The things which don’t get discussed: Yesterday morning, on Meet the Press, David Gregory went a million miles out of his way to reprise Miss Lewinsky, the intern who wasn’t an intern and who has been getting younger.
We were also struck by the way he introduced Michael Chertoff.
In the segment in question, Gregory was discussing Edward Snowden’s situation in Moscow. First, he spoke with one of Snowden’s legal advisers.
After that, he brought Chertoff on, in very casual fashion:
GREGORY (1/26/14): All right, Jesselyn Radack in Moscow for us today. Thank you very much for being here. I appreciate your time.“It's good to see you,” Gregory said. “Welcome back.”
Michael Chertoff, who’s here as well, former head of Homeland Security and also head of the criminal division under President Bush, which is particularly relevant here. So it's good to see you. Welcome back.
CHERTOFF: Good to be back.
GREGORY: So how would you handle this question? You heard the attorney general. What do you do to get Edward Snowden back?
“Good to be back,” said Chertoff.
Should Gregory have said something more? Not necessarily, no. But we were struck by that casual exchange, which gave the impression that the fellows were just two ships passing in the night.
That isn’t or wasn’t the case. Way back when, we were struck by this passage in a profile of Gregory by Howard Kurtz, then of the Washington Post:
KURTZ (3/14/06): In his personal life, Gregory also rubs shoulders with newsmakers. At a baby shower for his wife before their son Max, now 3, was born, Michael Chertoff, then an assistant attorney general, disappeared into another room with a Justice Department colleague while Gregory tried to figure out what was going on. It turned out they were finalizing a plea agreement with John Walker Lindh, the American captured while fighting for the Taliban. Wilkinson last month became general counsel of Fannie Mae, and the couple now have 8-month-old twins as well.Say what? Why was Chertoff, a heavy hitter and a one-time major partisan, at Gregory’s baby shower?
Kurtz didn’t explain, so we continued clicking. For a fairly full account of the background, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/26/07.
The nugget: Chertoff had very close professional ties to Gregory’s wife, who was a very heavy hitter and a very large earner of money. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, of course—unless there somehow is.
On TV, everyone plays it straight. Out in TV land, we the rubes are never told about the wealth of our TV stars—about their massive wealth, or about the major players who may drift in and out of the room at their baby showers.
That intro struck us as very casual. Who knows? The fellows may have come to the set straight from a baby shower!