If you want to know just how prejudiced the bad-faith actors at NBC were about the network’s televised Town Hall with President Trump on Oct. 15, look no further than the “Live Blog” page on the NBC News website. The Peacock’s “real-time” breakdown of its event gave the thinly disguised game away.
“Trump’s hour-long town hall lacked substantive answers about his policy agenda for the next four years, despite being given ample opportunity to lay out a vision for a second term,” a post read minutes after the conclusion of the Miami gathering. Yes, having moderator Savannah Guthrie harp on white supremacy and QAnon while scolding Trump over his coronavirus mask-wearing diligence and then interrupting him as he attempted to answer her tart queries is considered a generous forum to bestow upon the president by the folks at NBC.
Here is a sample of headlines for various Live Blog updates offered by NBC News during its presidential Town Hall:
- Fact check: Trump misleads on coronavirus death projections.
- Lots of praise for Guthrie on social media.
- Trump dodges QAnon question: ‘I know nothing about QAnon.’
- Trump clashes with Guthrie after question about white supremacy.
You get the idea. Audio issues added to the lack of professionalism. For most of the production, Today host Guthrie sounded like she was speaking from the bottom of a drained swimming pool. Many have said that the Town Hall had all the markings of an ambush. Then again, can you call it a sneak attack if everyone saw it coming from miles away?
The evening began with Guthrie going hard after Trump on the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats and their big-box media allies are determined to make this a decisive issue for the election. Conservative critics widely accused her of debating Trump herself in place of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, but Guthrie came across as more inquisitorial than argumentative. She was a bullying detective convinced of her suspect’s guilt trying to elicit the confession she believed was sure to come.
“I’m president. I have to see people. I can’t be in a basement, I can’t be in a room. I have to be out,” Trump stated during a prolonged dialogue on mask etiquette. “You can see people with a mask, though, right?” Guthrie retorted.
“As the president I have to be out there,” Trump stated a second time, and again Guthrie played the scold. “There’s no one that says you can’t be out there, but it’s just about wearing masks and having … for example, your rallies. Your rallies don’t require masks.”
It must have been quite a relief for the commander in chief to hear from an NBC morning talk show host that he can leave the White House, as long as he fulfills her personal social distancing instructions, which, of course, are far from being medical consensus, whatever NBC reports.
Racist Strongman Strawman
This “we set the goalposts” framing was never going to lead anywhere fruitful, which only made Guthrie’s combativeness more pointless as the evening wore on. And so it was inevitable that she would bring up that favorite establishment media phantom, white supremacy.
“You were asked point-blank (at the presidential debate with Biden on Sept. 29) to denounce white supremacy. In the moment, you didn’t … A couple of days later on a different show you denounced white supremacy … It feels sometimes you’re hesitant to do so.”
“I denounce white supremacy,” Trump wearily replied before pivoting to the leftist violence that ran roughshod in American streets over the summer. “And frankly, you wanna know something? I denounce Antifa and I denounce these people on the left that are burning down our cities that are run by Democrats who don’t know what they’re doing.” At that point, Guthrie interrupted to bring up the controversial QAnon movement in especially condescending style.
“I know nothing about QAnon,” Trump began, causing Guthrie to snap, “I just told you.”
“You told me, but what you tell me doesn’t necessarily make it fact, I hate to say that,” Trump volleyed back, stating something big-box media figures cannot comprehend.
“Let’s waste a whole show,” Trump said of the failed gotcha moment. “You start off with white supremacy. I denounce it. You start off with something else. Let’s go. Keep asking me these questions,” Trump declared, mocking Guthrie’s efforts to pin him down on such a fringe side point.
“But they’re not a Satanic, pedophile…?” Guthrie blustered on.
“I have no idea,” Trump replied.
“You don’t know that?” an incredulous Guthrie burst out, as if she were about to pin down the president on an issue of enormous consequence.
“Why aren’t you asking me about Antifa? Why aren’t you asking me about the radical left? Why aren’t you asking Joe Biden questions about … why doesn’t he condemn Antifa? Why does he say it doesn’t exist?” Trump interjected, as he skillfully took over the topic from the fumbling Guthrie.
“Antifa exists. They’re vicious. They’re violent. They kill people and they’re burning down our cities. And they happen to be radical left,” Trump stoutly exclaimed. It was his most powerful moment of the evening by far, and it came amid a particularly clumsy line of attack from a flailing national network television personality.
Continuing to belabor the point as she strained to paint Trump as an unstable threat to the republic, Guthrie got off QAnon and reached for the dictator card. “A lot of people have asked you, ‘Will you accept a peaceful transfer of power?'” she proclaimed, conjuring the specter of a defeated Trump holing up in the White House behind pillboxes and machine guns like some overthrown third world caudillo.
“Will you accept the results of the election?” she eventually went on to ask.
Trump calmly detailed specific examples of ballot improprieties that Guthrie airily dismissed while forcefully pronouncing that “there is, in fact, no evidence of widespread fraud.” Having long ceased to be an impartial moderator, Guthrie was now relentlessly sparring with the president.
As with previous Town Halls, the questions from voters in the audience were flat and formulaic and Trump was able to recite campaign talking points in response with ease. Asked about Obamacare, Trump touted his administration’s success in doing away with the individual mandate that so riled millions of Americans. A coronavirus stimulus question set Trump up to call out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for holding up relief checks for the citizenry.
On abortion, Trump was weak, refusing to say he would like to see the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision overturned despite running as a pro-life Republican. It was an odd hedge, but abortion does not decide presidential elections. The moment will be quickly forgotten.
An effort to nail Trump on his tax returns failed to draw blood for the simple reason that Guthrie had no specifics. She was fishing for something damning and Trump was certainly not going to provide that for her. It was another ineffectual moment for NBC.
Lessons Never Learned
The antipathy the network displayed for Trump conceals the true blitz at work here: Trump’s ambush of the dominant media. The president knew in advance how negative this Town Hall was bound to be; he publicly said as much. That he willingly whistles and skips his way into the teeth of these telegraphed assaults should tell NBC and its media comrades something. He likes this. This works for him. This energizes his base.
It’s a dynamic establishment media outlets never did understand in 2016 and still fail (or refuse) to grasp today. And so, one hour after the Miami skirmish ended, NBC News’ Live Blog added a posting on that other, far more friendly Town Hall hosted by ABC News. The headline?
“‘We know who’s got the stamina’: Biden’s performance gets social praise.”
If only they knew how played out this heavy-handed propaganda machinery is in the eyes of tens of millions of American voters.
Liberty Nation also has an analysis on the Joe Biden Town Hall.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.