Tim Russert

How Chuck Todd Can Do His Part to Save Journalism From Itself

To: Chuck Todd

re: Excuses, excuses, excuses

Michael Calderone of the Huffington Post reported earlier today:

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd stood by his recent comment that Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes “disqualified herself” by refusing to say who she voted for in the last presidential election, a remark highlighted by her Republican opponent, Mitch McConnell, in a new ad.

In a Tuesday email to The Huffington Post, Todd said that “campaigns that try to make others the issue are usually trying to avoid their own scrutiny.”

“I don’t take back my analysis,” Todd continued. “But no journalist likes to be used in a TV ad. It is cheap and likely useless. And McConnell has hidden himself from questions for months. This is a highly cynical campaign we are witnessing in Kentucky. Very uninspiring debate.”

One would hope Mr. Calderone’s reporting is mistaken, because it would be really, really stupid for you to actually try to say something like that, Mr. Todd.

To put it bluntly: This is what you get when you try to make yourself part of the story.

Are you a reporter, or a participant? I mean, really, if reporters aren’t supposed to call out lies when a candidate is clearly lying, then what the hell explains a reporter deciding who is “disqualified” from running for office? It’s one of the reasons the press gets so little sympathy when reporters bawl about how mean the White House is being. You’re supposed to report the stories, not manufacture them.

It’s kind of like how the Roberts Court will write a random decision at odds with constitutional precedent, and then try to say they’re not setting a precedent, or their decision shouldn’t apply to anyone or anything else. We all know it’s excrement, and as we saw with the Windsor case, federal judges around the country have disregarded the Chief Justice. And for good reason.

People should also be disregarding you, Mr. Todd. And with good reason. You’re not a proper reporter or journalist; you’re a hack politician."Waaah!  It's not fair to hold me accountable for the words I say!  I'm just a poor, defenseless reporter!"

NBC News should have buried Meet the Press with Mr. Russert. But they wanted the product to live on, so they put it in David Gregory’s hands, and we all know how awful that went.

And now it’s yours, an outcome the American people will suffer for.

If you want to make a political splash and then cry when people use your words and you find yourself taking heat from real journalists, then quit pretending to be a reporter and just run for office.

It’s not that I loathe you, sir. To the other, if you keep asking that people should look so poorly upon you, then don’t complain when they finally do.

You have no business pretending to be a journalist. Please do the right thing and resign. Someone of your skills has plenty of suitable career opportunities. Maybe play press contact for a 2016 Romney run? I mean, really, they’re going to need someone of your ethics who is capable of doing better than Eric Fehrnstrom’s “Etch-a-Sketch” bit. And, you know, why wouldn’t he run? He’s already got plenty of other pretend journalists trying to “draft” him for a third run. They, too, are trying to manufacture a story. But none of them have yet whined that it’s cheap and useless to hold them accountable for their words.

Do the right thing, Mr. Todd. Resign from Meet the Press and retire from journalism. At least then, in having done the right thing for journalism, you could at least pretend that you care about the profession … and the rest of our society, too.

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Calderone, Michael. “Chuck Todd Defends Grimes ‘Disqualified’ Critique, But Says It’s ‘Cheap’ To Use In TV Ad”. The Huffington Post. 14 October 2014.