January 11, 2009

What would someone have to say on "Meet the Press" to prompt a follow-up question from David Gregory?

The previous post is about something Bill Cosby said on today's "Meet the Press." That was part of a segment about what Obama can do to help "the black community" with its "deepest problems." Also in this segment was Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Take a look at this:
[DAVID] GREGORY: You go home to Watts and you go out there and you see young people--the fact that we have a black president, that means something.

REP. WATERS: Well, of course it means something. He's absolutely a role model. I was watching the young boys from the Ron Clark school who have a--they were in a choir, and they have created a song about Obama. And I was watching their faces. And certainly if there's one thing you can say about this historic election, it is that he has created hope. He has, you know, let young people know and young black boys know that you can, you can indeed succeed.

Let me tell you about this parenting issue. I have--or we just had a Black Caucus retreat, and parenting emerged as the number one concern in that retreat. Now, as a public policymaker and a legislator, I think about ways by which we can be helpful in bringing about the kind of public policy that will assist families. And so parenting is one thing that I'm going to spend a lot of time on, because I think that we should dedicate personnel in our public schools to work with parents and to get parents involved. The PTA does not do that. But the teachers cannot do that, the teachers cannot be concerned about what is going on in the classroom and follow the kids home. But if we have a component in the school that's dealing with going to the home, finding out what is happening with this child, what are the circumstances under which they are living, and be able to direct resources toward that family and give families support, I think we can use parenting as a way to begin to deal with these very serious problems where children drop out and children are already considered failures before they reach high school.
I'm really feeling hopeless about David Gregory as Tim Russert's replacement on MTP. No follow-up question? Does he even listen to what the guests are saying?

Waters just said that the teachers can't follow the kids home, but that there ought to be "a component in the school" that — what? — follows the kids home? What sort of "component"? I'm afraid of these components! What is Waters proposing, and does Gregory have any capacity for critical thinking? How is it acceptable for government authorities to intrude into the home this way?

Then, Bill Cosby is going on about service:
... these Jesuits, I — they have an answer, and they make their boys go out into the community and give service... One of the things I've heard... is that when a person gives, when a person does a service, that there's something that happens to them emotionally. I've heard people in prison working with prisoners talk about prisoners breaking down and crying because they taught another prisoner, they mentored another prisoner to learn how to read. And that the, the mentoring person started to cry. You can't--as a policeman, as a policeman said to me -- make a man cry by punching him in the face. They don't cry. But here this man is, and it's something emotional about us giving to each other, teaching each other. And that's what this family's talking about.
Again, no follow-up from Gregory. Is Cosby suggesting that the government — like the Jesuits — should make their boys go out into the community and give service? A public-service draft? Could Gregory give some critical push-back?

Or was Gregory patronizing black people? Not only was he sparing his black guests any challenging questioning, he also abysmally failed to see the libertarian interests of black people as those guests went on about following black kids home from school to check on whether their parents are decent and forcing young black men into service. If those proposals had been made in a way that seemed to extend beyond the "black community" with its "deepest problems," would the light bulb in Gregory's brain turn on? What exactly are you talking about doing? How would you respond to those who would argue that this is an unacceptable — perhaps even an unconstitutional — burden on individual liberty?


Synova said...


Not just for white folks anymore.

Roberto said...

He's been a Bush White House hack for years, limiting the scope of his questions and follow up. Why would you think things would change?

I'm Full of Soup said...


It's time to retire the "Meet The Press" format. I have suggested it be tweaked so the pols get grilled by folks like you. I want to call it Meet The Taxpayers. Or if you like Bill O'Reilley, it could be called Meet The Folks. What say you?

Btw, the Jesuits are great men. So Cosby speaks the truth as he usually does.

I'm Full of Soup said...

And did I tell everyone that Trooper says the Eagles will win the Super Bowl?

traditionalguy said...

Any chance that David Gregory is just dumb as a rock, even if he is our rock. Who says the network white boys can't get affirmative action quota's at NBC.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Perhaps a MTP guest could ask Gregory how much Mrs. Gregory was paid when she worked for Fannie Mae?

