488 Meet the Dave
You have to feel sorry for David Gregory. Here he is in the hottest hot seat in Washington journalism. And he seems so young. David's now the "moderator" of "Meet the Press." Yesterday (12/14/08) was his first trip out of the starting gate, and by all accounts a success. There's plenty to talk about, what with the incoming Obama administration and Illinois Gov. Blago. But it's not just a matter of sitting on a TV set at nine in the morning and throwing questions at Mitt Romney or Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan or Blogo's soon-to-be successor Pat Quinn.
David is a fine reporter. Covers the White House for NBC. Has earned the highest prize in that position, the one where the administration won't talk to you because they think you're "against us." A sure sign that young Gregory is doing his job right. But fine reporter or not, he had to be seeing ghosts yesterday when the red light on the camera came on.
Well, not ghosts, but ghost. Somewhere, up there among the television lights, had to be hovering the ghost of Tim Russert. Tim, the grand old man who put MTP back on the map back in '92. Woke it up. Made it important again. Had to make the new kid nervous, even though he didn't look it. You look at David and ask "old enough to shave?" Well, he's 38. And when Russert took the reigns at the program, he was 41 or 42. So not a lot of difference, chronologically.
But Russert had a lot less to lose. "Meet" was in the doldrums in those days. Just one of the Sunday "game shows" or the "Sunday funnies" as they're known to some in TV. Gregory has a lot to lose and appears smart enough to know it. The show has become a beltway must and appears also to be a huge money maker for NBC. So there's a lot riding on this guy.
Then, there's Betsy Fischer, executive producer since '02. She had something to prove, too. The executive producer is final authority in a broadcast. And what she had to prove was that she could do this thing without Tim. And she has. And so have her producers, directors, technical directors, unit managers, production associates, lighting, hair, makeup booking people, camera people, audio people, stage hands, writers, editors, video geniuses, all the others involved in what looks like such a simple program.
The Ghost probably did a little jabbing and made a few wisecracks at 8:59 Sunday morning. But he probably had a smile at 10:00:30.
--All of a sudden, the sleepy condo association started getting active, cleaning leaves from drains, patching sidewalks, shoveling minor snow. The prediction that followed: they're going to raise the fee. The letter that followed the prediction: they are going to raise the fee.
--Not all the financial news is bad. Social Security is giving us employees raises. And they're not bad.
--Those raises are so good, I'm going out on a spending spree. New luxuries. Bread, to name one.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.(sm)