It took three months, but NBC’s “Meet the Press” David Gregory has emerged – carefully – to say he doesn’t care about his haters and prefers not to engage them on Twitter. He does do a “Tweet the Press” interview, a far safer, seemingly controlled medium for him. This afternoon, for example, he’s “Tweeting the Press” with NYT columnist Nick Bilton, author of Hatching Twitter, an intimate portrait of the people who created Twitter and the bitter infighting that occurred as the company came into being.
“I just made a decision,” he told HuffPost‘s Michael Calderone in a phone interview Wednesday night. “There are haters out there. I’m not going to engage those people, because they’re not looking to have a dialogue with me over Twitter.” Calderone also spoke to NBC News Senior V.P. Alex Wallace, who assured that David is “our guy” and they’re “really happy” with him and that there’s “no internal hubbub.”
Except it depends who you talk to, because there is hubbub.
Sources inside NBC say that Gregory is in serious trouble. And while management is busy ramping up his duties to make the whole MTP cluster into an seven-day operation, saying he’s “our guy” is not quite the same as saying they want him indefinitely hosting the show that Gregory took over when Tim Russert died suddenly in 2008.
Does anything sound as exhausting as making MTP a seven day ordeal?
Like a bad son in desperate need for improvement, the story compares Gregory to CNN’s Jake Tapper and NBC’s Chuck Todd, who freely and comfortably engage on Twitter. Gregory has 1.65 million followers compared to Todd’s 416k and Tapper’s 326k. But their Twitter behaviors differ drastically. While Tapper has tweeted 73,000 times, Gregory’s number rests on the meager 5,978. Todd’s number falls in the middle of his TV colleagues. He has tweeted some 35,000 times. Wallace dismissed the notion that Gregory needs to have a heavier presence on that medium.
“I think it’s about knowing the value of Twitter, knowing the value of a conversation on there,” Wallace said. “But you also need to be who you are. If I said to David, ‘And you’ve got to be in political conversations all day on Twitter.’ Okay, he could, but that’s not how he chooses to engage in the conversation.”
Calderone explains the trials he went through to even speak to Gregory.
“The Huffington Post first approached NBC News in January with requests to interview Gregory about the future of Meet the Press, and again discussed interest in February about having a conversation with the host,” he wrote in his piece. “An off-the-record meeting with Gregory was scheduled for last week and then postponed. Wallace on Tuesday made herself available to discuss the direction of the show. It was only after mutual contacts relayed this reporter’s frustration in trying to arrange an interview that Gregory called Wednesday night.”
Seriously, off the record? Good thing his handlers ultimately reversed that call.