By David Zurawik
The Baltimore Sun
6:45 PM EDT, April 27, 2014
After a week spent writing post after post about "House of Cards" and its troubles in Maryland, I had a chance Sunday on Howie Kurtz's "Media Buzz" to finally weigh in on the troubles of "Meet the Press" and its host, David Gregory.
It's been a bad three years for the show as it went from first to third place in the Sunday morning wars. And Gregory's failure as a host was brought into sharp focus last week with a report that NBC News hired a "psychological consultant" to interview Gregory's wife, friends and others about him.
NBC claims it was a "brand consultant' -- not a shrink -- as if that is so much better. If after having him as an employee for almost two decades NBC doesn't know who he is, why would the network think the audience does?
Near the end of the video, Kurtz asks me a question about Gregory and political bias, which I sidestep. It's a fair question and one I am sure a lot of viewers want an answer to.
I avoided answering it, because I didn't want my larger points to be lost in the ideological crossfire that consumes cable TV and social media.
But, for the record, here is the answer I should have offered: I believe NBC News has seriously harmed its brand and most of its star performers through the indiscriminate mixing and matching with MSNBC.
The rabid ideology of MSNBC has been like a cancer eating away at the credibility of NBC News, which was once a very good journalistic institution. Gregory has been part of that. His words and actions within the highly politicized realm of MSNBC make it perfectly valid for viewers to expect there to be a liberal bias on "Meet the Press." And that expectation and perception of bias has been deadly to the franchise.
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