NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male Host for MTP


Cross posted at the Francis L. Holland Blog.

After a long search that began when Meet the Press' ninth consecutive white male moderator, Tom Russert, died, now NBC has finally selected the white male moderator who will be the 11th consecutive white male moderator in the show's history.

Ironically, the show was created in 1947 by a woman, Martha Rountree, who then hosted the show until 1953.  Ever since 1953, however, when NBC has conducted a search for the best white man for the job, NBC has always succeeded in finding him.  (Of course I have no direct evidence that NBC has conducted searches exclusively for white men, and I am drawing this inference from the extraordinary coincidence that although white men are only 30% of American, they have nonetheless been more than 90% of Meet the Press moderators.

Moreover, Media Matters points out that:

. . . the top-rated Sunday show -- Meet the Press -- shows the least diversity of all. The NBC program is the most male and nearly the most white (Face the Nation beats it out by 1 percentage point), and it has the highest proportion of white males to all other guests. Media Matters

Media Matters points out that eight-five percent of guests on Meet the Press are men and eighty-nine percent are white.  Media MattersSo, it was about as likely that the new moderator would not be a white man as it was likely that Hawaii would be blanketed with six meters of snow at the height of the summer holidays.  On Meet the Press, white maleness is, statistically speaking, the gold standard, even though the show was created by a woman.  

A lot of reasons may be advanced why Meet the Press must be hosted by a white man.  White men have penises, and their penises are white.  That's a qualification that few women or Blacks can match.  Latin American men often have white penises, but they suffer from what at NBC may well be considered a fatal defect for this position: they're Latin American.

NBC has overcome these substantive and serious challenges by choosing the eleventh consecutive white man to host the show started by a woman back in 1947.  A woman was qualified to conceive and implement the show, but now that is has become a household name it may be deemed important that a white man take weekly credit for the stature of the show and that, for the most part, only white men appear on the show.

Perhaps Barack Obama's election and Hillary Clinton's nomination for secretary of state can open up Meet the Press to women and minorities. After all, it has been standard practice for presidents and secretaries of state to appear on Meet the Press and presumably this will continue even when the president is Black and the secretary of state if a woman. But maybe not. MTP may well argue that if they allowed President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to appear, they could be accused of doing so only to meet color and gender quotas.

Tags: chauvinism, nbc, sexism, white male supremacy (all tags)



Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male Host for

interesting diary.  i personally think that soledad o'brien would have been a fierce pick.  oh well.

by canadian gal 2008-12-07 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male Host for

I like Soledad but I can't bitch about Gregory.

by JimR 2008-12-07 01:03PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male Host for

Soledad? uggghhhhh. I've never seen even the remotest journalism or seriousness from her. That would be akin to the Katie Couric promotion, in my opinion. Of course if you like her ---- nevermind ;-)

by swissffun 2008-12-07 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male Host for


by NY Writer 2008-12-07 02:19PM | 0 recs
You Miss the point

This diary is stupid and counter productive. And I say that as a minority.

NBC isn't obligated to pick a person of color or a woman. In fact I don't think they should even use that factor as the primary basis for their selection. NBC should pick the best journalist/reporter/host or whatever to host the show.

Real diversity doesn't come from a token appointment to a high prolife position. Just like nominating Clarence Thomas doesn't make up for the GOP's Southern Strategy. Diversity comes from increasing the number of minorities and women in the media in general so that they can work themselves up through the ranks because of their own merit.

Diaries like this just re-entrenches the idea that diversity is a code word for quotas.

by world dictator 2008-12-07 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: You Miss the point

wow - now this is a good comment!

by swissffun 2008-12-07 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: You Miss the point

I don't believe people who claim to be from the groups affected, and then disclaim advocacy for the groups affected.  I always suspect that it's a disingenuous ploy to win credibility with which to undermine arguments.

Eleven white men in a row is too many.  It's a quota.  100% of MTP commentators must be white men.  I don't agree with rigid quotas and that's why I oppose the 100% white men quota at MTP, which is the most rigid gender and color-based quota of all.

by Manic Lawyer 2008-12-08 02:06AM | 0 recs
Except this isn't advocacy

and I say that as one of the affected groups. This is your catharsis, not meaningful action - unless you're agitating for a quota system. In  which case NO THANKS, I get enough shit about quotas as it is.

