Sunday, December 17, 2006


NBC's very own Grinch on Meet The Press

After hearing that Meet the Press was having Newt Gingrich on as their "exclusive" guest this week, I couldn't wait to see the show before firing off another note to the redoubtable Mr. Russert and the show's producers. Following is the unedited (and unvarnished) email to the show:

Dear Mr. Russert, executive producer Betsy Fischer and producers Michelle Jaconi and Rebecca Samuels:

Are you really as out-of-touch as you seem or are you just jealous that you don't have your own Grinch and needed Gingrich to take up your air and scare the little kids that may be watching?

Is Mr. Gingrich, who resembles the famous Dr. Seuss character, the "Grinch" in ways that cannot be measured by appearance alone, really the best guest you could find this week?

While it may be the case that Mr. Gingrich suffers - like the Grinch - from having too small a heart (the size comparison usually reserved for other Republican bodily parts such as the brain or certain "unmentionables"), those of us on the progressive front have noted a certain lack of relevance in the former Speaker's message and some distance and departure from the reality-based community.

It is noticeable (and ironic) that Mr. Gingrich has not held public office since 1998, but still thinks he's a viable voice for conservative politics. The notion that he's entertaining a run for the presidency would be humorous if it were not the case that he's taking it so seriously. There's a reason he's been out of public office for 8 years - he can't get enough people vote for him to win even a local election.

The problem with Newt may be that his heart is not too small, but that his head is too big - inflated, as the case may be, with the tantalizing notion of possibly becoming the most powerful man in the world. Yes, he's scary all right, but we're not living in Whoville, or Kansas, for that matter.

Maybe all other suitable politicians were out of town, too busy preparing for the upcoming 110th Congress, or had made holiday plans with their families, like most normal people. If that's the case, Newt Gingrich could be considered a solid choice, since he's not much of a "real" family man, having already been married three times (I can't wait to hear him fulminate over values and morals).

Speaking of available guests, Condi Rice (single) was probably looking for something to do this weekend. Why not her? She's proven to be completely ineffective in every office to which she's been appointed. As National Security Advisor she watched and did nothing on 9/11/2001 and as Secretary of State she's overseen the unending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the horror of Darfur and the Israeli bombing of Lebanon just this year. In keeping with your mantra of irrelevance, she seems the perfect pre-holiday guest.

Maybe you and your bosses at NBC just want to continue down the path of becoming less and less relevant to your dwindling viewership. If that's the case, you're doing a bang up job. Mr. Gingrich provides just the kind of peripheral doddering that makes your show so singularly nauseating.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year!

Rick Gagliano
Publisher, Downtown Magazine
Thought Puh-leeze

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