David Gregory: The Safe Interviewer

I had doubts about David Gregory taking over as moderator of Meet the Press. Television reviewer Verne Gay isn’t very impressed with the job Gregory has done so far:

The new moderator often seems like he’s wearing a suit made for someone else – Russert – and as a result has yet to clearly establish why he got this gig instead of anyone else in the conga line of potential successors. Gregory is terrifically polished, well-informed, a good listener and has the talking points of both sides down cold. But he also seems more intent on covering the waterfront than digging for news, or in pushing the talking heads off their talking points. Recent interviews with Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) felt like a waterfront that went on for miles – an endless vista of chatter and spin. His exclusive interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates was thoughtful and probing, but not particularly memorable.

BOTTOM LINE “Meet the Press” is now the de facto safe show on Sunday morning – “safe,” that is, for those being interviewed.

Gregory has been handed perhaps the most important program in television journalism. It’s time to start acting like the king who rules wisely yet ruthlessly. Otherwise, his legacy will match that of Garrick Utley or Bill Monroe – moderators who were highly respected but not highly feared. In this job, it’s vital to be both.

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