By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

David Gregory grooves one for Rice

Could David Gregory have possibly done a worse job in his interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on “Meet the Press” Sunday? More than anything, what stood out was the moment when he made her own false point for her, sparing her the trouble of having to do it herself:

GREGORY: Let’s talk about Iraq. The president’s final visit there as president happening just a week ago today, and what became, obviously, the most noticed image of that trip was this press conference with the prime minister and a member of the press throwing his shoes. As the president pointed out, as you’ve pointed out, certainly a sign of freedom in Iraq.

RICE: Yes.

GREGORY: You got a press corps that can speak its mind and act the way it wants to act.

Notice that the Gregory quotes contain several English-like phrases, but that he is not actually speaking English. But to my point: Gregory cites the shoe-throwing incident as “a sign of freedom in Iraq,” following up with: “You got [sic] a press corps that can speak its mind and act the way it wants to act.”

Well, yes, for those members of the press who are willing to pay the consequences. The reporter who threw his shoes at Bush, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, was reportedly beaten so badly after the incident that there was blood on the floor.

Al-Zeidi was then hauled off to jail, where he sits to this day. He is scheduled to go on trial on Dec. 31, and could face as much as 15 years in prison, although such a harsh sentence is reportedly not likely.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. You can’t assault the head of state from another country, standing next to your prime minister, and face no consequences. For that matter, if an American reporter had stood up at a White House news conference and thrown his shoes at the president, he’d be in trouble, too.

But Gregory, rather than make those common-sense observations, chose instead to say something completely untrue, making the interview even easier for Rice than it otherwise would have been.

Then again, Gregory had scored the first major interview with the secretary of state since Vice President Dick Cheney publicly bragged about his role in promoting torture and in going to war regardless of whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And Gregory didn’t ask Rice about Cheney’s statements, either.

Gregory is not off to a good start in his new role.

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  1. Mike F

    Reminds me of the interviewing style of that late, great newsman Chris Farley on his “Chris Farley Show” sketch on Saturday Night Live:”Why are you so awesome?”Then again, at least Farley asked a question.Also a nice illustration of his “discussion killer” abilities.

  2. Alfredo

    This is a clear example why every time I see the members of the “traditional media” do their pity party about how bloggers are “less than REAL journalists” makes me what to do what’ I refused to do to my dog every time he goes to the bathroom on the rug…

  3. Rob

    All I could think during MTP yesterday was that Gregory was conducting an interview like he was guest hosting on the Today show. He just sat there with this weird grin on his face and tossed softballs. He really is the quintessential DC insider journalist who only cares about the horse race and inside politics and never asks any questions and does little reporting on policy or substance. Chuck Todd would have been a much better pick because although he gets the horse race and electoral numbers better than anybody, he also is not afraid to challenge the status quo or discuss policy. They put him at the White House instead, which I think will waste his talents.

  4. DevorahLeah

    David is a rightie. Really he is. Sometimes, he sort of acts like a moderate, but mostly he’s a rightie and now you’ve seen his true colours. Tim Russert is spinning in his grave.

  5. O'Reilly

    “Chuck Todd would have been a much better pick”, and so would David Shuster. David Gregory is a righty.Gregory wants people like Condi to like him. Didn’t Gregory watch Condi’s other recent interviews to know where she had been and what piles of shyte she had left there… such as dissembling about WMD?

  6. Prospecticus

    From what I’ve heard, the Iraqi journalist expected to die on the spot(and perhaps he should have, if the Secret Service had been on the ball). The dopes who buy this idiotic freedom line from Bush probably think Iraq was an imminent threat to us too. Why should Gregory be any different to this particular administration than the whole discredited crew, Russert included.

  7. Al-Sahagun

    Very, very disappointing. David Gregory looked like a tamed version of himself. He did not challenge Condoleeza Rice’s statements about the work of this administration. Her just played soft-ball and allowed her to make her case without any critical questioning. Tim Russert must be turning in his grave.

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