Jay Rosen catches NBC Meet The Press host Chuck Todd trying to explain away his guilt in allowing the Trump regime's misinformation for three straight years on his weekly politics show, and if anything I agree with Rosen that Todd's admission should lead to his immediate replacement.
‘Round midnight on Christmas eve, Rolling Stone posted a short interview with Chuck Todd, host of “the longest running show on television,” NBC’s Meet the Press.
Its contents were explosive, embarrassing, enraging, and just plain weird.
Three years after Kellyanne Conway introduced the doctrine of “alternative facts” on his own program, a light went on for Chuck Todd. Republican strategy, he now realized, was to make stuff up, spread it on social media, repeat it in your answers to journalists — even when you know it’s a lie with crumbs of truth mixed in — and then convert whatever controversy arises into go-get-em points with the base, while pocketing for the party a juicy dividend: additional mistrust of the news media to help insulate President Trump among loyalists when his increasingly brazen actions are reported as news.
Todd repeatedly called himself naive for not recognizing the pattern, itself an astounding statement that cast doubt on his fitness for office as host of Meet the Press. While the theme of the interview was waking up to the truth of Republican actions in the information warfare space, Todd went to sleep on the implications of what he revealed. It took him three years to understand a fact about American politics that was there on the surface, unconcealed since the day after inauguration. Many, many interpreters had described it for him during those lost years when he could not bring himself to believe it. (I am one.)
You cannot call that an oversight. It’s a strategic blindness that he superintended. By “strategic blindness” I mean what people mean when they quote Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
The ostensible purpose of the Rolling Stone interview was to promote a special edition of Meet the Press on December 29 that will focus on the weaponization of disinformation. But its effect is to bring MTP — and by extension similar shows — into epistemological crisis. With Todd’s confessions the mask has come off. It could have come off a long time ago, but the anchors, producers, guests, advertisers and to an unknown degree the remaining viewers colluded in an act of make believe that lurched along until now. One way to say it: They agreed to pretend that Conway’s threatening phrase, “alternative facts” was just hyberbole, the kind of inflammatory moment that makes for viral clips and partisan bickering. More silly than it was ominous.
In reality she had made a grave announcement. The nature of the Trump government would be propagandistic. And as as Garry Kasparov observes for us, “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.” This exhaustion, this annihilation were on their way to the Sunday shows, and to all interactions with journalists. That is what Kellyanne Conway was saying that day on Meet the Press. But the people who run the show chose not to believe it.
That’s malpractice. Chuck Todd called it naiveté in order to minimize the error. This we cannot allow.
Todd is trying to escape his own culpability with his defense of "I'm a professional pundit and they were good enough to fool even me!"
For years I've been saying that the Village media, in its constant quest for "access" to the Trump regime, has all but destroyed itself in the process. We no longer have White House briefings or a White House Correspondents' Dinner, we barely even have a White House press.
Todd saying "Well gosh I just didn't believe them" as a political roundtable host, well, frankly he should be fired.
And he's not just a host, he's been NBC News's political director for over a decade now. He's their top political voice for the network, and he's an idiot.
No wonder we're screwed.