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Preview of 4/25 Show


Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Chairman, Banking Committee

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Ranking Member, Banking Committee

Set up:

Financial Reform: Democrats are hoping to start debate in the Senate next week on sweeping legislation that would overhaul the nation’s financial regulatory system. Can Democrats and Republicans reach an agreement and avoid the partisan fighting that divided the health care debate? What parts of the bill are up for discussion? And what issues are non-negotiable? We’ll get answers in an exclusive debate: the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) & Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL).


David Brooks
Columnist, New York Times

Erin Burnett
Anchor, CNBC’s “Street Signs”
Co-Anchor, CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”

Michele Norris
Host, NPR’s “All Things Considered”

Evan Thomas
Editor at Large, Newsweek

Set up:

As Goldman Sachs executives prepare to testify before Congress next week, is there any proof the fraud charges filed against the firm were politically motivated? Will the administration’s plan for financial reform really prevent future bailouts and provide adequate consumer protection? What is the most likely outcome of the regulatory fight on Capitol Hill? And how will President Obama’s popularity and the current political climate in Washington impact the 2010 midterm elections?

New York Times preview:

And in crucial end-game negotiations like this, lawmakers are often quick to decline discussing any specifics, noting that they would prefer not to negotiate through the media. But in a twist, aides to Mr. Dodd and Mr. Shelby said on Friday that the only scheduled meeting between the two senators would be on the set of NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning.

In and of itself, that may be the most revealing information to emerge about the state of talks on the financial regulation bill. While there are certainly outstanding disagreements about various provisions, none are so big or controversial that senators are huddled urgently in a conference room. Staff members of the banking committee are expected to meet through the weekend, and presumably Mr. Dodd and Mr. Shelby will say something about their progress on Sunday’s talk show. Or not.

Stats for first 72 Hours of Meet The Facts

3768 Unique Visitors
6125 Pageviews
192 Twitter followers
Facebook fan page up to 408 ppl
All 50 States + DC

Might be the last stats until Monday as traffic usually dies down over the weekend, but we’ll see how it goes..

We Know Who’s With Coco, but Who’s With Facts?

Who's With Facts

Special thanks to Chris Baily for making the illustration!

Yes, David Gregory Reads Your Tweets

Just in case you were worried firing off a tweet to David Gregory would end up being unnoticed… Found on Mr. Gregory’s personal blog, a photo of what his desk looks like while he is preparing to host Meet The Press (notice what’s on the screen of his laptop):

David Gregory's desk while preparing for Meet The Press
Yes, that’s him reading Twitter as he prepares to host Meet The Press.

And don’t forget that part of this story has been driven by a response to a tweet that Mr. Gregory made. Taking action and tweeting him and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer will be noticed. Search @davidgregory or @meetthepress for the past 48 hours and see how filled the feeds are with actions on behalf of this campaign. (Great work if one of them is already yours!)

Behind the Scenes at Meet The Press: David’s Desk (The View From Here – David Gregory’s Blog)

“The Gregory Era”

From the Howard Kurtz piece that contains the David Gregory quote that pretty much launched this campaign (“People can fact-check ‘Meet the Press’ every week on their own terms.” ) – the preceding bit from Mr. Gregory is about the new Meet The Press set:

The look is ultramodern: floor-to-ceiling bookcases, a pair of huge video screens with a White House backdrop, a small, circular glass table as well as a larger, rectangular one.

David Gregory is excited about the “striking” new set for “Meet the Press,” which debuts May 2. “This is part of the evolution of the program,” he says. “For the Gregory era of the program, there’s a visual piece of that. It doesn’t limit me to one position. It allows me to use technology in various ways. I can even stand.”

Mr. Gregory’s statements show that he is obviously concerned with the “evolution” of the show and that he thinks of his time at the helm as “the Gregory era” – but what will define this era? Will it be a cosmetic era? What substance “pieces” are forthcoming?

Doesn’t it seem ironic to host a show surrounded by bookcases but not be committed to confirming that the information presented on that show is factual? It is just as inappropriate to allow unconfirmed on-air statements to stand as it would be to fill those bookcases with political autobiographies.

Is Mr. Gregory and NBC’s reluctance to implement fact checking because of production cost concerns? And if so how much has this new set cost?

Financial investment in the relevance and journalistic integrity of Meet The Press should not be limited to visual appeal. 5/2 will also mark the debut of the show in HD – something long overdue – but the audience should be able to see more than the pores of unverified statements.

