📺 Face the Nation 2/19/17: Priebus, Graham, Nunes

Face the Nation 2/19/17: Priebus, Graham, Nunes by John Dickerson from cbsnews.com
After a contentious week for the White House, "Face the Nation" breaks down the problems the Trump administration has faced in its first month. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, and others join the show.

Reince Priebus is far preferable as a White House spokesperson to either Conway or Miller, but he still doesn’t have the ability to listen and push a particular agenda. While I get the message that they’ve done a lot of work, they still need to deal with the political realities of potential scandals in a more even-handed manner. All of the other Republican appearances on today’s show were far more sober about the realities of what seems to be going on. In my mind, the only reason not to admit there’s a problem is that you have no plan for dealing with it or moving forward. It’s the administration’s appearance that they don’t seem to have any kind of overall plan that concerns me most.

It seems like the administration had the 10 word answers down pat during the campaign, but that’s all they had and sadly they don’t seem to have the paragraphs or even the books worth of information and plans to follow up on any of their ideas.

Again, I’ll note that I think it’s a continuing mistake for the Sunday morning shows to allow administration spokespeople to appear remotely via camera than to appear in person.

The best part of the episode, to me, was the re-appearance of Michael Morell, who I don’t think I’ve seen on television since before the inauguration. His depth of knowledge and analysis, even now that he’s on the journalistic side of the game, is just always superb. I don’t think anyone else in the game has the ability to lay out facts in a simple and straightforward manner without a pointed agenda. I’ll note that he even had an aside in the conversation here underlining the agenda portion.

I really like the sober voices of Bob Woodward and Jeffrey Goldberg at the end. It would be nice to see more of them in shows like these.

On a technical production note, I will mention that Face the Nation seems to have a set problem with John at the head of the table and guests on one side. The camera angles (particularly with just two guests on the same side of the table) seem to diminish the roll of the guest seated furthest from John. This doesn’t seem to be a problem with 4 or more guests, but is highlighted when there are only two. Perhaps the production could take a page from Charlie Rose’s blocking around his table with multiple guests? There was also a small chyron issue that leaked into Graham’s segment which identified him incorrectly as Nunes.

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