Meet the Press


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

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About

Meet The Press, America's longest-running television series premiered on NBC-TV 6 November 1947. This exceptionally successful program was the first to bring Washington politics into American living-rooms.

Lawrence E. Spivak debuted the program in 1945 as a radio program to promote his magazine American Mercury. After Meet the Press moved to television, Spivak continued to serve as producer, regular panelist, and later, as moderator. He retired from the series in November 1975.

Originally, Meet the Press aired in a 30-minute, live press conference format. In this format, a political newsmaker essentially was interviewed by a panel of newspaper journalists. Currently, Meet the Press is presented as an one hour interview program. According to Kathleen Hall Jamieson, interview programs are far more successful than press conferences or debates because neither the follow-up by the reporter, nor the length of the candidates answers, is artificially constrained. Meet the Press' contemporary format consists of three interview segments with guests of national and international importance, followed by a roundtable discussion. The host, Tim Russert, is joined by two other journalists during the initial questioning periods and by three other journalists during the roundtable discussion.

Russert joined Meet the Press as moderator 8 December 1991. He came to the program with a thorough understanding of Capitol Hill politics, having previously served as Counselor to New York Governor Mario Cuomo and as Special Counsel and Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He also is well aware of how journalists cover politics. He has served as senior vice president and Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief for NBC since December 1988.

According to a former NBC producer, "Tim has an enormous amount of power right now to make and influence [government] policy on Meet the Press." On Meet the Press, questions are asked of political personalities in hopes of moving the political process forward or, at least, moving it along. Indeed, as Jamieson points out, key political confrontations have occurred on this forum:

20 September 1964: The only serious confrontation between the press and a member of the Democratic ticket over Johnson's 1964 "Daisy Girl" ad.

20 January 1980: David Broder asked President Carter, "[W]e still have 5.8% unemployment; inflation has risen from 4.8% to 13%. We still don't have a viable energy policy. Russian troops are in Cuba and Afghanistan. The dollar is falling; gold is rising, and the hostages after 78 days are still in Tehran. Just what have you done sir, to deserve renomination?"

14 January 1984: Vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro is asked and complains about being asked if she "could push the nuclear button."

3 May 1992: Independent presidential contender H. Ross Perot disclaimed his assertion that the government could "easily" save $100 billion by cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits for "folks just like" him.

Although Meet the Press produces high levels of candidate accountability, traditionally it has attracted small audience shares. When the show premiered, it aired on Wednesday nights after 10:00 P.M. Later, it was moved to Monday, then to Saturday. In the mid-1960s, Meet the Press found its niche on Sunday afternoons. Today, it airs via network feed on Sundays from 9:30 to 10:30 A.M.

The program originates from Washington D.C. Yet, the show travels when world events necessitate major news. Cites have included: the 1988 and 1992 Republican and Democratic conventions, the 1993 Clinton-Yeltsin Summit in Vancouver, the 1990 Helsinki Summit, the 1989 United States-Soviet Summit on the island of Malta, and the 1989 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations in Paris.

Whether in Washington D.C., or on location at an event of political importance, the discussions aired on Meet the Press often generate headlines in the mainstream media. Today, Meet the Press continues to engage viewers in the political process.

-Laurie Melton Mckinnon

 

FURTHER READING

 

Brown, L., editor. Les Brown's Encyclopedia of Television. New York: Zoetrope, 1982.

 

________., editor. The New York Times Encyclopedia of Television. New York: Times Books, 1977.

 

Flander, J. "NBC's Tim Russert: The Insider." Columbia Journalism Review (New York), 1992.

 

Jamieson, K. H. Dirty Politics: Deception, Distraction, and Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

 

Pokorny, Heidi. Meet the Press. (research report). New York: NBC News Information, 1994.

 

_______________. Timothy J. Russert: Moderator, Meet The Press; Senior Vice President And Washington Bureau Chief, NBC News. (research report). New York: NBC News Information, 1994.

 

Terrace, V ., editor. The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs 1947-1976. New York: Barnes, 1976.

