"I can continue to ask the tough questions."
Tom Brokaw, Meet the Press Jun 29, 2008, while interviewing Arnold Schwarzenegger
I've been listening to NBC's Meet the Press via podcast for about two years. In conjunction with CBS's Face the Nation I feel like I can get a pretty good taste for what the coming political issues of the week will be. (This coming week: more of the same election coverage.)
Russert Did This:
I've never really been a loyal listener. I miss a week as often as I listen to a show, and I frequently listen on my iPod, while traveling somewhere, so my attention to the finer points may be a bit lacking.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed listen to Tim Russert on the program because I found the he would frequently demand answers to his questions – a value that many broadcast journalists don't seem to share. Politicians are infamous for not giving real answers to questions that hit too close to home. The fact that Russert didn't seem to drink the Kool-aid (too often) was an admirable quality in a broadcast journalist.
With Russert's recent death, the understanding seems to be the Tom Brokaw will take over moderating duties. This week was the first that Meet the Press was introduced without Tim Russert's name attached, and the first that Brokaw sat in Russert's chair.
Brokaw Did This:
As the presumptive successor to the program Brokaw picked an interesting format. Perhaps necessitated by his other reporting duties, the broadcast was shot at the Western Governor's Convention instead of the Meet the Press studio in D.C.
Admitedly, Brokaw is a new to the program, and undoubtedly there will be a settling-in period. Nonetheless, his style differed dramatically from Russert's.
His opening interview with the Democratic governor's of Wyoming and Colorado consisted mainly of softball questions and very few quotes were used (Russert was famous for doing this). His interview with the Republican governor of California had some hard questions, but Brokaw never really pressed when Arnold Schwarzenegger evaded answering.
Lastly, Brokaw's 'final word' was nothing more than a notice that we'll have to wait two weeks to see him again (due to the tennis championships). At least he ended with "If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press."
I know it was only week one, but I'm not looking forward to Meet the Press under Brokaw. He doesn't seem to have the knack for tough interviews that Russert was so known for.
View this week's Meet the Press