Thursday, December 22, 2005

One more thing that's wrong with network news

White House Correspondent David Gregory of NBC News has been showing up to work in the past months, challenging both Scott McClellan and George Bush to account for themselves.


Following Scooter Libby's indictment,
[T]he president glowered at NBC News reporter David Gregory, when he shouted at Bush, "Are you embarrassed by these charges?" The president had to walk within a few feet of the correspondent to get to his helicopter on the South Lawn, and Bush stared hard at Gregory as he continued to shout questions.

At a press conference, Gregory told McClellan point-blank that

his credibility "may very well be on trial with the American public" and ask[ed], "Don't you agree?"
Then there was this very recent gem of an exchange between Gregory and McClellan, in which Gregory accuses McClellan and the administration of being "hypocritical [and ...] inconsistent [...] ad nauseam":

Q Scott, the President told Brit Hume that he thought that Tom DeLay is not guilty, even though the prosecution is obviously ongoing. What does the President feel about Scooter Libby? Does he feel that Mr. Libby --

MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things. First of all, the President was asked a question and he responded to that question in the interview yesterday, and made very clear what his views were. We don't typically tend to get into discussing legal matters of that nature, but in this instance, the President chose to respond to it. Our policy regarding the Fitzgerald investigation and ongoing legal proceeding is well-known and it remains unchanged. And so I'm just not going to have anything further to say. But we've had a policy in place for a long time regarding the Fitzgerald investigation.

Q Why would that not apply to the same type of prosecution involving Congressman DeLay?

MR. McCLELLAN: I just told you we had a policy in place regarding this investigation, and you've heard me say before that we're not going to talk about it further while it's ongoing.

Q Well, if it's prejudging the Fitzgerald investigation, isn't it prejudging the Texas investigation with regard to Congressman DeLay?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I think I've answered your question.

Q Can I follow up on that"? Is the President at all concerned that his opinion on this being expressed publicly could influence a potential jury pool, could influence public opinion on this in an improper way?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that in this instance he was just responding to a question that was asked about Congressman DeLay, about Leader DeLay, and in terms of the issue that Peter brings up, I think that we've had a policy in place, going back to 2003, and that's a White House policy.

Q But that policy has been based in part, in the leak investigation and other things, on the idea that it is simply wrong for a President to prejudge a criminal matter, particularly when it's under indictment or trial stage. Why would he --

MR. McCLELLAN: And that's one -- this is an ongoing investigation regarding possible administration officials. So I think there are some differences here.

Q There are lots of times when you don't comment on any sort of legal --

MR. McCLELLAN: There are also legal matters that we have commented on, as well. And certainly there are legal matters when it goes to Saddam Hussein.

Q So the President is inconsistent?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, David, we put a policy in place regarding this investigation --

Q But it's hypocritical. You have a policy for some investigations and not others, when it's a political ally who you need to get work done?

MR. McCLELLAN: Call it presidential prerogative; he responded to that question. But the White House established a policy --

Q Doesn't it raise questions about his credibility that he's going to weigh in on some matters and not others, and we're just supposed to sit back and wait for him to decide what he wants to comment on and influence?

MR. McCLELLAN: Congressman DeLay's matter is an ongoing legal proceeding --

Q As is the Fitzgerald investigation --

MR. McCLELLAN: The Fitzgerald investigation is --

Q -- As you've told us ad nauseam from the podium.

MR. McCLELLAN: It's an ongoing investigation, as well.

Q How can you not -- how can you say there's differences between the two, and we're supposed to buy that? There's no differences. The President decided to weigh in on one, and not the other.

MR. McCLELLAN: There are differences.

Q And the public is supposed to accept the fact that he's got no comment on the conduct of senior officials of the White House, but when it's a political ally over on the Hill who's got to help him get work done, then he's happy to try to influence that legal process.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, not at all. Not at all. You can get all dramatic about it, but you know what our policy is.
So how dismayed was I to click on the TV this morning and find Crusading Reporter David Gregory co-hosting the abomination that is Today's 3rd hour?? (He might have been there all morning, but these few minutes were all I saw.) Following a promo for the Brian Setzer Orchestra's performance tomorrow, the "gang" sang along with Setzer and prodded Gregory to awkwardly join along as they writhed to the music in white-folks-can't-dance mode (made all the more ironic by the fact that Al Roker was one of the writhers).

NBC: Don't squander credible reporters such as David Gregory on this kind of piffle. This nonsense makes Gregory look almost as non-credible as those fools he's done such a fine job of challenging in the recent past.

Sidebar: I only watch Today in drips and drops, but I've noticed that in the recent past, as part of Today's highly questionable attempts to boost ratings, Katie and Matt quietly disappear in the third hour, and we're treated to a heavy dose of the not-good-very-bad-quite-horrible posturing of Alexis Glick. (Now I feel a little badly about publicly bashing Glick. But only a little. She's probably a nice person personally, but as a "journalist," she's fawning and annoying. She asks dumb questions when she's not reading from a card, and her phony cheerleader demeanor drives me nuts. Somebody please find her a nice infomercial job somewhere, please, and get her off my TV in the morning.)

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