Face it, NBC’s “Meet The Press” has been awful since Tim Russert died. But the Mother’s Day 202 edition of the show was terrible even by replacement host Chuck Todd’s standards.
During a panel discussion of Attorney General William Barr’s interview with CBS News’s Catherine Herridge, Todd played a segment of the interview. What he failed to divulge to “Meet The Press” viewers is that he and the network had deceptively edited out a portion of one of the AG’s answers in a way that made it appear pat and simplistic.
Below is the transcript of the relevant part of the Herridge-Barr interview. The text in bold in Barr’s reply is the part that Todd selectively pruned out.
Catherine Herridge: In closing, this was a big decision in the Flynn case, 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?
AG William Barr: 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. It helped, it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.
After playing the clip after, Todd remarked:
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.”
And I, in turn, was struck by Todd’s duplicity in claiming that Barr should have made “the case that he was upholding the rule of law” when in fact that is precisely what Barr did.
Today on Meet The Press, @chucktodd wildly took context out of an answer AG Bill Barr gave about his decision to drop the case into Gen. Michael Flynn.
I cut Todd's segment along with Barr's full answer together. Look at how blatantly dishonest this is. pic.twitter.com/tODOEwL48V
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 10, 2020
And after the who aired, Herridge ever the consummate pro, posted the relevant part of the interview to Twitter.
#FLYNN Two big moments from our exclusive AG Barr interview @CBSNews “I think a fair history would say that it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law. It helped, it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.” pic.twitter.com/aRtFnnx7da
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 10, 2020
Note that earlier in the interview with Herridge, Barr also spoke of the DOJ decision in the context of a nonpolitical, equal justice decision:
Well, as I said in my confirmation hearing, one of the reasons I came back is because I was concerned that people were feeling there were two standards of justice in this country. And that the political and that the justice, or the law enforcement process was being used to play political games. And I wanted to make sure that we restore confidence in the system. There’s only one standard of justice. And I believe that this case, that justice in this case requires dismissing the charges against General Flynn.
The network and Todd have since tried to walk their dishonesty by posting online what amounts to a “correction,” claiming the “mistake” was “inadvertent.”
You’re correct. 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.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 10, 2020
But as Howard Portnoy has noted in connection with another correction, “The number of readers who see the original article is far greater than the number who are likely to notice the correction in a later edition. That’s a fact of journalism. By the time the correction appears, the damage is already done.”
Even if we give NBC and Todd the benefit of the doubt, Todd is the network’s political director. If he or they failed to watch the full interview but went ahead and quoted from it to score political points, how are viewers supposed to trust them?
Cross posted at The Lid