It's telling that you didn't even name alternatives. Gwen Ifill? Soledad O'Brien? Or just "not a white male"?

by Neef 2008-12-08 04:26AM | 0 recs
Re: You Miss the point

This post literally makes no sense whatsoever.

by world dictator 2008-12-08 06:38AM | 0 recs
Re: You Miss the point

Um... so who, in the current Media would have been a good fit for the job that wasn't a white male?

This is not, as you boldly suggest, NBC's searching for the "best white man for the job," rather it is a function of the fact that the majority of seasoned journalists in this country are, you guessed it, white males. The chair on MTP needs to be filled by somebody with journalistic integrity, inquisitiveness, EXPERIENCE, and the public's trust. Due to the combination of those requirements and the fact that telvension journalism is largely dominated by white men ACROSS THE BOARD, it was unlikely that they would find a minority to fill the chair.

It sucks, but it is reality. It has nothing to do with quotas. Until NBC, and other networks and news organizations hire more minority candidates for the "lower level" positions Meet the Press is going to be hosted by a white guy. I wish it were different, but it isn't; at least not this year.

Note I am not suggesting that only white men have the required attributes to hose MTP as I am sure I will get skewered for suggesting. I am saying that due to the way people have been hired in broadcast media for decades there are few, if any, minority candidates, who would have been a good fit for this job.

Note 2 I am a white male. I am not ashamed of it nor do I don't feel guilty about it.

Note 3 I have been trying, as I write this, to think of a minority candidate who could have filled this position. The closes name I can come up with is Barbara Walters, and she is not the sort of journalist you want in that chair.  

by JDF 2008-12-09 12:02PM | 0 recs

Just thought I'd throw this out there. I think the Gregory pick was horrible and I'm a huge fan of Rachel Maddow, though she wouldn't be a good fit for MTP.

by world dictator 2008-12-07 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Also

agree ---- Maddow for me brings too much of the showmanship, ala Olberman. Russert tainted the sobriety of MTP with his self-absorbtion towards the last couple of years. He tended to try the 'getcha' questions regardless of relevance, in a childish attempt I think to show how important or informed he was. Maddow just doesn't have the 'gravitas'  (I HATE THAT WORD). That said, she weighs a TON compared to the school-boy that got the gig though.

by swissffun 2008-12-07 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male

well of course - that's the demographic of the most qualified.


When I read a trial balloon, or wish, for Ifill - I was nearly giddy. She's fantastic to listen to and she always delivers a sober-nonpartisan and insightful appearance on MTP. WHY she was passed over escapes me. Black, a woman, and MORE-than qualified. You'd think that'd be an absolute no-brainer. But obviously the producers have some sort of 'vision' for their show. Sadly, it excludes a majority of the US demographic and doesn't serve the viewers or interviewees optimally.

by swissffun 2008-12-07 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male

They cast this from the NBC gallery. Ifill is not NBC, is she? I think PBS. I think Chuck Todd was the second choice.

With this line of thinking, do we think Hillary was chosen for SoS because she was a woman? NO. she was chosen b'cause she was the best one for the job

by NY Writer 2008-12-07 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male

sounds right - though for this level it'd be great for NBC to look outside the box and go for quality. RE: the hillary example, I think the real analogy would be picking a less-qualified guy, because he was a guy --- which is more often than not what really happens. of course she got the nod by being qualified. unfortunately, it seems that qualified isn't enough - a woman needs to be extra-qualified.

by swissffun 2008-12-09 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White

they can't have a girl, they don't invite girls onto the show much and if there was a girl, it wouldn't nearly always be an all male show. They can't have a person of color, cause most of the guests are white, and if there were a person of color as moderator it wouldn't be nearly always a white show.  See, that's how it works?    

by anna shane 2008-12-07 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White

give me a f***ing B

by NY Writer 2008-12-07 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White

MARTHA???? wow I never knew a woman started MTP! Thanks for the obscure time-line info. not being sarcastic BTW.

by swissffun 2008-12-07 02:00PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male Host for

Maybe they felt Gregory was the best one for the job? I can't think of an NBC woman journalist I'd prefer to see in that spot--only Rachel and she's too partisan so it's not realistic to consider her for this

by NY Writer 2008-12-07 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male Host for

How about Andrea Mitchell (whom I might add is a hell of alot better than David Gregory), that being said,  I was rooting for Chuck Todd since he has one of the best political minds on TV let alone NBC.  This choice was a total disgrace and NBC will regret it once their ratings take a permanent nose dive.

by Why Not 2008-12-07 08:25PM | 0 recs
Not Andrea imo

she's good at reporting set pieces, and great at analysis (one of the best). However, she sucks as a moderator, too much dead air, and a very hesitant style. Chuckie T is from the same mold, great analyst, but a poor moderator.

