Meet the Press Devotes More Than Half of Show to Christie's Bridgegate
The people at NBC News and Meet the Press should be ashamed of themselves.
With all that happened last week - a bombshell new book released by a former Defense Secretary as well as the worst jobs report in years - David Gregory and Company decided to devote more than half of their show Sunday to the truly earth-shattering Bridgegate scandal that directly impacted a small percentage of the nation.
"What a week in politics, playing defense, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie right there, responding to the bridge scandal rocking his administration, raising questions about the impact on a possible presidential run in 2016. Good Sunday morning."
That's how host Gregory teased as the show began. After the opening credits, he brought on NBC News chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd TIME magazine's Mark Halperin, the Democratic Mayor of Baltimore Stephanie Rawlings Blake (who's also the secretary of the Democratic National Committee!), and the Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel.
As such, the right of center person on the panel was Strassel surrounded by nothing but folks on the left - all to discuss an embattled Republican governor with hopes of potentially challenging Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.
Sounds fair, doesn't it?
And that wasn't even the most absurd part of the show.
After the group mostly derided Christie for twelve minutes, the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee - the man on the receiving end of the George Washington Bridge lane closures - was then brought in to give his side.
He chatted with Gregory for about five minutes before Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus was brought on to give a contrary view.
They chatted about Christie for another four minutes, meaning that for about the first 22 minutes of the oldest political show, the subject was a governor's administration closing down some lanes on a highly-trafficked bridge four months ago.
Only then did Gregory change the subject to discuss former Defense Secretary Bob Gate's new book in which he pointed some fingers at the national security decisions of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
That lasted 90 seconds.
So, in the first roughly 24 minutes of the show before the first commercial break, 22 minutes were on Christie, and only 90 seconds were about Gates's book.
The absurdity wasn't lost on National Review's Jonah Goldberg who tweeted:
I am old enough to remember when a Sec Def's explosive memoir would outrank a New Jersey road closure on the Meet the Press.— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) January 12, 2014
But the absurdity hadn't peaked, for after a commercial break, Gregory actually came back to further discuss - wait for it! - Bridgegate:
DAVID GREGORY, HOST: So, how is the Christie scandal going to play with voters outside the northeast? Iowa is a critical test for Republicans. The caucus is there, kick off the race for the White House in 2016. So we sent out own John Yang to the Hawkeye state to see if Bridgegate is having an impact.
Yep. 22 minutes on Bridgegate wasn't enough for NBC News. They needed to send someone to Iowa to talk about it.
After three minutes of that, the segment continued with the panel chatting about Christie for another minute.
This led Goldberg to again comment on Twitter:
Beyond Parody: #MTP sends reporter out to Iowa to see how Bridge-gate is playing there, before any extended discussion of Gates book.— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) January 12, 2014
Waiting for #MTP roundtable with child psychologists to discuss how Bridge-gate is affecting the children. Is it making them cynical?— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) January 12, 2014
Yet the absurdity still wasn't done, because after a commercial break, Gregory introduced a new panel:
GREGORY: Some new folks on the roundtable. Two big stories that we're talking about this week: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the bridge scandal, but also, this bombshell tell-all book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. I'm joined now by Robert Gibbs. He's the former press secretary for President Obama, was present at the time.
Former Republican presidential candidate and Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum, former Congresswoman from California, now the head of The Wilson Center, Jane Harmon, Bloomberg View columnist, Jeffrey Goldberg, and host of MSNBC's Hardball, Chris Matthews.
Imagine that. To further discuss Gates's book and Bridgegate, Gregory actually brought President Obama's former press secretary, one of the most unapologetic Obama supporters in the media Chris Matthews, and a former Democratic Congresswoman.
As Goldberg said, it's beyond parody.
After nine minutes of discussing Gates's book, Gregory and Company spent another two minutes on Bridgegate - a total of 28 minutes out of the time not allocated to commercials. This compared with less than eleven minutes on the Gates book.
Also of note, there wasn't one second allocated to the absolutely horrendous jobs numbers released Friday. This despite Gregory finishing the show with Maria Shriver discussing women living in poverty in our nation.
Why would you want to discuss chronic unemployment in a twelve minute segment about poverty?