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Legal scholar Jonathan Turley slammed NBC News’ Chuck Todd for airing a “false narrative” in the misleading quote of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
The George Washington University law professor called out the “Meet the Press” host who “knowingly played a false gotcha clip” in a move that he deemed worse than the one by CNN’s Jim Acosta, who came under heavy fire for tweeting an out-of-context quote from McEnany.
Quoting former Stanford Medical Center neurology chief Dr. Scott Atlas, McEnany had addressed reporters on President Trump’s stand on getting children back into classrooms, saying that “the science should not stand in the way of this.” But, as Turley pointed out, that quote by the press secretary which was used in Acosta’s tweet to mock her, “was artificially clipped to leave the diametrically opposite impression from what actually said.”
McEnany slammed the “Case Study in Media Bias,” and others quickly debunked the clip and piled on CNN. Acosta’s CNN colleague Jake Tapper even called out the false narrative on the air, clarifying what McEnany was actually saying as Acosta tried to fix everything with a follow-up tweet.
Jim Acosta’s deceptive take covering Kayleigh McEnany so egregious even Jake Tapper couldn’t take it https://t.co/CHkAnmMApY
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) July 17, 2020
But on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Todd used the deceptive clip of McEnany twice despite all the attention it — and Acosta — had received.
“It was not just running an overtly misleading clip but defiantly doing so after other journalists have challenged the erroneous impression left by the clip. The misleading quality of the clip clearly was not the problem but the appeal for Meet the Press,” Turley wrote.
“As bad as that incident was, it is not nearly as bad as Chuck Todd ignoring the controversy and the correction to repeatedly air the same misleading quote,” he added, calling out the network as well.
“NBC was fully aware that the clip was not just misleading but that it conveyed the opposite of what actually was stated in the press conference,” Turley explained.
…Todd is fully aware that the McEnany said the exact opposite of what his edited clip suggests.The quote was McEnany referring to a scientific study and, right after the line quoted, she said “The science is very clear on this” and later added “The science is on our side here.”
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) July 19, 2020
“Todd shows clip of people denying the need to wear masks and says that Trump is just ignoring the risks to push to open schools. He then shows the clip of McEnany that is edited to cut off her reference to scientific data, making it sound that she was saying that the science was not important. The clip was played a second time later in the show,” he added.
…Todd played this clip and then immediately interviewed Dr. Francis Collins on whether the public can trust the “watered down” and manipulated facts offered by the White House.That would be far more compelling as a criticism if you did not just play a knowingly misleading clip.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) July 19, 2020
“If an ill-considered tweet is a venial sin for Acosta at CNN, this is a mortal sin for Todd at NBC,” Turley wrote. “This was no careless tweet, but an airing made long after the false account was flagged during the CNN controversy.”
NBC News’ decision to run the clip was “another example of how the echo-journalistic model not only undermines the faith in the media but actually undermines the effort to fully inform the public on the pandemic,” Turley argued.
“Rather than focus on legitimate questions about the Administration’s efforts, Todd instead knowingly played a false gotcha clip,” he wrote.
He went on to note that Todd has previously come under fire for “omitting facts that did not fit an attack on the Administration as well as his repeated disparaging comments on Trump supporters.” The law professor also pointed out that this has led to a loss of “reliable sources to unbiased news,” contending that, while there are Americans who disagree with President Trump, “they still want to receive an accurate account of what is being said and done in Washington.”
“Instead, they are given news tailored to the preference of hosts who see facts as a type of clay to be shaped into a preferred image for public consumption. There comes a point where you are not long informing but indoctrinating the public,” Turley wrote, noting the left’s double standard of silence about Todd’s bias.
“I was hoping that Todd would return to the earlier clips to offer some context to show that the clip was the opposite of what McEnany clearly meant,” he concluded. “However, the show ended without any context, clarification, or correction.”
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