Meet the Press STILL Lets Guests “Control the Message”
Cathie Martin’s testimony of how she strategized a response to Joe Wilson’s July 6, 2003 op-ed was one of the most visibly discomfiting moments of the Scooter Libby trial for those in the media room. After all, Martin was revealing how easily the DC press allowed itself to be manipulated by those in power. Along with describing which reporters they were dealing which kinds of stories to and how reporters tended to be more compliant when you told them they were getting an exclusive, Martin explained that the White House controlled the message when Cheney went on Meet the Press.
Fitzgerald: Focusing on the language in the black where it says options, can you run down the four options and describe what they refer to in these notes and what you discussed with Mr. Libby?
Martin: Sure. First note M.T.P., which is Meet The Press, dash VP. So this was my discussion about possibly putting the Vice President on Meet The Press that Sunday to give a fuller discussion of the whole picture.
Fitzgerald: On the right you have another reference to M.T.P. Can you describe what that is?
Martin: I think I walked, this is me walking through the pros and cons of putting the Vice President on Meet The Press. And I wrote underneath pros, best. This is our best format, and he’s our best person on Meet The Press. Two, we control the message a little bit more. It was good for our — for us to be able to tell our story. [my emphasis]
TPMM has been wading through the latest document dump of Mark Sanford’s office’s emails released by the Charleston Post and Courier. And they’ve discovered that David Gregory has continued the Meet the Press approach to letting guests control the message.
But Gregory’s emails, in particular, make clear just what a get Sanford was seen as, and how far the networks were willing to go in promising a safe landing place for the governor.
Gregory’s first email to Sawyer was sent at 12:24 p.m. on Wednesday June 24 — that is, after Sanford had admitted to The State that he had actually been in Argentina, but before the famed stream-of-consciousness press conference where he admitted to an affair. Gregory wrote:
Hey Joel …
Left you a message. Wanted you to hear directly from me that I want to have the Gov on Sunday on Meet The Press. I think it’s exactly the right forum to answer the questions about his trip as well as giving him a platform to discuss the economy/stimulus and the future of the party. You know he will get a fair shake from me and coming on MTP puts all of this to rest.
Let’s talk when you can.
Gregory left two different phone numbers.
After the press conference, Sawyer replied:
Thank you very much for taking the time to personally reach out to us. For the time being, we’re just going to let what the governor said today stand on its own. If we do some interviews in the future, I’ll let you know as soon as possible.
Gregory followed up quickly: "You aren’t doing anything at all this week…no other intvus anywhere?" Sawyer replied that they weren’t.
Gregory gave it one last shot:
Look, you guys have a lot of pitches .. I get it and I know this is a tough situation … Let me just say this is the place to have a wider conversation with some context about not just the personal but also the future for him and the party … This situation only exacerbates the issue of how the GOP recovers when another national leader suffers a setback like this. So coming on Meet The Press allows you to frame the conversation how you really want to…and then move on. You can see (sic) you have done your interview and then move on. Consider it. [my empahsis]
Sawyer did not respond.
Jeebus. At least Russert was allowing the Vice President to walk all over him. Gregory, apparently, allows small state Governors reeling from the exposure of their moral hypocrisy to do the same.
It’s too bad Russert didn’t live long enough to renounce his own reporting [sic] methods, because none of his proteges in the newsgathering [sic] business will ever challenge them. It’s as if, in death, Russert’s horrible standards became engraved in stone and will always be the Versailles Way.
Look! A universal comment, appropriate to at least half of my posts today!!
Works at Digby too, sad to say.
In MTP’s defense, if they don’t let their guests control the message, the guest will simply go to another show that will. Plenty of newswhores out there.
Boxturtle (I’m gonna guess that MTP is going to claim out of context, if they respond at all)
I have yet to see a EW take on Luke Russert’s coverage of the shooting outside the White House the other day. What, are you slowing down?
Don’t want to cause Teddy’s magic comment to lose its magic.
I’d pay to read that! wasn’t he on phone for about 20 seconds saying something like, uh, some guy – unconfirmed – shots – unconfirmed, um, we don’t know that yet…. etc.
How much would you pay ?!! *g*
Pumpkinhead had a
son seedlingSpawn? and its reporting the News?
I must drink more Pumpkin Ale before another sprout gets loose!
Gregory as White House correspondent gave assassins instruction on what part of the White House the Clinton’s residence was in as part of a piece on the plane that flew into the White House; I believe it was an intended attack by someone who had gone suicidal.
I have never trusted him at all since then. Tool doesn’t even begin to cover it. His personal agenda is all out in the open.
Interesting peek behind the scenes. MTP ratings are not what they used to be. Gregory might be suffering from job in jeopardy syndrome. While I suspect most of the NBC brass are republican sympathizers, nothing is more important than the bottom line.
Next thing you know the Sunday Talking Heads will let even a small town mayor from the sticks of Alaska take them all for a ride. Oh. Wait a sec…
Yeah, he’s whoring out to state governors. It is a down economy after all.
It is NBC that is being whored.
