Via the comments, Jay Rosen has a lengthy discussion of David Gregory’s strange refusal to fact-check “Meet the Press”:
So… what is going on here? As with his defiant claims that the press did well in questioning the Bush Administration’s case for war, David Gregory believe he always and already asks the questions necessary to get at the truth. (So what’s your problem?) If the truth does not emerge from his interviews, it’s not his fault because he–always and already–asks the tough questions. That’s who he is. It’s in his DNA. The criticism he gets is therefore partisan chatter. Or it comes from people who want him to go beyond asking the tough questions to the point of conclusion: that man is lying.
David Gregory thinks that is not his role.
I see two other possibilities for his refusal to adopt the fact check: one banal, the other more troubling. The banal: He’s too proud to adopt something that a competitor picked up on first; it would look like a “me too” response and he is the market leader, first in the ratings and heir to the chair that Tim Russert held. The more disturbing possibility is that he thinks Tapper’s policy may give Meet the Press a competitive edge in booking guests who won’t want to be checked so vigorously.
As much as I don’t like morning shows, I would watch them if I felt there was a sufficiently high level of knocking down of bullshit. I don’t know whether or not what ABC is doing with “This Week” will constitute a sufficiently high level. But if it looks like it does, I will start watching.
And I will certainly never watch “Meet the Press” as long as Dancin’ Dave is hosting.
How come they can’t fact check in real time? The back peddling on air would be popcorn worthy. I also would like to know the “punishment” for not being truthy. No more invites? A black star on the bulletin board next to your name? A David Gregory back massage?
I’ll just stick to Moonshine Patriot’s Bobblespeak Translations
Thanks for that link, cracked me up. Can’t say what the real Gregory says is much different than the snark.
Me too. I stopped watching the bobblehead shows years ago because they got to be too damned boring. You could predict word-for-word what each person would say, and you knew that no one would question them or call them on their bullshit. They became campaign-ad infomercials, and a complete waste of time. Kudos to Tapper for taking a step in the right direction.
FTW. You’ve outdone yourself, sir.
I agree. However, I suspect that’s like saying that you’d take diet pills if it would make you fatter. The morning shows, like a solid half of what every network does, is designed to fluff up the bullshit, because that’s the currency they deal in.
“Gregorian Cant” FTW!
David Gregory is the poster boy for everything that sucks in the msm. There is no one I despise more than Stretch. I even have more respect for Limbaugh and Beck than I do for Stretch. They, at least take a stand and say what they believe to be true and false, regardless of how divorced from reality that may be. Stretch is nothing but a cheap and washed up whore, selling himself for donuts with McGrumpy and dances with Karl “Math” Rove. MTP will never again sullyy teevee screen, solely due to the shittiest “journalist” on network television. I mentioned this in another thread and on another day, but I’ve made it a bit of a project to monitor Tapper since he came here to BJ to engage and I can honestly say that I think he has improved a little since that day. If my initial impression is correct, then good on him. This whole fact checking thing, I know, was subsequent to that conversation here. I’m willing to give him props for that, as I will be quick to criticize should he fall back on his old bad habits.
gregory probably is worried fact checking would be to partisan. He does not want to worry all his Republican guests, Mccain probably told him they didn’t like the idea.
Jay Rosen remains among the most persuasive reasons to convince others into using Twitter.
Sunday morning shows would be way more interesting if they had instant replay to fact check and referees got to huddle around the monitors determining if what was said was in or out of bounds.
I don’t think Beck believes a word of what he says. As for Limbaugh, he’s a bullshitter in the Frankfurtian sense. He may or not know whether any particular thing he says is true or false, but he doesn’t care either way.
Excellent post title. On the subject of the post in general, in all truth, highlighting the failure of the media is job one of bloggers everywhere: I kind of thought that was the point. Of course, that is why journos everywhere have forever been condescending towards bloggers.
You know, it’s all of a piece with many other institutional crises happening all over these United States and the rest of the world. We’ve got sick priests doing bad shit, but it’s the power structure of the Church which is truly vile, since they did nothing to stop the abuse because it could have cost them some credibility. Similarly, we’ve got the financial crisis, which has occurred because of bad individual actors, but again, it’s not those actors that should really piss you off the most, but the regulatory agencies which were supposed to keep all of this from happening. But it’s hard to be a tattle-tale when you are so desperate to leave your shitty government sector job and join the big boys pulling in 13-gallon-bags full of cash.
