Tuesday, March 11, 2008

All Tuckered out

MSNBC is cancelling Tucker -- the show, not the person.

The network has finally had it with the show's low ratings. But Carlson's always good for a sound bite, so he will "remain with MSNBC, as a campaign correspondent who will cover the presidential race from Washington and the road," the New York Times reports.

Perhaps MSNBC will loan Carlson to ABC for some guest commentary for Dancing with the St -- oh, wait ... maybe not.

Meanwhile, "Tucker" will be replaced with what the New York Times calls a "new, politically oriented program featuring David Gregory, chief White House correspondent of NBC News."

In a word: Yuck.

David Gregory. For me, he is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with modern political reporting. (See some examples of why here.) In one particularly testy exchange he had with White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Gregory was so aggressive that his demeanor completely obfuscated the point he was trying to make, no matter how valid it might have been. I told a reporter friend of mine that if I was McClellan, I would have had Gregory's White House press pass revoked by the end of the briefing. Covering the White House is a privilege, not a right, and Gregory's conduct was anything but professional. What good does it do to get the story if, in getting it, you sacrifice -- or throw away -- all credibility as an evenhanded and balanced reporter who can tell the story straight? Gregory's continued presence in the press pool is a constant drain on the credibility of NBC News.

The bottom line here is that MSNBC will probably end up on the losing end of this decision. A low-rated show featuring a relatively affable guy is better than a low-rated show featuring a boorish egomaniac.