“Peacock” in India is “Mohr”, which rhymes with …
Davie channeling his inner Russert, or is it in NBC’s policies and procedures?
Translation: *wink, wink* “I can make your troubles go away.”
We knew gregory is a wh0re…he just clarified how much he thinks his services are worth.
discomforting -> discomfiting
Shoot. I knew something was wrong and looked it up but you’re right–I meant discomfiting.
Afflicting the comfortable – U R doing it wrong.
Thomas Jefferson once said that if he had to choose between a nation with government and no newspapers, or one with newspapers and no government, he’d always choose the latter. Jefferson, historically one of the harshest critics of newspapers, also said: “Where the press is free, and every man can read, all is safe.”.
Journalism reached its peak, perhaps, during and just after Watergate. It’s safe to say that Nixon was brought down by the diligence of Woodward and Bernstein initially, and, then, a slew of other reporters from magazines and TV. They all competed to get the next scoop on the tragicomedy.
Journalism, at that time, came closest to a full-fledged “profession,” as medicine and the law have always been regarded. I took journalism classes at the University of Minnesota and a main point of discussion was whether journalism had become a profession with a “code” to follow and with an association to reward and censor its participants.
Somehow, that question of professionalism for gathering news is now nowhere on the radar. It has been shot out of the sky.
The incipient code, which was stillborn sometime in the Reagan era, contained elements that included: objectivity; never failing to at least try to get both sides’ comments (even if it meant writing “Mr. Smith did not return several calls made to his office; quotes from a “common” person on the street on the subject matter. The press (newspapers, TV and radio) came oh-so-close to becoming a true Fourth Estate, contributing to knowledgable discussions among everyone from street vendors to CEOs about all local and national issues. Above all, it came close to giving a voice to the average person, which would have mean real power for the working stiff, which is just not the case in the United States these days.
Jefferson’s philosophy in the United States was accompanied by legislation ensuring various degrees of freedom of publishing and the press. The depth to which these laws are entrenched go to the heart of our Constitution. The concept of freedom of speech is often covered by the same laws as freedom of the press, thereby giving equal treatment to media and individuals.
[edited for length]
Couldn’t you have just put in a link to all that?
it’s only 6 small, flippin’ paragraphs. or do you have one of those browsers that doesn’t scroll?
This kind of thinking drives me nuts. both sides? How about all sides? Or the sides that are making sense. Or one side only just for fun. But this notion of two sides of every topic is just dumb.
The two sides to global warming: fact v fiction.
The two sides to evolution: science v magic
The two sides to David Gregory: whore v rapper
What? You have a problem with “fair and balanced”? /s
Wow, EW. You’ve got this nailed down but good.
Hopefully, Walter Cronkite is deciding to reincarnate right away, and will be ready in about 20 years to salvage what’s left of TV “journalism.”
Gregory will never live down his MC Rove moment. IMO his bad dancing skills and lack of rhythm make Elaine from Seinfeld seem like Isadora Duncan.
Pathetic! Gregory is so NOT a journalist.
The Legacy of Pumpkinhead lives on
Hell, he isn’t even living up to PunkinHead’s standards.
Pumpkinhead standards, Military Intelligence, Sane Conservative
all these words are
Cripes now I want a Pumpkin beer I hate that they are only seasonal.
In answer to my own question oxymorons
And the Networks wonder why they are losing people. Sooner or later the stockholders will notice.
Gregory is one of the most boring people on TV. His voice is annoying and he has no integrity at all. MTP is going down in a big way. People are starting to catch on that the news is not news.
Okay now you’ve done it … you’ve invited the wrath of Tweety,
Chuck ToddF*ck Wad and the 3 Amigos (Ed, Chip & Major) upon yourselves.
The silence throughout the NBC collective in the coming days will be… striking. Bet you even KO and Rachel will let it slide, but you can bet that they would love to risk their jobs and take the little creep down.
Surely you don’t think The French Beard will take punches from Cheetoh-eatin’ bloggers and commenters without responding with a litany of idiocy and a bucket of spit ?
I would not presume.
But a bucket of spit would be an improvement.
LOL … I concur !
The ugly about all this – The Washington Post pay-for-access scandal must have sent media types scurrying for their woodpiles. I am certain that the WaPo isn’t the only outlet doing this, but was just ham-handed and reality-detached enough to get snagged at it.
I am sure this point has been made here before.
It has been painfully obvious that the majority of reporting in Papers and on TeeVee are actually infomercials, hence the popularity of Blogs, esp this one where points and counterpoints are scrutinized in mindboggling detail.
I predict that NBC will fire the droning, right-wing-boot-licker Gregory for lousy ratings and replace him with dim son Luke Russert for star power.
Luke will be a fine and malleable whore like his late father, but dumber (which is of great benefit to NBC).
“I’m your big brother, Luke…”
dumber than David Gregory?? You’re shitting me.
dumber by degrees and much more inexperienced and malleable. Luke is getting his chops down now. He will be brought on MTP with much fanfare.
Son of a F*cking Legend. Everyone agrees. Olbermann and Maddow included.
