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Advice for "Meet the Press"

By       Message Thom Hartmann     Permalink
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Cross-posted from Smirking Chimp

From NBC's Meet the Press
NBC's Meet the Press
(image by YouTube)

It's time to bring back a Washington institution.

Yesterday, Politico's Mike Allen broke the news that Chuck Todd, NBC's political director and chief White House correspondent, is the favorite to replace David Gregory and take over the helm at "Meet The Press."

An official announcement on the switch is expected to be made in the next few weeks according to Allen.

Of course, this news doesn't really come as a surprise to anyone who's been watching "Meet The Press" of late.

Ever since the death of Tim Russert in 2008, "Meet the Press" has floundered, often finding itself at the bottom of the Sunday news show ratings.

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In fact, the show has seen some of its worst ratings ever under David Gregory.

As a change looms at "Meet the Press," it's worth taking a look at how this once great pillar of political news television has ended up at the bottom of the ratings barrel, and how it can be made great again.

And to be fair, it's not all David Gregory's fault. Simply swapping him out for Chuck Todd won't right the ship.

One of the major problems with "Meet The Press" of late is that the show assumes that its audience is not following the news, and has no clue about the week's events.

But, as Jason Linkins points out over at The Huffington Post, the majority of the people that tune into "Meet the Press" are "well-versed in the stories of the week," and have, "already absorbed the talking points of the major players, availed themselves of a wealth of insight and expertise, and have even participated in their own discussions on current events."

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Basically, the show's producers appear to think its viewers are a lot dumber and a lot more uninformed than they actually are.

So, when people tune in on Sundays and hear the same old talking points from the same old pundits and politicos, they get bored and change the channel.

As Linkins puts it, "One doesn't get the sense that the producers of 'Meet The Press' have in any way accounted for the sophistication of the show's potential audience."

And, since the show underestimates its audience, it brings on guests who really can't contribute much to serious debates.

Similarly, the show rarely brings on experts on individual issues. Instead, it relies on political pundits, strategists, and analysts who are just reciting either bumper stickers or conventional wisdom.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)

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