Trooper York said...

Yes AJ is right.

Did I tell you lately that the Eagles will win the Super Bowl?



reader_iam said...

I think we can use parenting as a way to begin to deal with ...


I'm Full of Soup said...

Thanks Trooper!

Make that a double JD for me.

former law student said...

These are motherhood and flag type issues, not really suitable for hardhitting follow up questions.

C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now

"I feel better when I help others" doesn't suggest government-mandated service. And there are scads of social workers to check on how kids are doing.

Anonymous said...


1) Maxine Waters comments can be paraphrased in
Democrat-speak as the old "We're from the
government and we're here to help" routine. No
doubt she sees many of here constituents lining
up for a new "job" opportunity, similar to "Home
Health Aid" or "Drug Counselor" as opposed to
actually marrying before parenting and staying
married for the duration.

2) When my parents turned me over to the Jesuits
to help develop my intellect and character, public
service wasn't a requirement or I slept through it.
They did teach me one of their founding
principles which went, "God first, others second,
self last."

Automatic_Wing said...

Funny how the joys of mandatory volunteerism are always promoted by those who would be exempt from its requirements.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Was Gregory patronizing black people?"

Of course he was - what did you expect? That he'd risk being called a "racist" by Maxine Waters? Give me a break.

You guys have lowered the bridge so low, on what's-what, that any damn thing can cross over. I listen to pundits saying "Obama isn't ideological" and I know it translates to he's a liar, but I also know that's the mind game you guys are playing now - which I don't understand, but there's no way the rest of you are going to cop to it - so what's there to do?

I really want to know, because you're a professor (all smart and shit) and this is a "smart crowd," so ask you again: how do these three people have jobs?

Patronizing? You've got to be kidding.

The only person nobody's patronizing is (foul-mouthed) me, and that's not self-pity but a fact. I'll be homeless before I catch a break - or be taken seriously. But, like George Bush, I'd rather take my lumps than sell my soul.

Your mileage may vary.

George M. Spencer said...

Professor, Professor, Professor--

New York Times Magazine
September 5, 2008

24/7 School Reform by Paul Tough

The Nurse-Family Partnership.
Early Head Start.
Bright Beginnigns.
Harlem Children's Zone.

Baby College.

"...A “conveyor belt” of social programs, beginning with Baby College, a nine-week parenting program that encourages parents to choose alternatives to corporal punishment and to read and talk more with their children. As students progress through an all-day prekindergarten and then through a charter school, they have continuous access to community supports like family counseling, after-school tutoring and a health clinic, all designed to mimic the often-invisible cocoon of support and nurturance that follows middle-class and upper-middle-class kids through their childhoods....

"If poverty is a disease that infects an entire community in the form of unemployment and violence, failing schools and broken homes, then we can’t just treat those symptoms in isolation, [says Obama]. "We have to heal that entire community. And we have to focus on what actually works.”

Obama has proposed that these replication projects, which he has labeled Promise Neighborhoods, be run as private/public partnerships, with the federal government providing half the funds and the rest being raised by local governments and private philanthropies and businesses. It would cost the federal government “a few billion dollars a year,” he acknowledged in his speech. “But we will find the money to do this, because we can’t afford not to.”

Until recent unfortunate economic events, NYC financial companies sponsored lacrosse teams in Harlem and squash courts in Harlem, under the above Harlem plan.

We will soon see signs like "This Neighborhood is Brought to You by McDonalds."

Corporate-sponsored neighborhoods.

Bissage said...

It’s true that David Gregory might not be the most analytic of interviewers but I know a guy who dropped 125 pounds using his Slim-Safe Bahamian Diet Drink Mix.

knox said...

Althouse, you're absolutely right but 1. all that likely sounds sensible and great to Gregory 2. that topic--involving blacks, specifically--is a minefield for a white interviewer.

I bet Joe the Plumber would have had follow-up questions!!

: )

(Someone has to use smiley faces now that revenant is gone.)

Darcy said...

