NBC’s David Gregory Problem

david_gregoryI’ve always thought entrenched left-wing journalists in Washington needed their heads examined. Much to my satisfaction, it appears the corporate media bosses of at least one Beltway anchor now agree.

According to The Washington Post this week, NBC News hired a “psychological consultant” to examine why flailing “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory has been bombing in the ratings. The overpriced shrinks (NBC prefers the euphemism “brand consultants”) came from the New York-based brand fixer-upper Elastic Strategy.

They interviewed Gregory’s wife. They interrogated his friends. They crunched their numbers. They compiled their reports. And after all that, the “experts” are still scratching their noggins:

What’s the matter with David Gregory? And why don’t people like to watch him?

I could have saved the honchos at NBC News a lot of time and trouble. The first answer is: David Gregory is a phony. The second answer is: He’s a jerk.

And no amount of brand therapy and rehabilitation consulting can fix him.

Gregory’s predecessor, Tim Russert, was highly respected on both sides of the political aisle. The former chief of staff for iconoclastic U.S. Sen. Daniel Moynihan turned “Meet the Press” into mandatory viewing for any American serious about politics and policy. Yes, he was liberal. But he never pretended to be anything he wasn’t. He did his homework. He didn’t pull punches. He helped enlighten the nation about our entitlement crisis. He conducted interviews, not one-sided partisan lectures.

Russert was also a decent man, as so many warm eulogies across the ideological divide attested. I had a chance to meet him a few times as an intern in the videotape library of the Washington political unit at NBC News in 1992. He was always friendly and engaging. (Andrea Mitchell was a whole ‘nother story. Gah.) Before I left to work for the Los Angeles Daily News, I drafted a little memo on suggestions to improve data collection and entry. I never expected acknowledgment. But Russert took the time to respond and thank me. A lowly intern. I never forgot that.

Gregory is the anti-Russert. His boorish behavior around D.C. is legendary — from his juvenile tantrums with the Bush press staff to his drunken radio appearances to his diva snit fits with innocent bystanders while filming news segments.

One of the most telling and notorious anecdotes involves Russert himself, who reportedly reprimanded Gregory in 2008 for going ballistic on a poor waitress while the two TV stars dined at a D.C. restaurant. But “Gregory still treats most of … the newsroom like s**t,” an insider told the website Jossip. “Amazing how NBC cares more about food servers than about the people who have to deal with Gregory’s arrogance every day.”

Since Gregory doesn’t have the intellectual heft to carry in-depth interview segments the way Russert did, “Meet the Press” producers have reduced substantive exchanges to a few minutes and larded the rest of the show with fluff and stunts.

That means: If it’s Sunday, it’s “Meet the Jerk.”

Last fall, Gregory the gun-control activist masquerading as a Sunday talk-show journalist made headlines with his brazen hectoring of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre — while illegally brandishing a 30-round ammunition magazine on national television. He has used the show to fawn over vulgar, misogynistic “comedian” Bill Maher and to repeatedly browbeat Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, over gay marriage.

As I’ve noted many times over 20-plus years in this business, the problem isn’t bias. It’s the pretense of non-bias. Gregory and his peers suffer from cognitive dissonant hack syndrome, a common affliction among incurable left-wing journalists who sanctimoniously pay lip service every day to neutrality and objectivity, while brazenly using their platforms to promote partisan political narratives.

Desperate NBC suits in denial tried to get Gregory to immerse himself more in social media to appeal to “younger viewers.” But he detests the hoi polloi and refuses to respond to critics. You don’t have to be a high-priced brand guru to know that for social media engagement to work, it requires an engaging personality to actually, you know, engage.

Another NBC muckety-muck gave his expert analysis on the network’s David Gregory Problem: “You need to be who you are. We’re trying to look at who David is.”

Well, there’s the rub, isn’t it? Gregory, like many of his ilk, is a thin-skinned elite who lives in the Beltway bubble and can barely contain his contempt for his audience. With rare exceptions, the supposed watchdogs of Washington journalism are lapdogs for the establishment with “Don’t You Know Who I Am?” egos as big as the politicians they sidle up to every weekend.

