Which reporter is TNR referring to?
White House correspondents like to describe their colleague NBC News’s David Gregory as a “bit of a showboat.” They recount, for instance, the time he ordered a Cape Cod cocktail on a press charter plane–then sent it back four times to achieve the ideal ratio of vodka to cranberry juice. Sticking with the air-travel theme, they note that his luggage tends to fill two overhead storage compartments. “He has a kind of traveling wardrobe,” one reporter explains. Illustration by Pablo LobatoAnd when, on his birthday, Gregory affixed to his backpack a bunch of balloons that read you’re great!, reporters joked that he had bought them for himself…
But, when members of the White House press corps put Gregory down–all off the record, of course–they don’t mention the prime cause of their jealousy. It’s not just that Gregory has been auditioning recently to fill the vacated host chair at “Imus in the Morning.” During the early years of the Bush presidency, the White House press corps slumbered, allowing liars like Ari Fleischer to inveigle them into transcribing distortions about everything from weapons of mass destruction to tax cuts. But, over the last two years, without much fanfare, the White House press corps has regained its gumption, finally providing the intense journalistic scrutiny that the Bushies deserve. And it was Gregory–a real-life Stephen Colbert, but on the side of the angels–who led the revival….
After years of seeing journalists cowed by White House flacks, it’s nice to see those flacks a bit cowed themselves. That’s why First Amendment supporters everywhere should raise a perfectly mixed Cape Cod to David Gregory.