well, there were his chums and pals. And it became Meet The Press with Tim Russert, or essentially The Tim Russert Show. And so the chumminess increased.
Oh sure, he'd get a gotcha in every now and then but mostly he would be the only questioner and his questions, increasingly, became unimportant (i.e. fixating on Monica Lewinsky as opposed to say...healthcare).
Now, lest I be attacked for speaking ill of the dead, as I said earlier when he passed, Russert seems to have been a genuinely nice guy and was clearly loved. But the quality and standards of Meet The Press were reduced under his reign. That's just the way it is. And his untimely death resulted in it getting even worse.
David Gregory strikes me as the kind of guy who reads a little on a subject, makes a list of 5 questions to ask his subject and never veers off course...which of course allows his subject to get away with utter nonsense.
Months ago when he had Dick Armey and Rachel Maddow on the show, he let Rachel do his job for him by exposing Armey's corporate funding for the so called grass roots movement known as the tea party. Gregory sat there, his thumbs up his ass, while Rachel actually earned her paycheck.
That was the last Meet The Press I watched. I stopped watching This Week when it became clear that I was expected to take Michelle Malkin and Elizabeth Cheney seriously.
But now Politifact has stepped in and some have responded well. This Week has decided to use it. ABC is clearly looking to upgrade it's News Division with the hire of Christiane Amenpour and now they've gone further by perhaps deciding to hold facts up as an important part of political discourse.
David Gregory however, doesn't think it's his job and declined. Furthermore he said his audience could do it for themselves. Here Jay Rosen blogs with quotes from Gregory.
I don't find this surprising. The facts would not be helpful to Gregory, whom I suspect has an agenda. He's not a journalist. He's not even trying. He should be unemployed.
Read Joe Gandelman's excellent blog on the subject here.
If you're as annoyed as I am, look up this Facebook page as well and "Like" it.
The Press should not be an inside game. David Gregory wants to keep dancing with Karl Rove and he wants us to shut up about it. Maybe we can get him to shut up.