Well, we are talking David Gregory here.
Hey, what’s wrong with going along to get along ?!!
Gregory: Let’s use my forum on Meet The Whore to downplay the gubner’s little liason and cheerlead for our Republican Party. It’s f*cking awesome, dude! F*ckin’ A.
David Gregory is definitely no Walter Cronkite, and the producers of MTP are definitely no Edward R. Murrows.
Sawyer is a Smart Rat to leave the sinking Sanford ship.
Check out this extended version of Gregory and MC Rove. Rove jokes that he likes to rip the heads off of small animals. Rove boasts that lots of people want to ask him questions.
I’m sure right now Timmeh is looking up from his resting place in Hell with pride at the way David Gregory is following in his footsteps.
And relishing the thought that his son, Luke will one day too “Press The Meat”.
I actually feel sorry for the squirt. Dad in high-profile slot (regardless of his qualifications or talent) shuffles off the coil, and in concert with celebrating his life they canonize the offspring just in time for the
Only increases the
Sunday talking heads, imo, seem less and less relevant. Anyone know if the viewership numbers bear that out?
Laura Flanders interviews Dr. Dean on GRITtv, upstairs!
Howard Dean: “$1 Trillion is NOT new money”
Could/would someone translate the right side of the chart at the beginning of this post for me?
I can’t read the first line– her handwriting is actually worse than mine!
Thanks for trying. I couldn’t read it either. Needy? Nerdy? Mean? Eh.
Tim Russert would never have sent an email like Gregory’s.
He would have used the phone.
Suz, might the first one be “too wordy” ?
It might. Hard to imagine that being said about Cheney, however. Maybe weirdy? *g*
Click on the sketch for a larger view. Actually, doesn’t help much. But all the O’s are fully rounded and closed. Does that eliminate wordy?
But “woody” is now in play … *g*
I believe it means that Tim Russert always gets a woody when around Cheney.
A profound loss of the 4th Estate
Remembering Walter Cronkite and his legacy of broadcast journalism, he stood firmly for telling his audience what they needed to know, not what they wanted to hear, and not what those in power wanted them to hear.
Today’s network & cable news corporations are wholly owned instruments of the same interests that control the levers of government.
Commerical journalism as history’s first draft is history.
Let’s see. Last week, MTP had Karen FUCKIN’ Hughes on there as a “Journalist”!!! YES, the same She-Devil from Ignorant-State Texass that inflicted W on us! Yes, THAT Karen Hughes!!!
What, Rush Limburger wasn’t available?? That show is less than a joke. Also.
David Gregory is nothing more than a fluffer for Republicans and Blue Dogs. “Journalist?” Merely a high priced and privileded fluffer for the status quo.
David Gregry or someone of Political Authority,
My name is Cindy. Please help me. Nobody is talking about President Oboma’s wanting to eliminate Medicare’s Advantage Plans. I am a Senior and rely on this type of Medical Insurance. President Obama claimed we would be able to keep the Medical Coverage we already have if we did not want to choose a change! Almost Ten Million Seniors are tenured in these plans because of lower out of pocket expenses and you get more types of Medical Coverage than straight MediCare. This is the time in Seniors lives when as much types of medical coverage is absolutly paramount. By taking away these plans it will cost millions of Seniors hardships. Is this anyway to take care of the elderly. It’s as if Seniors are under attack after working and struggling their whole lives. We need these types of Medical Benefits, it is not a time to cut out parts that are vital to our health and pocketbooks!
Please try to find someone to confer and deliberate some action on this important matter.
Hope you hear back from him.
David Gregory contact link
Any actual news director would fire Gregory on the spot & have armed guards lead him out of the building the minute those e-mails surfaced. Since I don’t watch his stupid show, did anybody notice if Gregory was on set today?
The Constant Weader at http://www.RealityChex.m
I watched Gregory on MTP today and I thought him rude and unneccessarily aggressive. A decent journalist would have allowed his guest to make his or her statement and THEN attack. Sebelius could hardly get a word in edgewise. Gregory needs to check his ego at the studio door or he will become a has-been at light speed. I didn’t learn a thing from an official from my government on a topic I was interested in but I learned that Gregory is a freakish jerk.
You know, while I appreciate all this hemming and hawing over Dick Gregory, the truth is that many old school reporters and investigative journalists can seem a bit obsequious when they are trying to pin anything down on the record from obviously reluctant participants in their news making ventures. It is a tribute to our press that politicians even bother to talk to them at times. In this particular case, I think Gregory was simply trying to get some sort of scoop and some sort of comments on the record to a national TV audience. Whether what would have been served up would have been very useful is debatable. Still, if you look at all the techniques that classical journalists use to get folks talking to them, I think Gregory’s tactics here are not surprising, nor are they all that unusual.
So, for me, I’m just betting that Gregory was disingenuous in some ways, not with regard to his TV audience, but towards the politicians and spokesfolks that he wished to bring to the fore.
But, yeah, you’re right that we have to keep some of the MSM honest. (If I see Cokie Roberts trying to keep her share prices high one more time…ugh.)