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"Meet the Press," the longest-running program ever on network television, premiered on NBC-TV on November 6, 1947, with James A. Farley, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and Franklin Roosevelt’s postmaster general, as its’ first guest. The show made its initial debut two years earlier – as a radio program with Martha Rountree and Lawrence Spivak as producers. For almost as long as there has been television, there has been "Meet the Press."
NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent, David Gregory, was named moderator of “Meet the Press” on December 7, 2008. He is only the tenth person ever to be a permanent host of the program. He assumed the role from veteran NBC newsman Tom Brokaw, who had served as interim moderator after the untimely death of longtime moderator Tim Russert on June 13, 2008.
President John F. Kennedy once called “Meet the Press” the “fifty-first state.” Since then, every man who has occupied the Oval Office has appeared on the program during his career, as has every vice president since Alben Barkley in 1952.
In addition to the commander-in-chief, “Meet the Press” features interviews with all the key players in each presidential administration. Every Secretary of State from John Foster Dulles to Hillary Clinton and every Secretary of Defense from Robert McNamara to Robert Gates has appeared on the program.
Foreign policy has always been a staple of “Meet the Press” interviews. Some of the world leaders interviewed on the program include Fidel Castro, Francois Mitterrand, Indira Gandhi, David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Ferdinand Marcos, Jean Monnet, Mikhail Gorbachev, Anwar el-Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin, King Hussein of Jordan, Hamid Karzai, Pervez Musharraf, King Abdullah of Jordan, Tony Blair and Ghazi al-Yawar.
“Meet the Press” has always been an equal opportunity news program, with women playing a significant role right from the start. The co-creator of “Meet the Press” and the show’s first moderator was noted journalist Martha Rountree. The first female guest was Elizabeth Bentley, a former Soviet spy, who was interviewed on September 12, 1948.
“Meet the Press” has since interviewed First Ladies Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan, Rosalynn
Nearly every important newsmaker in the U.S. – from politicians, religious leaders and astronauts to sports stars, authors and comedians – has appeared on “Meet the Press”. Some of these prominent figures include Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Joseph McCarthy, Billy Graham, Robert Frost, Jackie Robinson, Jimmy Hoffa, John Glenn, George Wallace, Michael Jordan, Jay Leno, Rick Warren, Bill Cosby, Lance Armstrong, Stephen Colbert, and Jon Krakauer.
Every Sunday morning for 62 years, millions of Americans tune in to get answers from U.S. and world leaders, and hear analysis, discussion and review of the week’s political events from noted journalists and experts.
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