I really miss Revenant.

And I'll just sigh along with reader.

reader_iam said...

Synova: I'm not at all trying to pick a fight. But how is that supposed to work, exactly? (Forget the white/black thing per se.)

Homeschooling can be accomplished in all economic classes, and it does not require advanced degrees. However, it does require a certain amount of available time, a certain amount of support and a great deal of motivation and resources to be resourceful with.

THIS. IS. NOT. TO. SAY. ANYTHING. ABOUT. THE. CAPABILITY. OF. PEOPLE OF COLOR OR OTHER MINORITIES. VERSUS. WHITES. (Repeat.Repeat.) (Not yelling at you, Synova, or anyone in particular, truly, but just want to make that clear as day generally.)

However, if we're talking economic realities, it's far tougher for anyone in a single-parent home to homeschool. It's harder in resource-limited communities or neighbhorhood, and in those situations, it's even harder without, or with limited, Internet connection, on several levels. It's ... harder.

In context, what's being discussed in what Althouse linked are poor neighborhoods--and beyond that, impoverished and troubled ones, beyond just the sheer economics of it (though, as I indicated, that absolutely plays into it).

Don't get me wrong. I'm a supporter of homeschooling, and even a booster, in some ways. (And I have been, for--surprisingly enough--going on two decades now, though I didn't choose to do it myself untill this year.) But it's no panacea, and what I fear one might find, if ever it were studied adequately and apolitically, that some of the most key factors required for its success are the most key factors required for ANY successful education mode.

Which means we've still got a hairball of knotty problems to address ... .

reader_iam said...

As to Althouse's question, in her post hed:

I don't know. Which is why I think it was a bad choice.

former law student said...

I bet Joe the Plumber would have had follow-up questions!!

He argued against his presence in Israel today: He commented that journalists should be "abolished" from covering wars. The folks at home should receive war news filtered in newsreel form, not hear the raw opinions of journalists on the spot.

ricpic said...

The Crack Emcee gets his rocks off crapping on whitey and no one dasn't say bubkas 'cause he's got that magic teflon coating.

Unknown said...

Ann asks:
"Or was Gregory patronizing black people?"

Yes-- but so was Maxine Waters. Was Maxine Waters proposing that Black kids be followed home to check on their parents' skills at parenting?

Why not propose that all kids whatever color who live in single parent households be followed home to check on how well the parent is parenting?

Unknown said...

Ann asks:
"Or was Gregory patronizing black people?"

Yes-- but so was Maxine Waters. Was Maxine Waters proposing that Black kids be followed home to check on their parents' skills at parenting?

Why not propose that all kids whatever color who live in single parent households be followed home to check on how well the parent is parenting?

Zachary Sire said...

The whole show today was awkward...he wasn't questioning anyone and the whole thing had a "coffee talk" vibe to it. Weird when you compare it to ABC, which had Obama on, and Fox News, which had the Bushes on. Gregory got stuck with a round table of random people.

I'm giving him a couple more weeks, but if he doesn't improve, maybe they should have "Joe" the "Plumber" take over so he can complain about how journalists should stop reporting the atrocities of war because they don't know the full story, and they shouldn't be reporting on the "day to day" goings on because it's a "downer."

paul a'barge said...

You wanted the quintessential mutt to question black people?

No friggin' way.

Trooper York said...

Hey let's combine the last two comments and have Truimph the Insult Dog host Meet the Press.

He is three times as smart as either David Gregory or Joe the Plumber.

He could be Truimph the Pooper.

john said...


It's good and theraputic to move your thoughts to the mundane when your world has disintegrated around you.

So keep that stiff upper lip, guy. Remember you have friends here, and there will be a brighter tomorrow. Or, maybe, next year.

Go Cardinals!

Trooper York said...

Thanks john but I have no trouble maintaining a stiff upper lip.

As for the rest, they have pills for that now.

William said...