Then of course, you’ve got the snake-eating-it’s-own-tail which is the poor state of the electorate versus the Magical Leadership Brigade (brought to you by Tyson Chicken: Have you had your Tyson today?): I don’t even know how to make head or tails of it, it’s a chicken or egg dilemma that defies all assessment, but it’s the pits. What it tells me is that big institutions like these just don’t have a hope to survive long-term as long as people are running them. That is why I look forward to the robots soon to be in our midst.
David Gregory appeared at Guilford College (where I am a student) this last week as part of a lecture series. I had intended to go and ask him about some of the issues that have been raised here repeatedly. Sadly, my Paleontology paper and a chem exam had to take higher priority, and I did not make it to the lecture.
I’m not sure I would have had anything substantive to report back to all of you in any event.
Joey Maloney @12:
I am of the school of thought that Beck is not a con man so much as he is truly mentally disturbed. I think he believes a lot of the craziness he spouts but knows in the few sane neurons he has that it sounds crazy and that accounts for his self-disparaging rodeo clown disclaimers. And of course Limbaugh spews lie after lie. But he truly believes that his lies serve a “good” cause. And neither pretends to be non-partisan or a journalist, unlike dirty, ugly whore, Stretch.
I think Rush and Beck are carnies, too. I read an article by a relative of Rush explaining that he is pretty conservative, but mostly he’s just an utter attention whore who likes saying outrageous things. They don’t have to be true, he’s just trying to be exciting.
When I watch Beck, I would swear that he’s actually a sort of a greedy satire of himself. He’s discovered that there’s simply no level of craziness he can’t make people worship him for. He keeps trying to find the limits, come up with something so outrageous or contradictory they won’t swallow it, and they keep swallowing. Think of it as being Stephen Colbert, except his audience completely believes him – and when he found that out he decided fleecing them was better than trying to lead them in any useful direction.
I could be wrong about Beck, but the alternative seems to be he’s schizophrenic. Wild mood swings, delusions of persecution, and rants whose logical chains make less sense than BoB’s.
I thought Russert returned to “Meet the Press” on Easter.
So can we all start calling Gregory the Chess Timer now?
I don’t think this is that disturbing, actually, because if Gregory persists in his “let them
eat cakecheck the facts themselves!” attitude, it will become conventional “wisdom” that any guest on Gregory’s show is too afraid to get fact-checked.
In other words, Meet the Press could be retitled “Meet the Wimps”.
I don’t think Gregory’s ego could take it.
And go read the entire Rosen piece, if you haven’t. It’s worth it.
@DougJ: *Gregorian Cant* is quite possibly your most awesome and inspired thread title EVER, and it’s up against some tough competition! Very well done, sir!
@Gina #2: Jesus fuck I do love the Bobblespeak Translations. Every single time they say “Fluffy” or “Fluffers” for DG, I just lose it. So funny.
@mistersnrub: A clever pseud, and goodness be that it appears in a thread with such a masterful title.
I’m in a happy place.
Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle
@JenJen: And Roger Ebert!!
Bipolar, and treatment-resistant. When they’re manic, their “logic” seems impeccable, so they’re convinced they don’t need the medication that would keep them balanced. And when they’re depressed, they’re convinced the medication wouldn’t do any good anyway, and it would be too much trouble to bother taking it. Beck’s problems are compounded — and this is also common for those with bipolar disorders — by the fact that he’s “successful”, lots of people are willing to pay him tons of money when he lets his freak flag fly, so it would be “unprofitable” to dial back the crazy. It’s not a coincidence that the proportion of bipolar artists/performers is so high. The professionals who find and enable these performers’ worst impulses are every bit as bad as the medieval jailers who charged gawkers to watch the Bedlam Boys (I’m looking at you, Roger Ailes).
Bruce (formerly Steve S.)
No, you were right the first time, Mr. Rosen. David Gregory does not think his role is to fact check his buddies. That’s why he was chosen for the job in the first place.
Don’t get your hopes up, Doug. If Jake Tapper starts getting wild ideas that he’s Ed Murrow he’ll be transferred to fluff pieces faster than you can say Sam Donaldson.
Really, I don’t know why so many prog bloggers torment themselves with the Sunday morning shows. I’d sooner be forced to sit through half an hour of Limbaugh than MTP. At least Limbaugh adds a little humor to his bald-faced lies.
By the way, these aren’t merely subjective questions.
You could outline for each topic and individual the questions that a generic journalist would ask and the supporting evidence and rationale behind each statement.
You would then compare the questions these powerful figures were asked and the supporting evidence and rationale behind their claims.
This isn’t hard.
