Monday, April 19, 2010

We Report, You Decide If It's True

No matter how much I'd get annoyed with the host, guests or panelists, Meet the Press has always been a Sunday tradition for me. You watch it to know what/who the political media has deemed important that week, every so often you'd get a genuinely interesting interview/debate along the way.

While I didn't think David Gregory would be a good fit as the MTP host, I also didn't think that he would make the show unwatchable within 12 months, and become the poster boy for what's wrong with political journalism.

When journalism professor Jay Rosen floated the idea of fact checking the Sunday shows as a way to prevent the constant lying and bullshiting that their current format makes possible, the responses were mostly positive. ABC's Jake Tapper has gone so far as asking to fact check each episode of This Week and publish the results.

Not David Gregory though. His response was so much more revealing than he ever intended, and cuts to the root of all that's wrong with today's political journalism:
[A]ccepting a challenge from New York University’s Jay Rosen, interim host Jake Tapper has arranged for the St. Petersburg Times’ PolitiFact site to fact-check what “This Week” guests say after each program.

An “interesting idea,” Gregory allows, but not one the NBC show will be emulating. “People can fact-check ‘Meet the Press’ every week on their own terms.”
If this were a just world, Gregory would have been called into his office 15 minutes after that quote was published and fired on the spot. Although, as someone who thought the press did a great job asking tough questions in the run up to the Iraq war, I'm not surprised to hear that he thinks he's doing a great job now. After being mocked for his answer, Gregory responded via twitter:
Look, I don't think it's fair to suggest I'm opposed to fact checking or accountability or real journalism for that matter. My view is that I just don't think we need a formal arrangement to accomplish that goal.
Glad he cleared that up. He's not opposed to people checking his facts, like he said before, you can do that on your own time! And why do you need a "formal arrangement" to do something that you weren't going to do anyway?

The Colbert Report did a brilliant segment on this last week for those who missed it:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sunday Morning Fact-Checking - Jake Tapper & Bill Adair
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

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