I thought the purpose of the forum on MTP was to have the guests bask in the moment. A black man was elected President. Gregory wanted the guests to speak to the momentousness of the occasion and how it will fulfill/improve the lives of black people. A hard edged question would be like asking a sprinter about steroids while he's taking a victory lap....I have seen these moments come and go before. Coleman Young, Dinkins, even Mugabe were met with a burst of joy and awakening, and the feeling that things were irrevocably different and illimitably better. These moments, however brief, are joyous to behold and it would be wrong to do anything to burst the shining, translucent fragility of them.

Anonymous said...

REP. WATERS: ...And certainly if there's one thing you can say about this historic election, it is that he has created hope. He has, you know, let young people know and young black boys know that you can, you can indeed succeed.

David Gregory could have followed up here with questions about how in the world could Obama be a role model to black boys.

Unlike most black children Obama was born to a teenage White girl whose well off parents put their grandson in an expensive private school. Obama wasn't raised anywhere near black America.

Practically speaking Obama will contribute nothing to the education of black children other than his own and Waters'/Cosby's comments are meaningless.

The Jesuits and the prisoner who wants to teach the illiterate to read are self motivated volunteers who aren't waiting for I don't know what, a government funded program?

With the election of Obama blacks got the temporary thrill of beating Whitey and liberal Whitey got the self congratulatory thrill of distancing themselves from The Bad White People against whom they create a morally and socially superior identity for themselves.

Thrilling no doubt but all the social problems that existed throughout America 4 or more years ago will still be here 4 or more years from now.

Moses came and went, Jesus came and went, Mohammad came and went, MLK and Mother Teresa came and went.

And when Sidney Poitier, Tiger Woods and Barack Obama go to Magical Negro Heaven things back on Earth will be pretty much the same.

The Crack Emcee said...


I agree, but you're also not being hard enough on black people, meaning you're not demanding more of them because you're so concerned for (what you imagine to be) their situation. Truth be told, many of them are laughing at you, and can't wait to exploit that concern. That's not a cultural self-hatred thing but, like Bill Cosby, me being a member of the "black" tribe and airing it's dirty laundry to my larger tribe - my country - for our common good.


Sorry but I'm not taking the bait, and I hope no one else does either: I ain't dumping on "whitey" but talking about life in a pastel-flavored PC NewAge culture where (as MC 900 Ft. Jesus says:) "truth is out of style." I don't know how others stand it: I see some people mentioning it, from time to time, but (like Kawolski in Gran Torino) it's killing me. And I don't know how that's happening if I'm teflon.


This is a galling set-up. A black man was elected president - without a proper vetting. There's nothing to be proud of there. You can't say "race doesn't matter," or even that we've become post-racial, and then walk around on eggshells when a man with Jeremaih Wright, Michael Pflieger, Bill Ayers, and Louis Farrakhan behind him shows up, calling you "typical white people." It was your cowardice that put him in the White House - a form of Affirmative Action that was disgusting (not joyous) to behold - and still is (yea: let's all cheer Robert Mugabe, shall we?) It was a cult - so said Joe Klien, Evan Thomas, and various others, including the Obama campaign - and few were brave enough to speak up. Considering our history with cultism, this comes as no surprise, but we should've learned, by now, it never turns out well.

This is a shameful episode in American history. I've got nothing against a black president - dreamed of it for most of my life - but not like this. I'll never forget this. It's just not right.

The only difference between me and jdeeripper is he thinks blacks "beat whitey" and I saw a retarded America give in - but, either way, it's sickening.

The Crack Emcee said...

Really, what's to be proud of?

It's a joke is what it is.

reader_iam said...

Crack Emcee:

How dumb can you be? No impoverished white people in your extended family, maybe?


David said...

Gregory is bored with the whole subject. It's not politics, in the who-is-winning sense of the word. Plus I doubt he has given diddly squat thought to the whole issue. Does he have kids? Are they in school? Would he even consider sending a kid of his to a public school?

As to parenting skills. The first parenting skill is to have a father who gives a shit about the kids. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, where are you now?

reader_iam said...

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, where are you now?