If David Gregory thinks he’s doing as good a job as, say, the BBC World Service’s news department, then apparently he has no idea what journalism is or how one should interview powerful figures so that they aren’t simply using the interviewer to spread the information those same figures wish transmitted.
I considered that. As a manic-depressive, I certainly recognize the symptoms. But his logic is terrible. I mean, it’s really, really bad. He acts pretty Type I manic-depressive, with the absolute inconsistency and the over-the-top emotions and rambling, but those blackboards could go in a friggin’ paranoid schizophrenia museum.
It’s gotta be a fake, though. I’ve watched him call up members of his audience to ask them one of his inane questions, then chew them out because the answer they gave wasn’t insane enough.
licensed to kill time
If you haven’t read this 3 part series on Glenn Beck by Alexander Zaitchik, you might find it informative. He really is a huckster, laughing all the way to the bank.
His likely mental illness just fuels his schtick. What I really wonder about is the mental status of the people who watch him and buy into his delusions.
What should be disturbing is the fact that Stretch has been behaving in this unscrupulous manner for quite some time now. Let’s go back to last summer, when the infamous Nico Pitney/Dick Whisperer flap occurred. Remember how OUTRAGED Stretch was at the notion that President Obama knew Pitney would ask a question about Iran during a presidential press conference on behalf of HuffPo? He grilled Axelrod about that on Meet The Press the following Sunday. He was fucking relentless on that point.
But at the same time, to no one’s surprise, Stretch was busy trying to get Gov. Mark Sanford on his show after the whole Appalachian Trail fiasco. Check out just how shameless he is about trying to get his precious access. This is an e-mail he sent to an aide of Gov. Sanford about booking him on MTP.
Okay, you say to yourself. That doesn’t seem too bad. Maybe he really is just trying to give the guy a chance to share his side of the story. But then he follows that e-mail up with this doozy:
He is nothing but an arrogant, unprincipled, dishonest hack. Don’t ever let him fool you otherwise.
All of this assumes that Tapper’s fact-checking thing is real. Which is a huge assumption. The media have pretended to do fact-checking for a long time, though somehow it always manages to be their conclusion that each side is “mistaken” in exactly equal measure and no one actually “lies.”
Seriously, who watches these shows anyway? I am an over 40, law degreed professional and news/politics junkie, and I never watch this tripe. I don’t know anyone who does since my grandparents died.
@licensed to kill time:
I read that! It kind of supports the theory that he’s crazy AND a con man at the same time. I’m not quite sure how that balances out. I confess that no matter how you look at it, he seems like a pretty bad person.
licensed to kill time
I guess it makes sense that you have to be pretty crazy in the first place to be a con man; at the very least to have sociopathic tendencies and a blatant disregard for how your ‘con’ affects other people. He’s just a lowly leech of a human being, feeding and profiting on fear and confusion and fattening himself on the blood of fools.
Why has nobody come out with a straight debate show. Invite 2 Congressional or Senate delagates on each week, one from each party. Let them know the format and questions. You could even ask for a bibliography of sources they intend to quote. I mean, come on NPR, CSPAN. Even a local channel could do it with state and city delegates. I would watch the shit out of that.
Mike in NC
I used to watch “Nightline” a lot back when Ted Koppel was still host. He did a pretty decent job of pushing back against wingnut BS, unlike today’s stenographers and fluffers.
Heh, just reading bobblespeak translations:
Dancin’ Dave is here again
On a Sunday morning show
He’s such a suck-up
His “journalism” is fucked up
He’s on a network that blows
It isn’t alright
It’s never alright
He’s just a whore for the dough
He’ll be your phony
Your one and only
He’ll dance with scum like KKKarl Rove
@licensed to kill time:
No, I mean, his history describes all sorts of psychological trauma, drug use – this kind of stuff acts as a ‘trigger’ for those who have a predisposition to mental illness. Some of it happens because mental illness makes them live more dangerous lives. And they seem to change their minds and do obviously hypocritical things a lot. I read that and got the impression that if it’s an accurate description of his history I couldn’t tell the lying bastard from the unstable loon.
Why has nobody come out with a straight debate show. Invite 2 Congressional or Senate delegates on each week, one from each party.
I’d like to see this, or at least something approximating the debates seen in a parliamentary system. But I’m afraid it would deteriorate into the sequential speechmaking that presidential debates have become, as stilted and micromanaged and devoid of real debate as Miss America contestant speeches.