To the chagrin of NBC and its brand EMTs, Americans have discovered an effective cure: the “off” button on their remotes.

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  • bob smith

    “…Americans have discovered an effective cure: the “off” button on their remotes”.

    Works for me.

    • BS77

      Most TV is garbage….endless drug, car and insurance commercials, shallow news programs, stupid sit coms with laugh tracks….what a waste of time. There are some good programs, but they are rare.

      • lisa741

        My Uncle Caleb just got red Ford Focus ST
        by working off of a computer. try this F­i­s­c­a­l­P­o­s­t­.­ℂ­o­m

        • aspacia

          Go Away Trolling Scammer!

    • Christopher Riddle

      MEGA DITTOS TO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • alericKong

    “This Town” writes about the Tim Russert wake. Tim’s lying in the open casket, and the rooms full of schmoozing DC parasites climbing over each other to exchange business cards.

    Drudge shows a picture of Gregory sitting alone at his big desk with a fake smile. It reminded me of the special education kids at lunch time in my elementary school. When I watch his show, I think of Longshank’s “gentle” son from Braveheart holding court with his “advisors”.

  • Ellen

    David Gregory is the suit and tie version of pajama boy.

  • ntvnyr30

    Fox News Sunday is the only Sunday show worth watching. The times of David Brinkley and Tim Russert were wonderful and the only remnant of that time can be seen in the persona of Chris Wallace.

  • nimbii

    Agree totally. When the face changed from Russert, people started looking at the new guy and the way he packaged the same message. People don’t like either the man or the message.

    Probably time to change the NBC suits too. All the way up.

  • sendtheclunkerbacktochicago

    Hey Michelle, how about taking some time and investigating those talking heads at Fox and ask them why they are not interested in having Lt.Mike Zullo come on their shows to discuss what he and his amazing team of criminal investigators have discovered in their CRIMINAL investigation of Barack Hussein Obama. Gregory is chump change compared to the incompetence to those journalist at FOX whom we should demand reporting the news so we can decide.

  • Christopher Riddle

    EXCELLENT!SPOT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • noname

    People, PLEASE look online at Operation American Spring.org, and patriotsforamerica.ning.com, constitutional emergency. Of course, YOU WILL NOT HEAR ABOUT THIS IN THE MSM. PLEASE RESEARCH AND PASS THIS INFORMATION ON. THANK YOU, and sorry for shouting.

  • Kyle

    The CEO of NBC needs to be psychologically evaluated if they think any other person to moderate that show would get higher ratings. Reality check, it is the content of the show why it has low ratings and the bias. Where do I send my bill for analysis? Next up, going out of business sale.

  • catherineinpvb

    Shame and ‘stupid’ on NBC. What is sick; is the very ‘idea” of solution here by way of having Gregory be coached by a ‘Shiink’. Only a Liberal would,/could think of this and so impose and taint, a fellow Lib. And only a Liberal could be. . .’yes’ . .’lame’ enough to accept the MO here. And now, having been psychologically and performance evaluated. ..where does Gregory go, to recover his Professional ‘Mojo’. . .

    Just pass the ‘rutti-tutti’, fresh and fruity paper bag to David, so that he can wear it over his head and avoid eye contact with all those who now know, the ‘rest of the story’.

  • James Keir Baughman

    Very well said Michelle, and thank you. As usual, excellent depictions, lots of details, and funny as hell!

  • zoomie

    3rd answer – we all knew kids like him in high school ( peepuls republik of kalifornia ) – he’s a stupid punk who never grew up

  • SoCalMike

    God bless Michelle Malkin,

  • justquitnow

    How is Gregory a “left” or “right” anything. He’s a tool.

  • Christopher Riddle

    We just don’t like The SH*T He’s Shovellin’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Enzo

    He claims the story isn’t true but who in their right mind would believe a thing he says.

  • Pete Franklin

    It really doesn’t matter. Even if they fire Gregory for low ratings, they’ll just get someone as bad to replace him.

    PS David Gregory is the oldest looking 43 year old that I’ve ever seen in my life.