If you've been wondering what David Gregory's been up to since getting unceremoniously shit-canned by NBC News as host of Meet the Press, look no further than Wednesday's Independent Community Bankers of America convention in Orlando. There, he gave his latest paid speech, presumably set up by his speakers' agency, which also handles the booking for Hillary Clinton. But there was a catch: Gregory insisted his speech be off the record.
Off the record? What could David Gregory possibly say to a room full of community bankers that would warrant such a cautious and possibly paranoid stipulation? As it turns out, nothing. Nothing at all.
Even though Gregory -- a journalist, by way -- said his speech was off the record, that didn't prevent reporter Robert Barba of American Banker from giving approximately negative five fucks about that request. Barba proceeded to boldly live-tweet some of Gregory's remarks. Here's a sampling:
This is what Gregory wanted off the record? These dispassionate, mundane, and generally uninteresting remarks? Yes, Barba gave us only a few snippets, but you'd have to imagine that any real bombshells dropped by the man George W. Bush called "Stretch" would've made it into the twitter feed of Barba or other attendees.
Rob Blackwell, the Washington Bureau chief of American Banker, backed his reporter and told Politico that Gregory's stipulation was "ridiculous," saying,
"It seems pretty clear that Gregory asked for his comments to be off the record (because the rest of the conference was on the record), but you can’t get up in front of thousands of attendees and just declare your remarks are off the record, particularly when you’re a journalist and you should know better."
To "you can't get up in front of thousands of attendees," Blackwell could've added, in the age of goddamn social media no less.
There is one tweet relaying what Gregory said that needs to be highlighted:
This perfectly encapsulates the media weltanschauung of guys like Gregory, who couldn't even repeat the canard about liberal bias without hedging. Even on the lecture circuit, free from the tyranny of striving for some faux objectivity, Gregory can't bring himself to deliver an opinion worth a damn even when he thinks he's off the record. Like so many other network news types, Gregory is terrified of being perceived as anything but a question-asking automaton whose aim it is to leave the audience feeling that the arguments of "both sides" on a given issue are more or less equally valid/invalid.
It just goes to show that you can fire the newsman from the Sunday talkshow, but you can't fire the Sunday talkshow from the newsman.
Image credit: Robert Barba