He's dead, and that's that. His legacy, on the other hand, keeps attracting stakes (from all sides), over and over, direct hits into the heart (from all sides), over and over, and yet it's the undead.



Oh, well. So it goes.

La-ti-da. La-ti-da.

The Crack Emcee said...


You've completely lost me.

PatCA said...

I agree about Gregory. He acts like a reporter who is just trying to get as many questions out as possible. The guests utter their talking points, and it's on to the next one. Totally useless.

Joe said...

I've long been puzzled as to why anyone thinks reporters are really smart. I suspect it's for the same reason they think quiz show contestants are intelligent; they confuse recitation of facts for smarts.

My long held observation is that many, perhaps most, reporters are on the left side of the IQ bell curve. Were they smarter, they would have done something else. This would explain why reporters so often don't ask good follow up questions; not because they are biased, but because they're too dumb to see the obvious.

(I once saw a well known reporter who was often mocked for being dumb, verbally skewer another guest on Bill Maher with extremely perceptive follow up questions. I then understood why the industry still doesn't like her--she's more than another pretty face and it embarrassed them.)

reader_iam said...

You've completely lost me.

Oh, ha ha. That's what everyone says: It's become so popular! The thing is, now it's lost its edge. Hey, it's cool, and don't I know it: That's what comes of overuse.


Just curious: What specific thing "lost you"?

reader_iam said...

Not actually getting Moynihan's POV?

reader_iam said...

Not actually getting Moynihan?

reader_iam said...

Not being anywhere close to being as smart as Moynihan?

reader_iam said...

Not understanding Moynihan's epiphany--the one that made him great, despite all his flaws?

The Crack Emcee said...

Naw, I get it now.


knox said...

FLS, don't be so serious.

knox said...

...besides, JtP can be a total idiot and still be better than Gregory or 90% of the other camera-muggers out there.

Mark O said...

How about, "Oh, fuck?"

reader_iam said...

Speakin' of how about.

Joan said...

Wait. Revenant left? Did he storm off in a huff (I can't imagine that, it's so not him), or he just hasn't shown up in a while?

Damn. I'm offline for a week or two and come back and find out Rev's gone. That sucks.

As for David Gregory and MTP -- no. Can't stand any of the Sunday Morning so-called news shows and haven't watched them in years, and have no intention of ever doing so again.

George M. Spencer said...

To return to the issue of education policy, consider how Chavez uses the schools in Venezuela. "One measure that Mr. Chávez relies on heavily is control of the narrative. In government schools children are indoctrinated in Bolivarian thought," according to the Wall St. J.

Something similar to this has been happening in U.S. schools over the past 20+ years. Children are taught global warming theory from elementary school on. The Founding Fathers are absent from classroom walls and hallways; they've been replaced by scads of obscure black and hispanic personalities, all of whom are dominated by Martin Luther King and Black History Month. Contact play/sports is frowned upon. Walking to school is frowned upon. Acceptance of homosexuality is taught in one way or the other.

Control the narrative.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Wait. Revenant left? Did he storm off in a huff (I can't imagine that, it's so not him), or he just hasn't shown up in a while?

This is news to me too.

Bill Harshaw said...

FYI: The Post had an article on schools Sunday morning--the first paragraph read:
"There's a knock on the door, and a parent whose child is causing trouble at Truesdell Educational Center warily opens up. Six Truesdell employees, loaded with pizza for dinner and plans to change the child's direction, trundle into the apartment -- the boy's teacher, two social workers, a psychologist, a behavior specialist, and the principal, Brearn Wright."

I'd also remind people DC has had some bad cases of child abuse/death when there was insufficient outreach from the school

Ann Althouse said...

@Joan -- Revenant didn't stomp off, but in the last 2 months he's posted much less than usual, for whatever reason.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like we need a War on the War On Poverty.

Troubled Voter said...

