Did NBC’s Chuck Todd Graduate From College?
If you watch NBC’s Meet the Press, MSNBC’s MTP Daily, or any other hard-news show on the peacock network (or its offspring), you’ve come to recognize NBC political director Chuck Todd. He’s a ubiquitous presence and has been since taking the job in 2007.
In those days, you would see him lobbing questions at Presidents Bush and Obama from his perch in the White House press corps. But he’s never been more visible than he has been this past week.
That week began with Todd interviewing Trump for a highly criticized edition of Meet the Press that aired June 24. It continued June 26 when Todd joined fellow MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow as co-moderator for the first Democratic presidential primary debate.
After a lackluster performance at the debate, questions about Todd’s abilities — and naturally, how he got the jobs he holds — have been coming too fast to field. Here’s a look at his path to NBC News, starting with his education.
Todd attended George Washington but didn’t graduate.
Obviously, a college degree isn’t everything. You can find lists of intelligent, successful folks (Richard Branson, Michael Dell) who never graduated from a university. But a journalism degree definitely has its benefits, given the small class sizes and close contact with professors during senior year.
Chuck Todd almost got his degree at George Washington University, where he attended classes from 1990-94. However, he spent too much time working a National Journal internship to finish in four years. After his scholarship money ran out, Todd went to work full-time.
Speaking with Columbia Journalism Review in 2010, Todd said he needed just six more credits to graduate from GW — and that it remained a regret. Career-wise, it didn’t do a bit of harm. He already had a job in a news organization.
Like his future NBC News colleague Brian Williams, Todd would rise to the top of the ranks at a big-three network without that diploma.
Todd’s start in politics reveals why many consider him unprepared for 2019.
In his CJR profile, Todd was happy to address his critics. (The profile went out in 2010, mind you.) Even then, Todd received heavy criticism for his Poltico-style “savvy” insider journalism that goes deep on personality and “how things play” and light on policy and, well, truth.
But Todd said something very revealing to CJR, hinting at why he seems so unprepared for the state of politics in 2019. “I hate how we’ve demonized the institutions of Congress so much that it’s now okay for somebody to go in there and make a mockery of it,” he said.
Reminding the interviewer that the first book he ever read was JFK’s Profiles in Courage, he wanted respect for the office. “For me that put senators on a pedestal.” (Considering Marsha Blackburn is now in the Senate, someone should follow up with Todd on that statement.)
As anyone with their eyes and ears open will tell you, the degradation of Congress came from the members of Congress themselves — not the journalists and bloggers covering them. That Todd can’t recognize highlights why he’s seemed so unprepared for 2019.