Of course we’re all excited about the post-Katrina press renaissance in which the media has been lauded for finding its spine and taking on the tough issues head-on (well, has lauded itself but since we’re the vox populi we’ll make the assumption). But Fishtern Jamie Frevele has a media favorite who she contends has been spine-tastic and cojone-o-riffic for quite some time. Read on to see who, and why. Ladies and germs that Greg Lindsay might pick up in an airport, Jamie Frevele!
FishbowlNY is not shy about its high regard for the men and women who give us the news. Besides Silver Stallion Anderson Cooper of CNN and the dashing NBC News Anchor Brian Williams, let us take a small segment to raise our glasses to one of my favorites: NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent David Gregory. Besides guest-hosting the “Today” Show, “Meet the Press” and “Hardball,” Gregory has covered everything for NBC from OJ to 9/11 (he was in Florida, taking in Bush’s reading of “My Pet Goat”), and since being allowed inside the WH press room, Gregory has proven to be quite the sparring partner for White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. That and a few other reasons to love him, as follow:
1. Mad Dog Gregory in the WH Press Room: Like a bully threatening a noogie of dynamic proportions, David Gregory poked and prodded White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan about the administration responding to the dismal response to Hurricane Katrina by firing people. McClellan immediately accused Gregory of “blame gaming” and “finger pointing” and repeated repeatedly that this was not the time for that.” As if Gregory would take that. He demanded answers, and defended himself for wanting them. An excerpt:
Q So you’re not — you won’t answer that question directly?
MR. McCLELLAN: I did. I just did.
Q No, you didn’t. Yes or no? Does he have complete confidence or doesn’t he?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, if you want to continue to engage in finger-pointing and blame-gaming, that’s fine —
Q Scott, that’s ridiculous. I’m not engaging in any of that.
MR. McCLELLAN: It’s not ridiculous.
Q Don’t try to accuse me of that. I’m asking you a direct question and you should answer it.
He continued to get the runaround, and it became clear that McClellen was given exactly one index card’s worth of information. This happened back in June during the Rove-Plame case, when he pretty much held a set of brass knuckles (classy, professional ones, not literal ones) to McClellan’s throat, probably getting a bit accusatory himself, but hey. The press may be re-growing its backbone; this man never lost his.
2. David Gregory is not too proud to dance to Hillary Duff: “Serious about dancing, serious about the news,” said Gregory, defending himself on Imus. While guest-hosting the Today Show in mid-August, David Gregory exercised his right to shake his inner teenybopper to Hillary Duff (see the video here; shake it yourself here), in what can only be described as a sort of hippy dance missing only billowing clouds of weed and a lighter in Gregory’s mellow, swaying hand. This is only acceptable because shortly thereafter, he followed up by playing “Hardball.”
3. Mad Dog Plays Hardball! Substituting for Chris Matthews in August while he was on leave, Mad Dog Gregory was back, calling pro-war tour leader and conservative radio host Melanie “You Don’t Speak for Me, Cindy” Morgan on her accusing the mainstream media of turning Cindy Sheehan into a pawn of liberal activists. Gregory wondered if perhaps Sheehan wasn’t legitimately more concerned about why her son died than being friends with Michael Moore. If you’re going to dance on national television to Hillary Duff, then yes, please follow with this:
GREGORY: Melanie, is she an authentic voice? Is Cindy Sheehan’s voice larger than her own tragic situation, losing her son?
MORGAN: I think that she is not an authentic voice. And the reason why is because Cindy Sheehan really is a media creation…She has been hooked one the people from moveon.org and Michael Moore, who created “Fahrenheit 9/11,” a movie filled with propaganda and inaccuracies…
GREGORY: But, Melanie, she lost her son. I mean, to hear you…speak, it’s as if there is no credibility when you walk in the door. This is a woman who has sacrificed…And you just write her off as being a creation of the left?
MORGAN: No. That is not what I said at all.
GREGORY: Well, that’s what you…said exactly that she’s a creation of moveon.org and Michael Moore.
4. David Gregory is apparently a very tall man. Can anyone confirm his height? I keep hearing things about how David Gregory is about seven foot twelve. If I ever get the chance to shake his hand, I’d like to know whether or not I should wear heels.
Update: We have since been reminded that Chris Matthews’ father passed away in August. Certainly no disrespect was meant with the ‘extra-long vacation’ line. We’ve since changed it but just so you know, Jamie was appalled at the thought of offending “another favorite newsman.”
Update: We also hear that David Gregory does killer impressions, i.e. Tom Brokaw and Larry King. Fellow Fishtern Maureen Miller says they are “dead on.” Can anyone else confirm this? Any renegade videos out there? Let me clarify: any renegade videos of David Gregory doing imitations out there? No other types of renegade videos, please. Thanks much.
Update: Last one. Jamie says that Keith Olbermann, too, does a pretty good Larry King. Do I smell a media talent show? I think I do.