I used to work for a nonprofit foundation which worked in a set of poor, urban neighborhoods. Watching this segment on MTP reminded me of the hundreds of meetings I sat through, where people tripped over one another to gush about the amazing work they were doing and offer extremely questionable and illogical solutions to problems that required very serious and tough thinking. Throughout the campaign, Obama's overuse of the "community organizer" moniker during the election made me fearful that he really believed this stuff, but given his performance since the election, I am hopeful that he will at times indulge this kind of talk at meetings but will hopefully throw it to the side in recognition of what it is: trite talk which doesn't get anybody anywhere.

JorgXMcKie said...

I suspect JtP's comment on 'journalists' was aimed at those who *consider* themselves as being 'journalists' rather than reporters of fact. 'Journalists' have to 'establish a narrative' and 'splain deeper meanings to all their mouth-breathing readers/viewers who are too stupid to understand plain facts.

I think they get taught this as 'Journalism School'. Odd, isn't it, that there aren't any 'Reporter Schools'.

JtP is trying to be a *reporter*. That sets him apart.

JorgXMcKie said...

So, Bill Harshaw, and this is a fairly serious question, has enough Outreach been perpetrated in DC so that the public schools actually work, or are they still a 12K/student rathole?

Jim O said...

The "Meet The Press" format died with Larry Spivak. This show is called MTP so that it can boast that it's been running forever, but Spivak wouldn't recognize it. When it really was MTP, politicians had to face a gauntlet of tough print journalists invited by Spivak who accepted no BS. It was a mark of courage for a politician just to be willing to appear. Now, the "press" doesn't appear until after the guest has left the building.

Anthony said...

does Gregory have any capacity for critical thinking?

Well, he is only a journalist after all. . .

Patm said...

Michael said...

He's been a Bush White House hack for years, limiting the scope of his questions and follow up. Why would you think things would change?

Oh. My. God. You're going to blame BUSH for Gregory being a bad interviewer?

Now I've heard it all. Look where your hate takes you. It owns you, man. That's just sad.

How about Gregory is just bad at his job?

In four years, will you be blaming bad reporters on Obama, because he tells them not to waste their questions, let him eat his waffle and "I know you guys like to have fun with these questions, let's move on."

Yeah, that's the ticket. Bad journalism will always be the fault of presidents.

"I don't know how to do my job because Obama wanted a whole wheat waffle...but it's still Bush's fault anyway, because wheat prices rose because of ethanol..."

SH said...

"What exactly are you talking about doing? How would you respond to those who would argue that this is an unacceptable — perhaps even an unconstitutional — burden on individual liberty?"

Or maybe lefty libs don't really care about those things. Those are libertarian / individualist concerns... They're for the greater good and all that.... go sit in on a sociology class if you need a refresher on what lefties think about these things…

Anyway, we’ve had eight + years of piling on about conservatives. Jesus camp type stuff. Howling over stem cells. Okay okay… Well, now its time to get reacquainted with the left and their peculiarities.

Anonymous said...

What the government should do is mandate that everything classified as journalism or news become Public Domain open source content after a specific period of time so that you could post the video and edit in pop-up text or add voice over. Challenge the media and they might step up and do their job. Challenge the politiicans and they might actually answer questions.

Der Hahn said...

What's the difference between Triumph the Insult Dog and David Gregory?

One only speaks the lines his handlers tell him too,

and the other is a puppet.

viking said...

Follow-up question? It looks as though he didn't even ask a first question.

Andrew_M_Garland said...

I think Jenn's comment at MichaelGraham.com says it well:

"I don't know about anyone else and where they live, but where I live we don't have money for bussing never mind an administrator to coordinate volunteer activities. I do have children in school and there is no community service requirement now. You have parents who are working two jobs to put food on the table and don't even have time to help with homework but now they will be required to transport their kids to additional commitments. This plan is unrealistic at best."

"I think community service and volunteerism is integral to our society, but it should not be a requirement and the government should not be telling us what to do with our kids. They are our children. GO ahead and enourage community service, provide information resources to locate opportunities, but don't require it. I read Obama's plan and it was clear that his efforts are going to cost a lot of money - I think it said 3.5 billion. Still unclear where he is going to get that money. We will have to wait and see."

More on Community Service

reader_iam said...