Uh-oh: NBC News President to Discuss Future of 'Meet the Press' With David Gregory
During a brief visit to Washington, D.C., Deborah Turness – the president of NBC News – is slated to discuss the fate of the network's Sunday morning program with host David Gregory and executive producer Rob Yarin regarding possible changes to the format of Meet the Press, which recently saw its ratings tumble to their lowest point since the third quarter of 1992.
According to Dylan Byers, a columnist at the Politico website, the gathering is “part of Turness's ongoing effort” to improve the long-running news and interview show, which ended 2013 behind both ABC's This Week and CBS's Face the Nation.
"Yes, the president of a news division is visiting with the staff of its D.C.-based show,” NBC News spokesperson Meghan Pianti told Byers in an effort to downplay the meeting's importance. “Also known as business as usual” since Turness is getting together with other staff members in the network's Washington bureau as well.
Not surprisingly, this isn't the first time that Gregory's job on Meet the Press has been in jeopardy. In mid-December, the New York Post reported that Turness was considering kicking Gregory out and bringing in MSNBC's Morning Joe team of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
However, Gregory -- who became the program's host at the end of 2008 -- last year renewed his multi-year contract with the network.
As NewsBusters has reported, one major factor contributing to the extended decline of what was once the most-watched Sunday news show is the outright liberal bias of the host and many of his guests.
Late last March, Gregory claimed -- while interviewing National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre -- that 40 percent of all gun sales are done without background checks.
The liberal host made the statement even though the Washington Post's “fact checker” reported two months earlier that the number actually ranged between 14 and 22 percent.
Less than a month later, the moderator quoted Colin Powell, who stated that there's “a dark vein of intolerance in the GOP” before asking Florida Senator Marco Rubio: “Do you agree with that? And do you think that these [Republican] efforts on immigration [reform] are enough to overcome it?”
The Florida Republican responded: “I don't agree that the Republican Party is characterized by intolerance or looking down on anybody."
During another interview, Gregory asked actor Harrison Ford this softball question: “What is your view of the state of things, and the state of the president's performance?”
To no one's surprise, Ford replied: "I think the president is doing, you know, all things considered, a wonderful job” before “blaming the press and the news business” for causing the political divisions across the country.
Another example of liberal bias on Meet the Press came on the first Sunday in May, when the outing of National Basketball Association player Jason Collins and the topic of same-sex marriage took up 8½ minutes of the program while discussion regarding the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell lasted only 2½ minutes.
After stating that the Obama administration's handling of the Benghazi situation was merely sloppy, Gregory later allowed New York Democrat Chuck Schumer the chance to warn Republicans not to emphasize the Obama scandals: “If they emphasize that too much, they're going to pay a price at the polls in 2014,” the senator asserted.
On another Sunday morning, Gregory seized on comments made by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who predicted that “it's a death spiral for the GOP if they don't get [immigration] reform done.”
During a contentious exchange with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Gregory lectured the Republican for opposing ObamaCare since it's “the law of the land.”
When the Bridgegate “scandal” became news in mid-January, Gregory devoted more than half of his hour-long program to hammer New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the Republican official with hopes of potentially challenging Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.
One month later, the host grumbled that Obama was not getting the credit he deserved “for an economy that is rebounding.”
However, Politico's Byers remarked, the NBC Sunday show “has made some gains” in 2014.
“For the first two months of the year, the show was the No. 1-rated public affairs program, averaging 3.269 million total viewers,” Byers stated. “Still, both Turness and the Meet team are aware that there's much work to be done.”
Truer words have never been spoken.