And most of our politicians, especially on the Repig side, couldn’t handle such a format and would avoid it like the plague. (Obama would be a rare exception, I think with his intelligence and articulateness he would do very well). Could you imagine GW Bush being elected to anything above dog catcher if he had to actually debate (in the real sense) his opponents over the years?
licensed to kill time
It is very hard indeed to tease out all the strands of Beck’s psyche. From the article:
He’s talking about change, but it could also apply to his brand of loony show biz – has he become what he pretends to be? I wonder if he even knows any more?
I think there is a very real chance of him having a public meltdown on his show one day.
It’s two mints in one.
I was really puzzled by Beck until I read that article, and when I reached the words “morning shock jock” it all fell into place. The way I see it, it’s an act made all the more compelling by the use Stanislavski memory traces of mental illness or drug use; he’s been out on the edge, voluntarily or otherwise, and dredges it up for the camera & mike.
He’s getting paid millions of dollars; it’s his fans who are crazy. They are completely used to not following the dots anytime, anywhere; they are empty vessels being told what to do, and their payoff is to be part of some exciting Thing that is bigger than they are.
They are there for the vicarious thrills. It’s like starring in one of those horror movies. They are the star.
It’s worth sending off grandma’s necklace and buying some seeds. That’s the price of admission.
licensed to kill time
Everything you said! plus the excitement for them of being in the know, possessing the secret information that all those other fools can’t see.
It’s The Da Becki Code.
@licensed to kill time: Isn’t that intersection of “hey let’s pull a big con” and “my own krazy took over and I believe my own bullshit” sort of what happened when L. Ron Hubbard started Scientology?
licensed to kill time
Yes, and I believe you could say the same about Joseph Smith and his little venture, no offense to any Mormons who actually believe that horsepucky. Though L. Ron was more upfront about his intentions in the beginning.
I find those two “modern” religions fascinating because they give great insight into how religions actually start. For all we know, Jesus was running a long con in his day.
Once again, no offense, etc etc.
licensed to kill [email protected]:
I have often wondered the same thing about the historical Jesus. Especially after digging into some Mormon history and seeing what an obvious con game run by a megalomaniac that was. Though the more I have pondered it, the less I think it was Jesus running the con and more Peter and Paul, like any good con men, who saw a golden opportunity for the biggest and best long con of all time.
Brilliant! And… badly written.
licensed to kill time
Yeah, after I wrote that I thought I maybe shouldn’t have said Jesus, because he seemed (from what are purportedly his words) like a pretty good guy. And a guy who I think would be absolutely appalled to see what has been done in his name.
You are right about the ApostleCon. Those guys ran with it.
Jay and I are getting into it a bit over at his blog about corporate ownership of the major media outlets. He doesn’t see the point of what I’m saying:
Perhaps I’m reading too much into the Olbermann-O’Reilly flap last year that Rupert and GE tamped down, or the feel good ads that run on every major news network?
First, what Joey Maloney said.
was the conclusion I immediately came to when I read that Gregory wouldn’t fact-check. And, CT Voter, I think it’s disturbing mostly for what it says about what Gregory thinks his job is. Hopefully, the effect will be that fact-checking becomes more the norm and MTP becomes marginalized. The Colbert episode with Tapper and the PolitiFact guy was hearteningly hilarious.
@WereBear: The Da Glenn Chi Code?
Amen to that!!!!
I’m in my mid-20’s, so I can’t reflect upon the news of yesteryear and its independence from my own eyes, yet I understand the potential problems in current times. I have been raised in the times of the internet and blogs, and have heard for so long how they are going to impact the real political media. If the tentacles of corporate oligarchy are going to keep doing their thing, we are the ones to save it. Will this actually come to be, or will the Comcast/GE/NewsCorp swallow BJ and all the rest as well? I think this is a more relevant question towards answering your question.
Wile E. Quixote
Or it could be that David Gregory is an ass-kissing little punk who wants to be popular with the movers and shakers and thus plays the bitch with them, week after week after week. I’m willing to bet that when Bush gave him the nickname stretch that he went home and touched himself for a week.
@Midnight Marauder: This is exactly right. It’s all about access. You get big names, you get big ratings. Capitalism + Journalism = this.
@slag: Another winner!
And the “big name” itself is the product that delivers ratings, like it was some empty celebrity tabloid magazine. The actual conveying of insightful information is incidental, almost accidental to the structure of the show.
The purpose of the ‘interview’ is to let the “big name” bloviate about whatever they choose with a friendly assist from the host, to make sure they’re predisposed to bringing their “big name” back again to lend the show ratings.
Press the Meat is basically the DC version of Access Hollywood with a clumsy, obvious grafting on of journamalistic pretentions. It should be hosted by John Tesh and Mary Hart.