The new standard of journalism practice in many of our newsrooms seems to be ‘do what you have to do to get Donald Trump’, then issue a fake apology for the ‘error.’
NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd, who lucked up into hosting the once venerable Sunday show Meet the Press, sank to a new low on his latest edition. He has never tried to hide his disdain and disgust for the president and the Trump administration. Even so, the foul stunt he and his producers pulled on Sunday shocks the conscience.
He deceptively and willfully edited an interview Attorney General William Barr conducted with CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge on Friday. Todd wanted to smear and discredit Barr for his appropriate decision to drop the Justice Department (DOJ) case against former national security advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn .
Herridge asked Barr how history would judge his decision to drop the charge of lying to the FBI after Flynn pleaded guilty. “In closing, this was a big decision in the Flynn case, to — to say the least. When history looks back on this decision, how do you think it will be written? What will it say about your decision making?” she asked.
“Well, history is written by the winner. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history. But I think a fair history would say that it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law,” Barr replied.
“It helped, it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice and it undid what was an injustice,” he concluded.
The video clip Todd aired conveniently cut off Barr’s last two sentences, eliminating the context of his statement and his complete response. He already had it cued up, waiting to drop it at the most opportune moment so he could drub Barr with co-conspirator Peggy Noonan.
“Uh, you brought up Bill Barr, Peggy Noonan. I want you to listen to this Bill Barr answer to a question, ‘what will history say about this?’ Wait til you hear this answer. Take a listen,” said Todd. He zeroed in on the quote, “Well, history is written by the winner. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history,” but the rest of the statement was suspiciously cut off.
After playing the clip, Todd said, “I was struck, Peggy, by the cynicism of the answer. It’s a correct answer. But he’s the attorney general. He didn’t make the case that he was upholding the rule of law. He was almost admitting that, yeah, this is a political job.”
Department of Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec was forced to point out Todd’s egregious conduct. She tweeted her disappointment with Todd and NBC for “deceptive editing/commentary,” including an official CBS transcript of Barr’s remarks alongside the edited version.
“Not only did the AG make the case in the VERY answer Chuck says he didn’t, he also did so multiple times throughout the interview,” she wrote.
“You’re correct,” the Comcast-owned network tweeted in response. “Earlier today, we inadvertently and inaccurately cut short a video clip of an interview with AG Barr before offering commentary and analysis. The remaining clip included important remarks from the attorney general that we missed, and we regret the error.”
President Trump called for Todd to be fired in a Sunday tweet: “Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd should be FIRED by “Concast” (NBC) for this fraud.”
“He knew exactly what he was doing. Public Airwaves = Fake News!” Trump added, tagging the official Twitter accounts for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Chairman Ajit Pai.
He urged the FCC to take action tweeting Monday “@FCC THIS IS A DISGRACE, EVEN WORSE THAN @NBC USUALLY IS, WHICH IS REALLY BAD. SLEEPY EYES MUST BE FIRED!”
“He should be FIRED by Concast,” Trump wrote, “If done by a Republican, would be ‘prosecuted.’”
Viewers have watched for years as Todd tarnished the once formidable Sunday show, and failed abysmally to uphold the standards of his predecessor Tim Russert.
No one is buying this smug, barefaced attempt to whitewash Todd’s deliberate and calculated skullduggery. It’s high time for him and anyone else who had a hand in this to resign or be fired.
It is totally unacceptable for the Meet the Press host to orchestrate this politically-motivated hatchet job to tarnish Barr for applying the law to vindicate the victim of a conspiracy.
The DOJ released a memo in April written by a top official asking whether the FBI’s goal for pursuing Flynn was “to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”
Considering all the time Todd usually wastes on Sundays moralizing about Trump, his journalistic ethics should be above reproach. Instead he has exposed himself to be just another swamp-dwelling political operative, just like many of his virtue-signaling colleagues.