Chuck Todd On How Pres. Trump Will Make The News Media Better

By Chris Ariens 

NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd is joining forces with the American Film Institute (AFI) for a documentary film festival which will feature several untold stories of American politics.

The collaboration is part of the Meet the Press 70th anniversary celebration. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the AFI which was established in 1967 after President Lyndon Johnson who said the Institute should be made up of “leading artists of the film industry, outstanding educators and young men and women who wish to pursue the 20th-century art form as their life’s work.”

The collaboration will result in a film festival, set for November, during which seven short-form documentaries will be screened.


We caught up with MTP moderator Chuck Todd, who is the 12th host in the 70-year history of Meet the Press, for 5 questions about the film festival, the future of Meet the Press and the current state of politics.

TVNewser: Not that you were around 70 years ago, but what’s changed most in the way viewers consume TV news today?

Todd: The biggest change is the fact that news consumers are their own curators and own producers. The ability to choose your own narrative on what the news means is perhaps the biggest change in our business in my lifetime. The impact on our politics is fairly obvious.

TVNewser: What’s most fun for you: the Sunday show, the MSNBC show or the podcast?

Todd: That’s like asking me which of my two kids is my favorite!

It’s an unanswerable question because I love them the same and yet admire their individuality in different ways. The podcast allows me to stretch my brain and go deeper on topics that animate me but don’t necessarily make for easy to digest TV.

The Sunday show is such a privilege as it’s our job to channel to the public’s hunger for information and accountability from our leaders. It’s a duty that I can’t believe has been bestowed upon me, and I love it.

And as a news junkie, the MSNBC show is a lifeline to staying relevant for Meet the Press, and the daily show only makes our weekly show better.

TVNewser: What kinds of films can we expect with this collaboration between NBC and the AFI?

Todd: The goal is to surface stories that explain where our politics is and where it could head. The beauty of an umbrella that large is that we can tackle a fairly diverse set of issues to help tell those stories. It means I can scratch a sports and arts itch because the impact on culture and politics is so similar these days.

TVNewser: If the AFI is Pres. Johnson’s contribution to film and the arts, what do you think will be Pres. Trump’s?

Todd: I think the impact of Pres. Trump’s win is going to be seen in five years as improving the media’s appetite to get back to experiential and on-the ground-reporting. Over the last two decades, the press came to lean heavily on statistical-based reporting and not enough on how those statistics came to be. We have the technology to virtually be anywhere we want, and yet, that doesn’t cut it as far as understanding what’s actually happening in reality.

TVNewser: What will Meet the Press look like as it celebrates its 100th anniversary, in 2047?

Todd: The mission will be same: holding leaders accountable, being the destination that doesn’t just tell you what happened but explains why it happened and gives you the tools to prepare for what could happen.

As for how folks consume Meet the Press, it will likely feel infinite by then. I view my tenure in this chair as helping to prepare Meet the Press to be platform-neutral today, tomorrow and forever – so that no matter how you consume news, Meet the Press will be there. If it’s a day of the week or an hour of the day, it’s Meet the Press.