I’ve seen a lot of detestable news anchors in my time. I have watched actual adults who claim to uphold the Fourth Estate deracinate their journalistic credibility the minute that they get their own show, failing to push back against the powers that be who steer their “news” programs into crass shouting matches, relentless ego-stroking, and the infernal trap of touchy-feely relatable celebrity. These deplorable and obscenely paid pundits, who we entrust to relay the events of our day and to challenge anyone who answers a question with flagrant lies and willful equivocation, have conducted interviews with their schnozzes smothered in dun and their hubris puffed up by multiyear contracts. They never tender the vital critical inquiries at the right time and often contribute to a dangerous political landscape because they have nothing to lose. Before Trump was even a reality and the Morning Joe train wreck was roundly ridiculed by any self-respecting media follower, I observed Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski whip themselves into a lather over the Koch Brothers, with Scarborough actually stating that these two dangerous billionaires who have systematically funded anti-union egotists like Scott Walker and out-of-touch zombies like Mitt Romney were “like, I think, most Americans.” Now Scarborough prostrates himself before the social media crowd as a penitent turncoat. And ten thousand people retweet him, even though Scarborough himself declared Trump a “centrist Democrat” three years ago and would undoubtedly alter his malleable ideology if it meant bigger ratings. I’ve met used car salesmen who I would trust more than Joe Scarborough.
But there’s actually someone much worse than all of these chickenheads.
Chuck Todd has no redeeming qualities as a human being. He has the mien and manner of a mangy dog who wants you to applaud as he’s playing with his balls, seemingly incapable of comprehending the vulgarity of the masturbatory act. He possesses nothing in the way of grace or humility and behaves on television with all the undeserved pomp and preen of a teenage pop star who can’t hold a tune but is inexplicably beloved by millions. His eyes dart around for attention and amusement. That ridiculous goatee doesn’t disguise the fact that he’s a grown up version of the snotty kid who throws a fit every time he stands in line at the supermarket. You get the sense that Todd would pop open the champagne if a cheap quip landed while thousands were mowed down by machine guns in the streets. He is an unctuous apologist for fascism and a gleeful normalizer of governmental malfeasance and human rights abuses. He is a dangerous dipstick who needs to be fired immediately and banned from and booed out of every newsroom. The combination of arrogance and stupidity is already problematic enough in the White House. Must we endure it on the national news as well?
How far have we fallen? Well, Tim Russert, a previous host of Meet the Press, was not only a highly accomplished interlocutor, but a man who went to law school and who served as chief of staff to Senator Daniel Moynihan. Todd, like many mediocre white men, went to George Washington University for a few years, dropped out, served as an office runner depositing checks for Tom Harkin’s campaign before inexplicably falling upward into the editor-in-chief position at the National Journal, ping-ponging his way over to NBC and into his present position of America’s #1 bullshit merchant.
The great joy I would take in seeing Chuck Todd thoroughly destroyed, the good money I would pay to see Chuck Todd pied in the face every day for the rest of his natural life, significantly outweighs my animosity towards the FOX News people, who are easily recognized as vile creatures who are propping up a far-right government with shameful propaganda and corrupting the minds of Americans. Todd, on the other hand, presents himself as the “sensible” pundit and thus the “reasonable” guy when he’s really just sugarcoating clear evils that the media must not take lightly.
Back in June, Todd earned rightful fury when he attempted to ding Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after she correctly pointed out that America was running concentration camps on its southern border. Todd, with a twisted sociopathic rapid-fire glee that reveled more in being “right” rather than possessing any empathy or compassion for the lives of undocumented immigrants now suffering and even dying in these detention centers, replied, “Fair enough. But Congresswoman, tens of thousands were also brutalized, tortured, starved, and ultimately died in….concentration camps. Camps like Dachau. If you want to criticize the shameful treatment at our southern border, fine. You’ll have plenty of company. But be careful comparing them to Nazi concentration camps.” Ocasio-Cortez never said “Nazi concentration camps.” She said “concentration camps.” By every known definition of the word, concentration camps are precisely what is now happening in America — in that undocumented immigrants of a minority group are being held, mistreated, and suffering in a facility with armed guards. Todd, not unlike a white supremacist, not only glosses over the number of deaths in Auschwitz, Dachau, Belzec, et al. (believed to be around six million, not merely “tens of thousnads”). He conveniently discounts the disgraceful Japanese internment camps that flourished in America during World War II, where approximately 120,000 people were forcibly removed from their homes thanks to Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. America also erected concentration camps in the Philippines just before the Spanish-American War.
Todd willfully spread misinformation about what concentration camps are, deliberately elided America’s past abuses, and significantly deflated the numbers and the severity of concentration camps throughout human history. He did all this, presumably because he wishes to mimic the strutting peacock of the network where he is now employed.
Chuck Todd, the irredeemable hack and superficial carnival barker, showed his true colors again when he viewed today’s Robert Mueller hearings purely through the haze of “optics” rather than substance. This ridiculous concern for aesthetics rather than substance and due process was swiftly rebuked by Columbia Journalism Review‘s Maria Bustillos, who pointed out that this fit into a pattern in which Todd is more interested in the “entertainment” of political coverage rather than the substance. She dug up a chart pointing out that Todd talked more than all but three of the presidential candidates in the last Democratic debate (and this when Todd had only been partially on stage).
When Meet the Press started on the Mutual radio network back in 1945, it was designed to promote The American Mercury — the same magazine for which the firebrand H.L. Mencken wrote for. Interestingly enough, the first host of Meet the Press — in its radio and television versions — wasn’t an arrogant jackass, but a thoughtful woman named Martha Rountree, who also created the show. It was Rountree’s express mission to ask difficult and provocative questions of major political figures in unrehearsed interviews. “There is nothing so refreshing as unadorned conviction,” said Rountree in a 1946 interview.
There hasn’t been a woman hosting Meet the Press on a regular basis since. I think it’s now time for a woman to take over the reins and steer the show away from its presently unpardonable adornments under Chuck Todd, whose recent interview with Trump is arguably the most embarrassing conversation in the show’s history. Todd let Trump get away with blatant falsehoods and gaslighting. He did not have the conviction or the skills to push back.
Chuck Todd’s gaffes, timidity, and anti-intellectualism can no longer be tolerated. He needs to be fired immediately. Maybe he’ll have a better career managing a nice restaurant, if only because the Yelp reviewers will hold him more accountable for being such a spineless and pusillanimous asshole than NBC ever will.
© 2019, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.