Brokaw Rejects ‘Liberal Media’ Label, Says Conservatives Have Fox News & Social Media

Appearing on Thursday’s NBC Today, special correspondent Tom Brokaw dismissed Donald Trump’s accusations of liberal media bias: “His complaints have been, apparently, that he thinks there’s a media conspiracy of some kind. The media conspiracy consists of The New York Times printing his tax returns...”

Co-host Savannah Guthrie downplayed the Republican nominee’s complaint as something all candidates say: “And we probably can't find any presidential candidate in modern history who didn’t feel that the media was definitely stacked against that candidate.” Brokaw proclaimed: “Absolutely true. And especially on the Republican side, they always feel that there's a liberal media. But that – the fact of the matter is you have Fox News and a lot of other publications and social media, which has become very, very important in this process.”

On the subject of Trump not saying whether he would concede defeat in November’s election, Brokaw declared: “This is not a banana republic. We’ve got more than 200 years of presidential elections and graceful and peaceful transitions to the new administration...”

To her credit, Guthrie did mention the Trump campaign’s argument: “...what we’re hearing from the Trump camp this morning is, ‘Wait a minute, Al Gore contested an election in Florida’....so what is the distinction?”

Tell the Truth 2016

<<< Please consider helping NewsBusters financially with your tax-deductible contribution today >>>

<<< Thank you for your support! >>>

Despite criticizing Trump, Brokaw defended Gore’s refusal to concede to George W. Bush for two months after the 2000 presidential election: “Al Gore contested it because it was a very confusing situation. And by the way, he had 7 million more votes than his opponent in the final general election. It went to the Supreme Court, as it needed to, it was an unbelievably confusing situation there.”

In addition to that, Brokaw also seemed to call the entire electoral process into question:

I think this all calls for a big, big reform, if you will, of our election process in this country. I think it’s too much control by secretaries of state....I think starting with the primaries and through the general election, the country needs to take a hard look at how we elect the President of the United States so we don't have this kind of confusion at the end.

NBC’s hypocrisy on accusations of a rigged election is particularly stunning since the network allowed former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann to repeatedly question the legitimacy of the 2000 election.

Here is a full transcript of Brokaw’s October 20 appearance:

7:36 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: We’ve got Tom Brokaw here with more. Tom, good morning. We always kind of turn to you in these moments because you’re our resident veteran and historian. Can you put into perspective for people why that statement is such an earthquake?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Peaceful Transition of Power in Jeopardy? Trump Tells Voters “I’ll Keep You In Suspense”]  

TOM BROKAW: Well, at this stage of a campaign – we’re not even at the results yet – he's already saying, “I may not accept the results.” This is not a banana republic. We’ve got more than 200 years of presidential elections and graceful and peaceful transitions to the new administration, as you saw, even Richard Nixon, Al Gore, the people who were caught up in very close races, said, “I accept the new president.”

His complaints have been, apparently, that he thinks there’s a media conspiracy of some kind. The media conspiracy consists of The New York Times printing his tax returns, in which he didn’t pay, it appears, any taxes after taking a billion-dollar loss. He had more television time than the GEICO gecko for most of the summer and his rallies were about him, and I think that, that probably affected his thinking. He thinks it's going to be like that all the way through. The rallies and the early part of the primaries are the spring training. This is the general election, and that's what we are talking about.

GUTHRIE: And we probably can't find any presidential candidate in modern history who didn’t feel that the media was definitely stacked against that candidate.

BROKAW: No, no. Absolutely true. And especially on the Republican side, they always feel that there's a liberal media. But that – the fact of the matter is you have Fox News and a lot of other publications and social media, which has become very, very important in this process.

GUTHRIE: Let me go back for a minute, though, because what we’re hearing from the Trump camp this morning is, “Wait a minute, Al Gore contested an election in Florida.” You read and you know your history that Republicans contested aspects of the election in 1960 on behalf of Nixon, so what is the distinction?

BROKAW: Well, let’s begin with 1960. Richard Nixon, as we just heard, took it graciously and the Republicans didn’t get very far with it. And Nixon didn’t want to go all the way with it. Al Gore contested it because it was a very confusing situation. And by the way, he had 7 million more votes than his opponent in the final general election. It went to the Supreme Court, as it needed to, it was an unbelievably confusing situation there. I think this all calls for a big, big reform, if you will, of our election process in this country. I think it’s too much control by secretaries of state. But the most offended secretaries of state are the Republicans who are in charge of voting around the country, and they’re, “Look, we are going to run a clean election and Donald Trump ought not to be questioning that.”

GUTHRIE: Yeah, when you see candidates or politicians on both sides saying we have such a decentralized system, it would be hard to execute on a conspiracy even if you wanted to.  

BROKAW: Well, I think starting with the primaries and through the general election, the country needs to take a hard look at how we elect the President of the United States so we don't have this kind of confusion at the end. His hardcore followers will be with him, there’s no question about that. But the fact of the matter is, it’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out in the general population, which just now is really beginning to check in on this campaign in the last two weeks.

GUTHRIE: Okay, you mean they’re not obsessive like us about this whole process?  

BROKAW: I have an idea for your new baby, by the way.  

GUTHRIE: What’s that?

BROKAW: Name it time zone.

GUTHRIE: As in we don't know what time zone we’re in. I know. Tom, thank you so much, great to have you.  

Tell the Truth 2016 CyberAlerts Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Debates Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats NBC Today Video Tom Brokaw Donald Trump