NBC's ridiculous town hall with Donald Trump proves it: The media loves DJT!
With enemies like these, who needs friends?
Donald Trump loves to call the media the “enemy of the people.” But the media loves him more.
This morning, NBC announced it will hold a town hall discussion with Donald Trump on Thursday night, head-to-head with Joe Biden’s town hall on ABC. The outdoor proceedings will be moderated by Today anchor Savannah Guthrie.
Biden’s town hall was scheduled six days ago, immediately after the presidential debate was canceled. NBC’s Trump town hall, where he will presumably speak with Florida voters, is a late addition to the lineup.
The parallels between the upcoming Trump town hall and the 2016 presidential forum hosted by another Today anchor, Matt Lauer, are stark. Lauer drilled Hillary Clinton about her private email server, dedicating one-third of his time with her to questions about the overblown scandal. Conversely, Lauer asked Trump illuminating questions such as, “Why should you be commander-in-chief?”
Two months later, Lauer was fired from NBC for allegedly raping and sexually assaulting co-workers. Interestingly enough, he never asked Trump about the myriad of sexual misconduct accusations against him.
I wonder why?
One month after the NBC-produced forum, The Washington Post published the infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump brags to Billy Bush about his propensity for grabbing pussy. The tape was reportedly leaked to the WaPo by a NBC News staffer. The network owned the tape, but never released it.
Since The Apprentice was launched in 2004, no media company has played a bigger role in the rise of Trump than NBC Universal. Fox News latched onto the star that NBC created, and continues to legitimize.
What is the point of this town hall? Trump unleashed an avalanche of lies in the first debate when Biden was present. One can only imagine that figure will multiple when there’s nobody around to push back.
So education is not the focus. And the dear, hypothetical undecided voter couldn’t be the focus, either, since Biden is conducting a town hall on another channel.
The point of the hastily arranged Trump town hall, of course, is ratings. That’s always been the driving motive behind TV news’ coverage of Trump, dating back to CNN’s unvarnished airing of his campaign rallies.
That includes MSNBC, too, by the way. Rachel Maddow rode the circuitous and ultimately vacuous Russian conspiracy to ratings highs. It was an abstract issue that never touched the lives of everyday Americans, or anybody not in John Brennan’s circle, for that matter. If Maddow and MSNBC primetime hosts truly wanted to run an effective anti-Trump agenda, they would’ve interviewed every night those who have been devastated by the administration’s cruel policies towards human welfare.
Instead, we got the lionization of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.
While the coverage about Trump on CNN and MSNBC is overwhelmingly negative, the stories they highlight help him. Every minute dedicated to some outlandish tweet or juicy piece of palace intrigue — will John Kelly leave the White House?! — is a disservice to news that actually affects people. CNN head Jeff Zucker admits this in a new documentary for VICE TV:
"Donald Trump said outrageous things or things that weren't true and it was just accepted as, 'Oh, that's what he does,’” Zucker says. “Not calling it what it was and then holding the other side more accountable was probably a mistake.”
With less than three weeks to go before the 2020 election, the beltway press is still obsessed with theatrical both-sidesism. Look no further than New York Times White House reporter Maggie Haberman and Politico’s Jake Sherman elevating a deranged story in the New York Post about alleged emails showing Hunter Biden trying to use his father to curry favor with a corrupt Ukrainian energy executive. The supposed emails were provided to the Rupert Murdoch-owned Post by Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon.
Besides the dubious nature of the sourcing, the story is based on a lie: Biden wasn’t pressuring Ukrainian government officials to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin for investigating Burisma. The Obama administration wanted Shokin out for not investigating corruption.
Regardless, it is shameful that top-tier political reporters would spend any bandwidth right now pushing some tedious online right-wing conspiracy that allegedly occurred during Obama’s presidency.
But that’s the kind of both-sides reporting White House press members have been doing for Trump’s entire presidency. The New York Times and other outlets have a vested interest in legitimizing Trump: his presidency has been a boon. Last year, the NYT hit a 13-year high in subscriptions.
While local newsrooms continue to be decimated — newspapers have shed half of their employees since 2008 — the Trump years have been great for the media elite. The good cop/bad cop routine is very financially lucrative.
They are behaving like they don’t want it to end, and why would they?