One of my favorite TV shows in my teens was a PBS show hosted by Steve Allen called “Meeting of Minds”.  It featured historical figures played by actors who were often a mix of Allen’s wife Jayne Meadows and supporting cast members from “Hogan’s Heroes” and other TV shows from the 1960s and 1970s, The guests would be a pretty eclectic mix, with in one of the series’ best episodes featuring a lively encounter between Thomas Paine, Cleopatra, Theodore Roosevelt and St. Thomas Aquinas.  Heady but entertaining stuff.

Allen’s guests talked about big ideas, something that wasn’t yet entirely off the table in American television in the years before the blight of reality TV, but they all had one thing in common: in 1978, the characters presented were all dead.  It’s true that it was an actor named Joe Sirola who gave a fine and spirited performance as Thomas Paine, but talk show guest Thomas Paine wasn’t around in the late Seventies.

Fast forward to 2022, and “Meet the Press Daily”, that offshoot of the venerable and definitely “seen better days” “Meet the Press” is looking for guests.  I’ve never worked in television, but I can imagine that filling a daily gabfest involving politicians and pundits can sometimes be a challenge, but it looks like MTP Daily was really desperate for a booking for the June 10 edition: they decided to try to book former Alaska GOP congressman Don Young:  


Don Young served in Congress for decades. He wasn’t a household name; he deservedly wasn’t well liked around these parts but was a fairly big wheel in the House GOP.  Don Young also probably won’t be available to chinwag with Chuck Todd anytime soon… because Don Young is dead. No longer with us.  Pull down the curtain and strike up the choir celestial.  Yep, dead.

What makes this invite from the MTP booking crew even more wacky is that the Alaska at large House election this year involves former VP candidate, reality TV denizen and public trainwreck Sarah Palin as a (one hopes) longshot candidate to fill Young’s seat, so while it may not be a marquee race this year, it’s not low profile either.

I’ve said plenty of times that Meet the Press hasn’t been good since Bill Monroe hosted it (don’t get me started on how St. Tim of Russert was vastly overrated and barely better than David Gregory or Chuck Todd).  I know it’s a lot to ask, but can Chuck Todd at least try not to have his staff book dead people?  

It would be nice if Chuck Todd would aspire to be like Bill Monroe or Lawrence Spivak.  It’s not like he needs to be interviewing dead people like Steve Allen pretended to do so well.

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