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First-time teacher David Gregory finds Tufts students no fans of the media

Former NBC White House correspondent David Gregory (center), who’s teaching at Tufts this semester, at a recent Tufts event with panelists Patrick Healy of The New York Times; Asma Khalid, political reporter at NPR; Alan Solomont, Dean of Tisch College at Tufts; and Jake Horowitz, founder of media company Mic.Anna Miller/Tufts University/Tufts University

David Gregory picked an interesting time to start teaching.

The former NBC chief White House correspondent and current CNN political commentator took his first-ever classroom job this fall, teaching a weekly seminar at Tufts called “Race for the White House in a Modern Media Environment.”

“It’s very much rooted in this campaign,” Gregory told us this week. “A lot of these kids are first-time voters and I had to say to them, ‘Just so you’re aware, it’s not always like this. It’s not always this crazy, this ugly, this crass.”

Gregory said he’s been struck by the students’ intelligence, but also their skepticism and, yes, cynicism about politics and especially the media.


“There’s a real trust deficit,” he said. “These millennials really challenge the big institutions in their lives and they’re very skeptical of the media.”

Gregory was reluctant to critique the media’s performance during this presidential campaign, or comment of the remarks of CNN President Jeff Zucker, who told an audience at Harvard last week that his network gave Donald Trump too much airtime. (“We probably did put on too many of the campaign rallies in the early months unedited,” Zucker said. “In hindsight we probably shouldn’t have done that as much.”)

But Gregory does think the debates are enlightening, despite the candidates’ picayune bickering.

“It’s an unfiltered opportunity to hear them on serious questions,” he said. “Trump is not a serious candidate with a serious view of the world, and a lot of time was spent last time on allegations of sexual misconduct, but I’m believer in these debates. But people can evaluate (the candidates) and imagine them as the commander in chief.”