Looking past the ratings boost Donald Trump delivers, “Meet The Press” moderator Chuck Todd will require the Republican presidential front-runner to appear in person from here on out.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that Todd will no longer allow the candidate to “appear” via phone on NBC’s signature Sunday talk show.
The Time’s Jim Rutenberg reported:
On Friday, Chuck Todd, the moderator of “Meet the Press,” told me he had only grudgingly allowed Mr. Trump to call in to his show earlier in the campaign, determining that he would rather have Mr. Trump take questions via phone than not at all.
Now, Mr. Todd said, he will no longer allow Mr. Trump to do prescheduled interviews by phone on the NBC program.
Rutenberg noted that the Sunday morning talk shows have been a proving ground where the candidates show up and take the heat in person, adding that this is “why the programs were named ‘Face the Nation’ and ‘Meet the Press’ — not ‘Call the Nation’ or ‘Phone the Press.’”
The decision puts Todd in the same company as Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, who has been the lone hold out to Trump’s insistence that he be allowed to do phone interviews.
Wallace told Rutenberg it was a price worth paying.
“I just thought even if we took a ratings hit — and to some degree we did — it was a line worth holding,” Wallace said.
Considering Trump has received the equivalent of $1.9 billion in free advertising from the wall-to-wall media coverage he has gotten, according to The Times, it’s questionable whether skipping the Sunday shows will have any effect on the candidate.
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