Highlights
Betty Cole Dukert on setting ground rules for the reporters on Meet the Press
06:51
Carol Burnett on appearing on The Jack Paar Tonight Show singing "I Made a Fool of Myself over John Foster Dulles", and Dulles' response to the song on Meet the Press
02:50
Max Schindler on his duties as director of Meet the Press
02:08
Who talked about this show

Carol Burnett

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Carol Burnett on appearing on The Jack Paar Tonight Show singing "I Made a Fool of Myself over John Foster Dulles", and Dulles' response to the song on Meet the Press
02:50

Sam Donaldson

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Sam Donaldson on Meet the Press being competition for This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts
01:38

Betty Cole Dukert

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Betty Cole Dukert on setting ground rules for the reporters on Meet the Press
06:51
Betty Cole Dukert on how she came to join Meet the Press as a producer
09:10
Betty Cole Dukert on working for Meet the Press moderator Lawrence E. Spivak
08:34
Betty Cole Dukert on how Meet the Press dealt with McCarthyism and partisan politics
03:46
Betty Cole Dukert on the early format of Meet the Press
01:44
Betty Cole Dukert on the scripted introductions on Meet the Press
03:14
Betty Cole Dukert on hard to anticipate questions from female journalists and balancing the panel of reporters on Meet the Press
03:01
Betty Cole Dukert on preparing a reporter to appear on Meet the Press
03:22
Betty Cole Dukert on inviting reporters to appear on Meet the Press
05:19
Betty Cole Dukert on reporters and guests who were unsuccessful on air on Meet the Press
06:43
Betty Cole Dukert on how guests were booked on Meet the Press
02:33
Betty Cole Dukert on utilizing early satellite link-ups for Meet the Press
08:21
Betty Cole Dukert on Meet the Press in Los Angeles for the 1960 Democratic Primary
11:28
Betty Cole Dukert on Meet the Press' time slot change
07:11
Betty Cole Dukert on the changing network presidents and Meet the Press
06:32
Betty Cole Dukert on Fidel Castro appearing on Meet the Press
02:44
Betty Cole Dukert on difficulties with weather on Meet the Press
05:55
Betty Cole Dukert on Anastas Mikoyan appearing on Meet the Press
05:30
Betty Cole Dukert on Meet the Press' coverage of The Cold War
07:21
Betty Cole Dukert on Edward R. Murrow's guest appearance on Meet the Press
01:59
Betty Cole Dukert on John F. Kennedy's appearances on Meet the Press
08:44
Betty Cole Dukert on the assassination of John F. Kennedy
03:04
Betty Cole Dukert on various Presidents on Meet the Press
10:43
Betty Cole Dukert on Martin Luther King, Jr. on Meet the Press
03:31
Betty Cole Dukert on Eleanor Roosevelt appearing on Meet the Press
03:30
Betty Cole Dukert on dealing with world famous Meet the Press guests
02:41
Betty Cole Dukert on Golda Meir and Anwar Sadat appearing on Meet the Press and doing Meet the Press from Israel 
10:22
Betty Cole Dukert on historically relevant Meet the Press interviews
03:29
Betty Cole Dukert on Yasser Arafat appearing on Meet the Press
07:17
Betty Cole Dukert on covering the Vietnam War on Meet the Press
11:34
Betty Cole Dukert on being a female producer and the male to female ratio of guests on Meet the Press
05:16
Betty Cole Dukert on Bob Dole appearing on Meet the Press
04:12
Betty Cole Dukert on some of her least favorite Meet the Press guests
03:22
Betty Cole Dukert on Tim Russert taking over Meet the Press
03:14
Betty Cole Dukert on Tim Russert's contributions to Meet the Press
06:09
Betty Cole Dukert on the various journalists on the panel of Meet the Press
06:49
Betty Cole Dukert on retiring from Meet the Press
01:38
Betty Cole Dukert on the then-future of Meet the Press and the Meet the Press archives
03:41
Betty Cole Dukert on the legacy of Meet the Press
02:23
Betty Cole Dukert on her life since retirement
02:25
Betty Cole Dukert on advice to aspiring news producers
01:32
Betty Cole Dukert on the then-state of politics and her hopes for the future
02:47

