In an effort to reverse the perpetual and disastrous ratings slide Meet the Press experienced during David Gregory's tenure as anchor of the Sunday morning program, NBC is going all out and bringing in Joe Scarborough, the co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe program, to provide a “right-leaning voice” during panel discussions, and the son of the late -- and still beloved -- former host Tim Russert.
These changes will take effect on Sunday, the first edition under the guidance of the show's 11th moderator, Chuck Todd, who was formerly the chief White House correspondent for the network and host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC.
In an article on the Page Six website, reporter Emily Smith stated that Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who served Florida's 1st District from 1995 to 2001, “is taking on a larger role within NBC News as a senior political analyst and would be one of the regular Sunday panelists.”
Smith stated that “the move is part of a plan to bring a right-leaning voice to the program to appeal to viewers turned off by the show's famously left-leaning former hosts.”
An anonymous source also told the reporter that “Chuck Todd is busily assembling the team of on-air talent that will join him on the new Meet the Press. Joe will be a regular alongside Luke Russert, whose father famously moderated the show for 16-plus years.”
Tim Russert's 29-year-old son -- who had been serving as NBC's congressional correspondent and reported on Wednesday that National Football League teams were reluctant to sign Michael Sam "because he's gay" -- will be joined by Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post and a few others, including NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell.”
John Nolte of the Breitbart.com website responded to the news by stating that Russert and Mitchell are panelists who will be easily recognized by people “familiar with the hard-left MSNBC.”
“Assigning Scarborough the role of the 'right-leaning voice' is a grave error on the part of NBC News,” he stated.
“Forget the fact that with each passing day he becomes more of an insufferable blowhard,” Nolte asserted, “this 'right-leaning voice' pushes for gun control, amnesty, boycotts of companies that don't want to pay higher taxes and is currently the only person in America -- right or left -- who sees Obama's foreign policy fecklessness as brilliant, a sort of 5th-level game of Chess that only dogs can hear.”
In addition, Scarborough has accused Israel of launching asinine attacks on the Gaza Strip and shouted down a guest who disagreed with him regarding that nation's relationship with the United States.
NBC News and Chuck Todd are correct that Meet the Press needs a right-of-center voice, especially if the left-leaning Todd, Mitchell and young Russert are regulars. The problem is that Hillary Clinton is more conservative than Joe Scarborough -- and more appealing.
Scarborough is a safe and cowardly choice for NBC News, hardly the kind of hire that will rock the Establishment Boat or earn the trust and viewing loyalty of conservative viewers, who Scarborough delights in ridiculing and demeaning.
“Even Republicans Scarborough professes a loyalty to, like Mitt Romney, are eventually stabbed in the back by Scarborough, and at the most vulnerable opportunity,” Nolte stated.
Also, “Israel and the NRA have felt that same knife (backed by Scarborough's creepy cackle) when under the most political fire,” the Breitbart reporter added before charging: “There's nothing fresh here: a sell-out conservative and a gaggle of government-loving leftists. ... It appears as though Meet the Press has gone the full MSNBC.”
Hamilton Nolan of Gawker.com agreed with Nolte, posting: “What was once a subpar Sunday political talk show will now be a landfill full of the most useless NBC News personalities.”
Nolan also called the change as “a powerful testament to the fact that the highest reaches of our nation's political media is an absolute sewer of nepotism” since Luke Russert is “basically just a dim 29-year-old dude, a valuable new demographic for MTP.”
As NewsBusters previously reported, David Gregory served more as a mouthpiece for liberal causes than a moderator conducting interesting interviews.
One recent example of that principle is when Meet the Press gave MSNBC anchor and social activist Al Sharpton an unchallenged platform to promote his involvement with the racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white police officer shot and killed a large black teenager.
So can the extensive changes being made on the longest-running television program turn its poor ratings around? We'll get our first inkling on Sunday morning, when Todd and his new panelists debut on their version of Meet the Press.