Twenty minutes into NBC’s “Townhall” with President Trump last night, not a single audience member had yet asked a question.
The “moderator” – more correctly chief inquisitor – Savannah Guthrie, acted as if those people (who were mostly women, by the way, which I’ll touch on farther down) were insignificant. Certainly they could not be trusted to ask the important questions she did. These oh so pressing questions for the nation included the exact time pre debate that the president had his Covid test; white supremacy; Q Anon; and whether he would leave office if he lost.
In her eyes, while Americans struggle with job losses, pandemic fears, school openings and other life impacting issues, 20 minutes haranguing Trump on topics we’ve visited ad nauseam and that he has repeatedly discussed were more important than their concerns. She interrupted, disputed everything he said and badgered him as if she were his opposing candidate in a debate. Talk about a Karen! We’re all familiar with the type of screamer she is; if a parent, you’ve probably engaged in this kind of argument with a teenager.
Guthrie went on and on about wearing masks. When Trump quite rightly said there was no absolute scientific knowledge on whether they are effective, the all too eager Guthrie hung onto the topic like a starving dog with a bone. The more she held onto the topic, the more people at home she enraged.
When a third of the program’s time allotment had passed, Guthrie at last gave up and allowed an audience member to ask a question. This one was, of course, again about the pandemic and why if Trump knew in January that it was a bad one, he didn’t act sooner. Even then, Guthrie couldn’t wait to jump in and revisit the mask issue and interrupted.
Trump handled it fairly well; why people expect science and the government to conquer all that we need to know about an unknown virus a week or two after its appearance seems ridiculous to me, but media people are ridiculous anyway.
Interestingly most of the questions came from women. One black man, a Democrat, was stuck in traffic and didn’t get to ask his question about the stimulus in person. Another man, again a Democrat, asked about the correctness of a Supreme Court justice being nominated so close to the end of a term. Trump tackled both questions well, explaining that Nancy Pelosi refuses to negotiate and that he was within his rights to fulfill his duties during his term. Trump pointed out that in his position the Democrats would surely have gone forward with a nomineee, too.
Aside from these two, the other questions were asked by women. This was no accident. Guthrie was aiming to undermine Trump with women – especially suburban women – and she hoped to trip Trump up with this voting block.
I don’t think it worked. The women all seemed pretty satisfied with the answers he gave. Viewers all commented on the woman behind the president, who nodded in agreement with him time and again. I hope she remains anonymous as liberals are quite ticked off about it and could make her life miserable.
Someone who watched Megyn Kelly’s podcast wrote that she “recently mentioned that she lives among and is friends with many of these upper-middle class suburban women who ‘hate Trump’. And she said that they’re all basically lying. Privately they have, almost to a person, said they are voting for Trump.”
Even Trump supposedly didn’t believe Guthrie’s tactics worked. Jack Posobiec tweeted, “WH source tells @OANN that after walking offstage at townhall, Trump said to everyone, ‘I expected worse. She tried, God bless her…she tried.'”
I don’t put a lot of import on body language, but I couldn’t help noticing the President’s. He looked relaxed and at ease. Guthrie looked like a vulture tottering on a branch waiting to pounce on her victim.
She didn’t succeed. Trump did well and remained calm, drawing an even sharper contrast between him and the out of control moderator.
Chris Wallace has got to feel good about this. Disaster that he was, Guthrie outdid him.
Part of this might have been because of the backlash NBC actors and employees were giving their own network. Rumor has it that their “stars” were outraged that the network gave their most hated enemy, Donald J. Trump, a full hour’s appearance. Here’s a sample as noted by Forbes:
“The point of a news organization is to serve the public. This is the opposite,” Vivian Schiller, NBC News’ former chief digital officer, wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “[NBC News] could literally run this any other day, or any other time. Shameful.”
Former Today anchor Katie Couric tweeted that “having dueling town halls is bad for democracy” by forcing voters to choose, calling the move a “bad decision” and predicting the town hall “will be good for Trump because people like to watch his unpredictability.”
Former NBC News producer Mark Lukasiewicz said the opposing town halls were “a bad result for American voters,” and former NBC News executive vice president Cheryl Gould wrote on Facebook she was “dismayed” and “disgusted” by NBC being “complicit in Trump’s tantrum.”
Merrill Brown, the former executive editor of MSNBC.com, told Variety that while the network had the “right instinct” in holding a town hall, it “could have held it at a point that was not opposite ABC’s.”
Martin Gero and Brendan Gall, the creators of NBC comedy series Connecting, said on Twitter they “strenuously object” to the town hall scheduling and called for the event to be rescheduled.
Connecting star Shakina Nayfack tweeted that she is “disgusted by my home network giving Trump a platform for fear mongering, bigotry and disinformation,” adding, “Shame on NBC.”
Once again, DJT has the last laugh.