Jon Stewart Would Have Been a Terrible Host of “Meet the Press”

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Gabriel Sherman says that Chuck Todd wasn’t NBC’s first choice to replace David Gregory as host of Meet the Press:

Before choosing Todd, NBC News president Deborah Turness held negotiations with Jon Stewart about hosting Meet the Press, according to three senior television sources with knowledge of the talks. One source explained that NBC was prepared to offer Stewart virtually “anything” to bring him over. “They were ready to back the Brinks truck up,” the source said. A spokesperson for NBC declined to comment. James Dixon, Stewart’s agent, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

….Though not a traditional journalist, Stewart can be a devastatingly effective interrogator, and his Meet the Press might have made a worthy successor to Tim Russert’s no-bullshit interviews.

Help me out here, folks. Who’s crazy: me or NBC (and Gabriel Sherman)? This whole thing sounds nuts to me because Jon Stewart is a terrible interviewer. He’s congenitally unprepared for any serious policy discussion and frequently creates awkward moments where he literally seems to have run out of anything to say even though he’s still got a couple of minutes left before the next ad break. When he’s shooting the breeze with other comedians, his interviews can be pretty funny. But when he’s talking to serious folks? It’s almost painful to watch.

Am I wrong here? Am I missing something? Is Stewart really “devastatingly effective” and I’m just too shallow to see it?

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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