The Plank

All Hail King David

In case you haven't heard, NBC is in advanced negotiations with David Gregory to take the reins at Meet the Press, apparently beating out folks like Chuck Todd, Gwen Ifill, and Andrea Mitchell. If you want to know more about Gregory, be sure to check out Zachary Roth's excellent 2007 profile of "King David":

His breaking point came in the summer of 2005, after it became clear that the White House had deceived the press about Karl Rove's role in the unmasking of Valerie Plame. At a July press briefing, he asked McClellan, "Did Karl Rove commit a crime?" The press secretary's evasive response spurred a spectacular Gregory tizzy: "You're not saying anything," he told McClellan. "[D]on't you owe the American public a fuller explanation?" Watching Gregory proclaim himself the vox populi--and in such a deep voice--it's hard not to think of Ron Burgundy. But the effect of the incident was to fatally undermine McClellan's credibility and embolden the press corps. "When David began to be more openly aggressive, it broke the pattern that existed," says Judy Keen of USA Today. "And that always sort of makes people wonder about their own performance."

Gregory has spent the past two years staging similarly theatrical showdowns with the administration--many of them triggered by the White House inadvertently bruising his ego. After Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his hunting partner on a Texas ranch last year, his office released the news to a local newspaper rather than to the national media. Gregory led the pushback, which culminated with him calling McClellan a "jerk." At a press conference last September, Gregory raised the concern that the administration's dismissive approach to the Geneva Conventions could make it easier for Iran or North Korea to "rough up" American prisoners. When Bush, after a typically circuitous nonanswer, tried to move on, Gregory interrupted: "But, sir, this is an important point."

Read the whole thing here and see why "why First Amendment supporters everywhere should raise a perfectly mixed Cape Cod to David Gregory."

--Amanda Silverman

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