The first segment was about the Illiinois Blagojevich problem, with Attorney General Madigan re-delivering pronouncements already made. Gregory had a Russert moment in observing the status of Madigan's father in the Illinois legislature AND Madigan's intentions for seeking the governorship, but then dropped the ball. The same thing with an earlier quote by the Lieutenant Governor giving support for Blagojevich, but Gregory dropped the ball again.
David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun was upbeat in writing:
The panel of five was wonderful, and it was a great mix of philosophies and style. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, were engaged in battle over the proposed auto industry bailout immediately. And you could not get a better look at the two underlying philosophies of government at play in the larger debate than that provided by their words.
Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, offered a brilliant and upbeat assessment as to how innovation can get us out of the catastrophe the Bush administration has led us into. And while former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina argued for a solution that helps small businesses first, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott offered the most concrete explanation I have yet seen on TV as to how consumers were dealing with the downturn in their real lives when they enter his stores.
An early interchange between Romney and Granholm over labor costs to build cars got out of control, and Gregory's response was anything but Russert-like. Curiously, the one panelist who seemed to be delivering useful information was Wal-Mart's Scott, who talked about "what people were buying" and who gave personal information about how the government assisted in obtaining Scott's own personal home mortgage in the 1970's. When asked whether he might take over a car company, Scott professed to be in the less complicated area of retailing, where one only was concerned about consumer preferences, perhaps an understated non sequitur.
The one panelist who talked about innovation, and invention, was Google's Schmidt, who revealed that he doesn't understand much about batteries, or about innovation, beyond platitudes. Schmidt was upbeat, but anything but brilliant in talking about innovation in the auto industry.
The panel discussion was interesting, but suggests Gregory's Meet the Press will be a long distance from Russert's. Zurawik noted Finally, some of my highest praise goes to the deft way in which Gregory and Fischer kept driving viewers to the network’s MSNBC site. and maybe future Meet the Press's can be studied merely by linking (and not viewing).
Joe Garofoli criticized the lack of diversity, writing
In one respect, the Sunday shows were more diverse a half century ago: "Meet the Press" was co-founded by Martha Rountree, who was also its first moderator, in 1947. She, Lesley Stahl, the 1983-91 "Face the Nation" moderator, and Cokie Roberts, the 1996-2002 "This Week" co-host, are the only women to lead a Sunday show.
but failing to note the major presence of May Craig as a panelist on Meet the Press in the 1950's or that the "moderator" of Meet the Press was not such a big deal in the format of four panelists. A lot of people in the 1950's watched "Meet the Press" because of May Craig. IPBiz has seen both Craig and Stahl, and Stahl is no Craig. [In passing, Wikipedia notes that May Craig is second in number of appearances on Meet the Press, behind David Broder.]
**UPDATE. From AP on Dec. 15-->
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced Monday that he's appointing a special committee to review the case and recommend whether Blagojevich should be impeached.
Madigan said his staff has been reviewing the legal possibilities for impeachment for about a year. He cautioned that doesn't mean the House will be able to reach a quick decision.