24 hours of Meet The Facts:

1198 Unique Visitors
2000 Pageviews
Facebook Fan Page up to 176 ppl
Every state but South Dakota
9 visits from “NBC Universal”
5 news site mentions or articles

Accountability in a World of “Suck-Up” Parties

In the New York Times Magazine’s new profile of Politico reporter Mike Allen, there is a passing look a party given for Meet The Press Executive Producer Betsy Fischer:

On a recent Friday night, a couple hundred influentials gathered for a Mardi Gras-themed birthday party for Betsy Fischer, the executive producer of “Meet the Press.” Held at the Washington home of the lobbyist Jack Quinn, the party was a classic Suck-Up City affair in which everyone seemed to be congratulating one another on some recent story, book deal, show or haircut (and, by the way, your boss is doing a swell job, and maybe we could do an interview).

McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, arrived after the former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie left. Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren had David Axelrod pinned into a corner near a tower of cupcakes. In the basement, a very white, bipartisan Soul Train was getting down to hip-hop. David Gregory, the “Meet the Press” host, and Newsweek’s Jon Meacham gave speeches about Fischer.

Jack Quinn is one of the top Democratic lobbyists in Washington. His firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates work for a wide variety of clients from AT&T to The Republic of Macedonia to Visa. On their website the top two areas under “Results” are Healthcare and Energy & the Environment.
Save perhaps Macedonia, something related to these clients or areas of expertise will undoubtedly arise on Meet The Press during any given week. This is not to say that Mr. Quinn has any influence whatsoever on Ms. Fischer or Meet The Press, but it doesn’t inspire absolute confidence either.

If you had to choose between a talk show episode on the issue of climate change where the executive producer was very good friends with one of the top climate change lobbyists and a show from which the executive producer who had no lobbyist friends – which would you prefer as a viewer? Or imagine the same scenario except the lobbyist works for the coal industry.

Having a comprehensive fact checking system can be an important fail-safe in these kinds of situations. There will always be areas of gray when considering the private lives of journalists or the “Suck-Up” parties they might attend, but having systems in place like the one we are suggesting can help alleviate the fears of viewers and maintain the highest possible confidence in the show. Regardless of guest, host, or producer, the backbone of consistent and guaranteed accountability would be there.

Contact Ms. Fischer right now, let her know your concerns, and respectfully ask her to establish the fail-safe of post-broadcast fact checking for Meet The Press. It just makes sense.

h/t: Jay Rosen

NBC Looks But Doesn’t Linger

Via Google Analytics, some attention today from NBC but apparently not too in-depth:

Hope they notice that:

This campaign is not about attacking Meet the Press or its staff, but rather about holding the program/brand to a higher standard – one that at present it is not itself meeting. Furthermore, we think “Meet The Facts” is a pretty catchy name. If NBC News and the staff of Meet The Press agree to permanently institute a public fact checking system for everything guests say on the air, we think they should absolutely name that feature “Meet the Facts” and we will gladly transfer over the domain name, Twitter username, and Facebook page username for their use, and at no cost.

We look forward to a time when If It’s Sunday It’s Meet The Press – but politicians beware, come Monday It’s Meet The Facts.

From Media Bistro on MTF

Via Media Bistro’s Webnewser Blog:

Well now comes “Meet the Facts.” Launched this morning, Meet the Facts is a website that describes itself as, “a non-partisan grassroots effort to encourage the NBC television program ‘Meet The Press’ to incorporate a formal fact checking procedure for all statements made on air by its guests. That analysis would then be released to the public, preferably within several days of the broadcast.”

Group Launches “Meet the Facts” to Pressure NBC Show to Bring on Fact-Checkers
(Chris Ariens @ Media Bistro)

Piece on Meet The Facts at Campus Progress

Includes some feedback from Jay Rosen:

It’s too soon to tell whether or not Meet the Facts will have a decisive impact, but the tool exemplifies a more interactive media environment, one in which consumers can easily protest the decisions made by newsmakers and a journalism professor can rattle the confidence placed in a program in its 62nd year of broadcasting.

“If the movement shows strength,” Rosen warned “the press will have to cover it, and Gregory and his colleagues at NBC will see that.”

New Website Lobbies ‘Meet the Press’ to Fact Check (Sara Haile-Mariam @ Campus Progress)

Nota Bene: Campus Progress is a part of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think thank – we appreciate all the attention we can get but just a reminder to readers that Meet The Facts is a non-partisan campaign.