A more frequent publishing of Rich Galen's take on politics, culture and general modern annoyances. This is in addition to MULLINGS which is published Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays at

Sunday, November 4, 2007

60 Years of Meet the Press

Subscription Renewal Month

November is MULLINGS Subscription Renewal Month. Please take a moment and go to the Subscription Renewal Page while I decide what I'm going to write about. You won't miss a thing, but you will help keep MULLINGS strong and independent.


From Manchester, New Hampshire

[NOTE: Most of you know this, but it bears repeating that I am a paid consultant to the campaign of Fred Thompson.]

Dear Mr. Mullings:

Is the entire column today going to be a series of prefaces, publisher's notes, prologues, forewords, preambles and introductions? Or is there going to be some actual copy which we can read with our morning coffee?


The "Make Mine Decaf" Club of Alexandria, VA

I wanted to give you plenty of time to hit the Subscription Renewal Page. But here it comes now.

  • Hot on the heels of his moderating the Democratic debate, last week, Tim Russert sat in his familiar chair yesterday to host "Meet the Press."

  • "Meet," as those of us who pretend to be Washington insiders, like to call it, is broadcast live at 9 AM in many markets, and taped at that same time for rebroadcast elsewhere - Washington being an example where it is shown at 10:30 on Sunday mornings.

  • I only raise that because yesterday Russert opened his show at 8 AM instead of 9 AM due to the New York City Marathon which Channel 4 in New York wanted to carry live.

  • Russert, whom a Hillary supporter suggested "should be shot" (obviously a one-person 2nd Amendment - Hillary Clinton Subgroup) on a conference call following the debate, happens to be a decent guy who came from a working-class background in Buffalo, New York.

  • Thompson was the guest on Meet yesterday - the first of the "top tier" GOP candidates to march into the lion's den.

  • Because I am trying to win the "Staffer of the Month" award on the Thompson campaign, I was at the studio at about seven-thirty, having first stopped at Starbucks to pick up my regular no-fat, no-whip, Grande Mocha with one Splenda.

  • Unlike the regular news programs on which I am invited, the Sunday shows have actual food available for their guests. In the Green Room at the NBC studios in Washington yesterday, there were platters of bagels, smoked salmon (known as lox to those who were standing on the curb to watch the New York City Marathon in person), and fruit plus assorted pastries, juices and hot beverage selections.

  • At about 7:40 Tom Brokaw came into the Green Room. He has a new book about to be published titled, "Boom!" about the 60's generation. If he follows the pattern of his fabulously popular "Greatest Generation" series there will be "Letters to Boom!," "Boom!'s Favorite Recipes," "Children of Boom!" and so on.

  • Thompson came in about five minutes later and they chatted about this 'n that for a few minutes in between sessions in the make-up chair.

  • At about five minutes to eight we were walked to the Meet the Press set and instructed to turn off all cell phones and pagers which I did. But I didn't turn off my camera so I could take a photo of Thompson and Russert on the set just before the show began which you can see on the Secret Decoder Ring Page.

  • Thompson, unlike most of the Meet guests had nearly the entire show to himself - other than the Brokaw segment and a short piece on Meet the Press in years gone by. The show first went on the air on November 6, 1947 and so is celebrating its 60th anniversary which Russert said "makes it the longest running show in the history of television."

  • Another fact about Meet which I didn't know is this: Russert is the ninth permanent host and, as he has held that post for the past 14 years, he is the longest-serving person in that role.

  • I think this is a true story: Russert told me once that when he had been tapped to take over the show, he went to its previous host (and long-time producer) Lawrence Spivak and asked how he should do it.

  • If I have the story correct, Spivak said to Russert: You're trained as a lawyer not as a journalist. Use your skills. Listen to what your guest says and - don't argue with him - but take the opposite view and make him defend it.

  • For the past 14 years, that is what Tim Russert has done.

  • And that's what he did yesterday with Fred Thompson. It was a civilized hour of television at an uncivilized hour on a Sunday morning exactly one year before election day, November 4, 2008.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the MSNBC Meet the Press History page, and the transcript of yesterday's program; plus a Mullfoto of Tim and Fred on the set, a link to the Subscription Renewal Page and a Catchy Caption of the Day.


    Anonymous said...

    Is YOUR writer's muse on strike, too? I think we read this earlier last month!

    November 5, 2007 7:54 AM  
    Rich Galen said...

    No you didn't. Thompson was only on this past Sunday.

    November 6, 2007 2:20 PM  
    Anonymous said...

    I and others who are interested in possibly supporting FRED in Florida have been interested in his response to Russert's questions but over all have been put off by the apparent lack of "fire in his belly" to be POTUS. Are you going to advise that he show a little more fire in the upcoming weeks before the January voting?

    November 10, 2007 11:36 AM  

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