Chuck Todd was in town for Colonials Weekend

One of the many Colonials Weekend events this past weekend was “A Conversation with Chuck Todd,” which was moderated by Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA). This event on Saturday that packed the Jack Morton Auditorium was co-hosted by GW College Democrats, GW College Republicans and SMPA. Students, parents, alumni, and the SMPA National Council, the director's advisory body for SMPA who work address issues regarding the development of SMPA, were those in attendance.

“It all started at GW for you,” Sesno opened the conversation with. Todd attended GW from 1990 to 1994. He reflected on his time at the school to which he attributes his success to. Todd is also a member of the SMPA National Council.

“It all started at GW for you.”

Todd complemented GW for always having a civil discourse and allowing speakers of all viewpoints to come to campus. The notion of civil discourse was the transition point to talk about national politics.

Todd stated the civility that "Meet the Press" has honored the last 70 years is under siege due to the chaotic nature of politics today. Todd spoke at length about how he aims to make his show accessible to everyone. Figuring out who to bring to the roundtable discussion is a struggle as a result of the ever more fractured parties.

Todd noted that on “Meet the Press” the, “Most newsworthy moments are when in six months it still matters.” The catchy lines for press releases and click bait articles are good too, but Todd prides himself on holding government officials accountable and putting them on the record.

"Most newsworthy moments are when in six months it still matters.”

Since this event was on Saturday, Todd spoke about his upcoming show on Sunday. He was looking forward to his interviews with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Additionally, Todd said that several female senators with “Me Too” stories would be featured on the show.

After Sesno finished asking questions to Todd, the audience had a chance. Question topics were on: trust and the press, feelings versus facts, 2020 races, President Donald Trump’s presidency style, safe spaces in college, and demise of local media.

With respect to safe spaces, Todd stressed the the importance of controversial speech as a learning experience. Sesno then discussed how GW balances free expression, respect for diversity and conducive school environments. He said that higher education, like journalism, is meant to, "Transport you to places that are different." Todd and Sesno both agreed it is so important to learn how to deal with people with opposing viewpoints in college because it does not get any easier in the real world (as exemplified by the partisanship today).

The hour-long event ended with Todd stating, “As soon as I leave here I’m going to a staff that’s a third GW.” Everyone laughed, but the parents also breathed a sigh of relief.

Originally published by Courtney Buble on on 10.22.17.

CampusBrandon Bish