May
17
2011

David Gregory's Factcheck Fail on Show's Sponsor

Labor journalist Mike Elk (In These Times, 5/16/11) made an excellent point after watching NBC host David Gregory interview Newt Gingrich on Sunday's Meet the Press (5/15/11). Elk wrote:

Speaking yesterday on Meet the Press, Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said that "the Obama system of the National Labor Relations Board [NLRB] is basically breaking the law to try to punish Boeing and to threaten every right-to-work state."

While Meet the Press host David Gregory vigorously challenged Newt Gingrich on details of his personal life, he failed to challenge Gingrich on his false assertion that the NLRB was breaking the law by finding that Boeing punished workers for striking in Washington state by moving a planned new production line there to nonunion South Carolina. Despite the NLRB complaint against Boeing being one of the most high-profile NLRB cases in decades and entirely consistent with past legal precedent, Gregory failed to say anything.

His decision not to challenge Gingrich on the Boeing case is especially troubling since the main sponsor of Meet the Press is none other than Boeing. The top of Meet the Press' website proudly boasts that the show is "sponsored by Boeing." No other corporation is listed so prominently as a sponsor on the website. In addition, Boeing is the exclusive sponsor of Meet the Press' iPhone app.

This reminded me of Gregory's response last year when ABC's This Week started posting factchecks (courtesy of Politifact) of their guests on their website:

An "interesting idea," Gregory allows, but not one the NBC show will be emulating. "People can factcheck Meet the Press every week on their own terms."

I guess that's especially true when the subject is a sponsor.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.