Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why Your Political Teevee SuXor: Outside Things May Be Tragic, But In Here We Feel It's Magic

Last year, the new boss at NBC News President Deborah Turness, wanted celebrities, bands, jugglers and there are unconfirmed rumors of dwarf tossing and water-skiing squirrels (from The Daily Beast):
“It all seems so frantic and crisis-ridden,” said a television news insider about Turness’s management style after reading the Washingtonian article. “To have a band? And a studio audience? What is she thinking?”
At the same time. the new host at NBC, a giant, simian slab of courtier journalism named David Gregory, wanted to continue loafing his Sundays away in a creaky Conventional Beltway Wisdom hammock slung between David Brooks' turgid Both Siderism and John McCain's ego.

While this kerfuffle over which whether the Peacock should shit rainbows or Halperins on Sunday morning played itself out --
The rapper will.i.am was one such panelist, forced upon Gregory for an excruciatingly awkward roundtable segment. Mullins continued: “Gregory chafed at these changes, people close to him say, fearing they were too radical and would cheapen the brand. But he complied…. At one point, Turness suggested that Gregory have a live band close out the show to commemorate the death of Nelson Mandela. Gregory was appalled, people close to him say…he worried that Turness’s approach was about to turn Meet the Press into a political gong show.”
-- the audience continued stampeding for the exit, and so the the new boss started played Musical Hacks, which set off an interoffice, internecine power struggle, with leaks falling every whichaway like mortar fire during the Fall of Saigon, as a few, very rich, white men had a very pissy pissing contest for pride of place at the very ippy tippy top of the corporate career ladder (from The Washingtonian):
Scarborough, the Republican congressman turned MSNBC talking head and host of Morning Joe, had been after Gregory’s job for years, according to former NBC employees. And inside MSNBC’s New York offices, Scarborough is known as a prima donna who doesn’t respond well to “no.”

“He constantly clashes with [MSNBC president] Phil Griffin,” says a former NBC employee. “There are times when he would just not even talk to [Griffin].”

When Gregory was in the hot seat, some thought Scarborough reached for the knives. And the staff wouldn’t have welcomed him in the moderator’s chair. In 2012, NBC executives had given Scarborough a shot at guest-hosting Meet the Press in Gregory’s absence, according to sources. But the network’s news division protested. Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum was booked for that week’s show, and letting Scarborough interview a fellow conservative would undercut the franchise’s nonpartisan bona fides. As a compromise, Savannah Guthrie moderated and Scarborough led the roundtable.

In 2013, the New York Post had reported that Scarborough was in discussions with NBC about taking over the Sunday edition of Today, which airs before Meet the Press in some markets. The move would have put Scarborough and Gregory in direct competition for guests and provided the MSNBC host with a springboard to take over Gregory’s show. NBC declined to have Scarborough comment; in a July tweet, he denied having angled for the job.

Todd’s Meet the Press ambitions made for tension. “It was obvious that Chuck knew a lot more about politics than David did, and so that was uncomfortable,” says a person familiar with their relationship. “And then on Chuck’s end, David had the job he wanted, so that’s uncomfortable.”

Earlier this year, Sures, Todd’s agent, approached the NBC brass in New York, according to a former senior NBC executive, and demanded that Todd be handed Gregory’s job.

“They were very aggressive with the new NBC News leadership,” the former executive says, “and told them that if Chuck didn’t get Meet the Press soon, he was going to leave.” Sures denies this, and NBC declined to make Todd available.
And when the music stopped, Chuck Todd was tapped to keep the Iron Throne warm until heir presumptive and future King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm -- Young Luke Russert -- begins shaving on a regular basis.

Which set off another round of leaks and stories by knowledgeable  *cough*FluffyGregory*cough* insiders, seeking to settle scores and have the last word on who really dumped who after that big fight at the after-prom party!
Four months after being unceremoniously dumped by NBC News President Deborah Turness, fired Meet the Press moderator David Gregory apparently is taking his revenge in a local D.C. magazine.

The portrait that emerges from Washingtonian’s depiction of Turness, who was recruited to run NBC News last year from British television, is not pretty.

The damaging piece by Luke Mullins, “How David Gregory Lost His Job”—for which the title subject is widely believed by television insiders to have cooperated copiously, though Gregory is never quoted directly except to state that he’s “proud” of his six-year tenure and “loved” hosting the iconic Sunday public affairs show—portrays Turness, 47, as capricious, unreliable, meddlesome and arguably a tad daffy.
Your political teevee sucks because none of the people involved here were (or are) remotely interested in the most important story in American politics: the fact that the GOP has gone stark, raving mad.  They are not interested in inviting the public to watch interesting, informed people discuss  genuinely important issues of culture and policy.

Your political teevee sucks because they are only interested in reading poll numbers at you, running the same Both Sides mix tape over and over again, and playing with various configurations of imaginary 2016 candidates.

Your political teevee sucks because this is just another petty knife up in the executive suites of another giant American corporation that does not give a shit that the actual thing it makes and presents to the public is shoddy and rancid and makes people sick.


steeve said...

"It was obvious that Chuck knew a lot more about politics than David did, and so that was uncomfortable"

I can't even peel apart the layers of incredulity surrounding that. Are they saying that "Hillary vs Jeb, or maybe not" counts as knowledge? Or maybe "it's partly nobody's fault and partly everyone's fault" is what they have in mind? Maybe reading the list of preprinted softball questions written by someone else counts as knowledge?

There are about six sentences total allowed on TV news. Gregory knew all six. How am i supposed to picture Todd having an edge in this area?

It's like making someone get through a computer programming interview before allowing them on Dancing With the Stars.

Cirze said...

Actually, that is the raison d'ĂȘtre behind the last decade plus of these teevee shows.

As rancidly sick people do not complain about events they never hear the truth about from shows they no longer watch seriously (because of those facts).

just another petty knife up in the executive suites of another giant American corporation that does not give a shit that the actual thing it makes and presents to the public is shoddy and rancid and makes people sick.

Jerry B said...

They really don't live in the same world as the rest of us.