If rumors are true, then it’s business as usual in TV news; white men only need apply.
By Joanne Bamberger
Oh, mainstream media. You have done it once again. It seems that you just can’t help yourself when it comes to promoting white guy after white guy, especially for your signature shows.
Rumors have been swirling that David Gregory is on his way out as host of “Meet the Press.” In many ways that’s a good thing, as the show, while an important one in terms of hearing directly from influencers, politicians, and newsmakers of the day, is in dire need of change — let’s get some fresh blood, fresh perspectives, and a new approach.
So the choice to accomplish that is ….. Chuck Todd? Sure he knows his White House stuff, but if, as NBC News President Deborah Turness claims, there is a desire to “restore passion” to the show, the viewing public is going to need some serious convincing that Todd is the man for the job. Giving us another inside the D.C. Beltway white guy isn’t a recipe for fresh. I’d like to think that Turness, a Brit with experience in the kind of real news coverage the European cable news channels actually provide, would know better and would be bolder in her choice of a successor for Gregory.
If, as she has been quoted as saying, that “news is the best drama on television,” promoting another Caucasian male to sit in the MTP anchor chair is the least dramatic thing Turness could do.
If NBC really wants to shake things up with some passion, what about these women “insiders”:
Rachel Maddow – She’s been a guest on MTP from time to time, and has definitely held her own on the male heavy Sunday wonkfest. And given the kind of show she does each night on MSNBC, it’s clear she has the journalism chops to handle the heavy hitters who like to use MTP as their own personal soapbox.
Gwen Ifill – Yes, she is busy over at PBS co-anchoring “NewsHour” with Judy Woodruff, but Ifill is also the the host of “Washington Week,” essentially PBS’ version of MTP, and she definitely has the street “cred” Turness says she’s looking for.
Soledad O’Brien — She’s been kicked from the CNN morning anchor desk not once, but twice, but I think that’s because she’s just too smart and substantive for A.M. “news.” O’Brien is now at Al Jazeera America (which has hired many other cable news alums whose names and faces you would most certainly recognize).
Bonnie Erbe – Erbe is the host of PBS’ “To the Contrary,” a roundtable political show that features the voices and opinions of women (hmm, that sounds familiar!). After years of anchoring this all women, all the time show, Erbe would undoubtedly get more female guests on MTP.
Who would you nominate to be the next “not Chuck Todd” host of “Meet the Press?”
Joanne Bamberger is an independent journalist who is also the author of the book “Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America.” She is the founder and publisher of the The Broad Side, where this piece first appeared. You can find her on Twitter at @jlcbamberger. She is the co-founder of the Hillary Talk tumblr, which you can follow on Twitter at @hillary_talk.
This column is republished here with permission from the author.