Carl Bernstein Says NBC ‘Allowed Itself to Get Conned’ with Trump Town Hall

Carl Bernstein Says NBC ‘Allowed Itself to Get Conned’ with Trump Town Hall

Veteran journalist Carl Bernstein slammed NBC for agreeing to host a town hall with President Donald Trump that will compete with a similar event for former Vice President Joe Biden on ABC. Both programs will air on Thursday night.

“How is that NBC News has allowed itself to get conned by Donald Trump and (as of 11 pm Wednesday) continues to abrogate the public trust by not re-scheduling or taping-and-delaying broadcast, or canceling if Trump continues to demand the network’s obeisance?” Bernstein tweeted on Wednesday.

“What’s happened here? First Trump evades debate commission rules and protocols; then NBC allows him a town hall on equal footing with Biden, who has agreed to and followed the commission’s rules [ok, perhaps barely defensible this part],” Bernstein went on.

The president refused to attend a virtual debate due to be held on October 15, calling it a ‘waste of time’. The Commission on Presidential Debates decided to make that event, a town hall in Miami, Florida, virtual following Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and for health and safety reasons.

“But inexcusably, NBC schedules its Town Hall with Trump at exact time Biden is on ABC (reportedly at Trump’s insistence), cutting Biden’s audience and setting up a ratings war tailored for Trump to win and crow about. Esp. bc ABC has no cable outlets, like MSNBC + CNBC,” Bernstein said in a long series of tweets.

“I was Washington Bureau Chief for ABC in 1980-1981 when myself and CBS/NBC bureau chiefs made decisions that neither POTUS Carter nor POTUS Reagan could get free airtime from the White House for slyly political broadcasts,” he said.

“Point being that our networks would not let even the President dictate how and when we covered him: and we resisted being manipulated. Forty years after we established the principle, NBC has been manipulated and conned,” Bernstein concluded.

Darragh Roche

Darragh Roche

Darragh Roche is Political Media Editor