Betsy Fischer

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Betsy Fischer on working with host Tim Russert on Meet the Press
01:52
Betsy Fischer on what makes a good guest on Meet the Press
00:47
Betsy Fischer on dream guests for Meet the Press
00:26
Betsy Fischer on her internships for Meet the Press and deferring law school
01:28
Betsy Fischer on becoming a researcher for Meet the Press; on the role of the researcher
02:39
Betsy Fischer on her colleagues at Meet the Press
01:25
Betsy Fischer on becoming Producer and then Executive Producer of Meet the Press
02:14
Betsy Fischer on booking guests and journalists for Meet the Press
01:25
Betsy Fischer on briefing guests and requests by guests on Meet the Press
01:53
Betsy Fischer on the graphics on Meet the Press
00:58
Betsy Fischer on the roundtable on Meet the Press
01:10
Betsy Fischer on tracking the ratings and audience response for Meet the Press
01:30
Betsy Fischer on major news events covered on Meet the Press
01:57
Betsy Fischer on the future of Meet the Press
00:31
Betsy Fischer on her future on Meet the Press
00:30
Betsy Fischer gives a tour of NBC's Meet the Press exhibit
06:53
Betsy Fischer gives a tour of the NBC exhibit on Meet the Press, contd.
08:21

Julian Goodman

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Julian Goodman on watching Meet the Press when it debuted
02:46

Gwen Ifill

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Gwen Ifill on Tim Russert talking her into going into television full time
02:58
Gwen Ifill on topics she covered on NBC News and Meet the Press
01:36

Lucy Jarvis

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Lucy Jarvis on Martha Rountree being aced out of Meet the Press
04:51
Lucy Jarvis on creating Capitol Close-Up with Martha Rountree
06:03

Bill Monroe

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Bill Monroe on being the moderator for Meet the Press
02:41
Bill Monroe on asking tough questions on Meet the Press
02:17
Bill Monroe on the preparation he would do each week to moderate Meet the Press
02:34
Bill Monroe on the booking of guests for Meet the Press
01:25
Bill Monroe on selecting the journalists for the panel on Meet the Press
03:21
Bill Monroe on what made for a good panelist on Meet the Press, and on the rules they were told to follow
03:16
Bill Monroe on his duties as moderator of Meet the Press, and on working with the crew
09:16
Bill Monroe on dealing with network brass as the executive producer of Meet the Press
02:33
Bill Monroe on changes he brought to Meet the Press when he took over as moderator and executive producer
04:43
Bill Monroe on memorable Meet the Press guests during his stint, including Indira Gandhi
03:19
Bill Monroe on Yasar Arafat's appearance on Meet the Press
02:15
Bill Monroe on Carl Sagan's appearance on Meet the Press, and various other memorable guests
02:57
Bill Monroe on interviewing guests via satellite on Meet the Press
05:49
Bill Monroe on difficult interviews he's conducted on Meet the Press, and his interviewing technique
03:57
Bill Monroe on frequent Meet the Press guest Bob Dole
02:17
Bill Monroe on being replaced as moderator of Meet the Press
01:40
Bill Monroe on the legacy of Meet the Press
01:16
Bill Monroe on Meet the Press' coverage of Iran circa 1979, during the Iran Hostage Crisis
08:44

Roger Mudd

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Roger Mudd on moderating NBC's Meet the Press
01:56

Tim Russert

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Tim Russert on moderating Meet the Press, his approach to interviews, and his broadcast philosophy
15:50
Tim Russert on moderating Meet the Press, covering  the 2000 Presidential Election, 9/11, dream guests, and working with colleagues over the years
08:38

Max Schindler

View Interview
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago
01:59
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
02:03
Max Schindler on directing coverage of the Vietnam War for NBC News
07:21
Max Schindler on how the American press was looked upon overseas
04:29
Max Schindler on his duties as director of Meet the Press
02:08
Max Schindler on working with Lawrence E. Spivak, moderator of Meet the Press
02:08
Max Schindler on the original format of Meet the Press
02:48
Max Schindler on the preparation he did to direct Meet the Press
01:49
Max Schindler on some favorite Meet the Press guests
03:42
Max Schindler on directing Meet the Press moderator Bill Monroe
01:27
Max Schindler on guests of Meet the Press
03:17
Max Schindler on Meet the Press and the Pentagon Papers
01:04

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