It's no accident that someone who already hosts a show got MTP. It was going to be David, Chris, Keith or Rachel, and Keith and Rachel are just too partisan.

by Neef 2008-12-08 04:31AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male Host

I wish the show would go back to a bunch of reporters asking the guest tough questions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI8Jpv_zZ 3g

Then, the host wouldn't matter so much anyway, and the questions would be much more hard hitting.

Watching Russert's grinning idiot act was just a mockery of what the show used to be anyway.

by Bush Bites 2008-12-07 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male

I've always thought of Gregory as a lightweight interviewer.  Guess this is his chance to change my opinion.

Who am I kidding?  I got sick of all the pre-packaged MTP bullshit two years ago.  The only way I'd start watching is if they put Leno, Letterman, or Louie Anderson in charge.  Maybe that one lady on Comedy Central who manages to insult everyone in the room.

by SuperCameron 2008-12-07 03:05PM | 0 recs
Sarah Silverman?

Oh, that would be splendid.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-08 04:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Ironic

what about gwen ifill?

by theninjagoddess 2008-12-07 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male Host for

Martha Rountree was a man? I'll be damned...

by Democrat in Chicago 2008-12-07 05:31PM | 0 recs
Check again

Eleven straight moderators were white males after Martha.  At one point there were two moderators on the show.

I know, math is hard.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-08 04:59AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male

Yes, I'm sure they did an extensive search and concluded that he was the best white man available.

by Manic Lawyer 2008-12-08 02:08AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks

After watching Gregory go after Bush and Scottie and the rest of the Bushies for years, and after watching election coverage over the past year and a half, where Gregory seemed to be one of only a few left at MSNBC that hadn't jumped the shark and thrown journalistic integrity out the window (Todd, Fineman were others), I'd say he is a solid pick.

by RichardFlatts 2008-12-08 04:36AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male Host for

Oh, look.  Nancy Kallitechnis has a posse.  When will you people get over this look-in-the-pants silliness?

by username 2008-12-08 05:09AM | 0 recs
Gregory's show is deadly dull

I hope he's more interesting on MtP than he is on his own show, because Race for the White House and now 1600 Pennsylvania Ave are just a bunch of insiders yelling at each other while Gregory spouts pre-packaged talking points.

Todd would've been a better choice, or even Schuster (though I imagine the Nancy K's of the world would flip out because of his "pimped out" comment in the primaries).

by Dracomicron 2008-12-08 05:11AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive White Male Host for
what is wrong with such choice?
Tim Russert was idiot, anybody will be better than him. What is your complain?
I don't watch NBC and MSNBC since 2007 anyway...
by engels 2008-12-08 10:57AM | 0 recs
What IS your complain?

by Dracomicron 2008-12-08 11:15AM | 0 recs
It's a good thing

that someone's keeping score. That's what the world needs: more score keepers.

by NJ Liberal 2008-12-08 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive

Chuck Todd would of been my pick or Andrea Mitchell.

by olawakandi 2008-12-09 07:23AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Picks 11th Consecutive

I think they should have rotating host like they did during the days of ABC Cokie Roberts and George stephanopolis and Sam Donaldson. I think it should be the same with Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd and David Gregory.

by olawakandi 2008-12-09 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Ironic

i wonder WHY we can't identify a prominent woman at NBC? Hmm, sort of like the old excuse of not having a woman Prez because there just aren't any qualified women. Well, just as this problem has been chipped away at in politics by opening the lower levels of government to give women a CHANCE to become prominent contenders, maybe this lack of obvious choices for NBC should be a wake up call that women should be given more of a chance at all levels in the NBC newsroom to gain prominence.

by swissffun 2008-12-09 10:55AM | 0 recs
I was hoping for Donna Brazile...

Just to watch the heads explode on our buds like SuzieG or Marjoiest....

by WashStateBlue 2008-12-09 01:28PM | 0 recs


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