Chuck Todd Excuses Lack of Gruber Coverage: ‘What Is The News Today of That?’

Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director and moderator of Meet the Press, appeared on Newsmax TV’s The Steve Malzberg Show on Tuesday, November 18 to discuss a variety of issues including the existence of liberal media bias.

Speaking specifically on the lack of network news coverage surrounding the Jonathan Gruber controversy, Todd dismissed Malzberg’s assertion that this was an example of media bias and argued “I’m not saying it’s not a story. Look, I’m not in charge of any of those network newscasts. But what is the news today of that? It’s a political story.”

What Todd failed to mention during his attempt to justify the minimal Gruber coverage was that his own network’s evening newscast, NBC Nightly News, has not aired a single story since the first video broke 10 days ago. In fact, the “big three” (ABC, CBS, and NBC) networks have only aired 6 stories totaling 9 minutes 32 seconds from November 10-November 19.

Instead, the NBC News Political Director argued “Network news in general hasn’t been covering the political back-and-forth’s of Washington a lot lately. I don’t think has to do with Gruber specifically. I would just caution people on that.”

When the discussion turned to whether or not media bias existed at all, Todd did his best to dismiss the charge and insisted that there is a cultural bias in the media instead:

I think there is cultural bias is what I always talk about. I think the bias stems from the fact that the news media’s headquartered in New York City. And I’ve always thought the cultural bias on issues like religion in particular, a lot of social issues, where there’s this feeling middle America feels as if New York sort of imposes more it’s cultural values.

Chuck Todd seemed to be unaware that the “cultural bias” he spoke of is in fact a type of political bias:

I think that is what is created the perception then therefore all media leans left. I think culturally it’s there. I don’t think it’s as pervasive as some believe it’s on the right but I think the cultural stuff is what makes it a credible attack.

As the discussion of media bias concluded, Malzberg wondered “when Alma Adams, running for Congress, was on stage and called [Thom] Tillis an Uncle Tom. When the guy running against Nikki Haley said take the whore out the door. If that had been a Republican, if either one of those had been Republicans…what would the difference in the coverage have been do you believe?

Todd tried to argue that the lack of media coverage surrounding Democratic candidates, and their surrogates, making disparaging comments towards their Republican opponents, was not media bias:

If they’re not well-known figures I don’t think I would have covered it in either direction. I didn’t cover either of those stories because I don’t think I would have covered it the other way. It’s not, I mean, look, I think surrogates when they’re not known people are not stories. I think we make, I think this sort of, we have allowed social media in some ways, click bait and all this stuff, I think we have this sort of, we’ve allowed politics somewhat to have too much faux anger, faux grievances.         

Todd’s argument that “If they’re not well-known figures I don’t think I would have covered it in either direction” seems to fall on its face given that Alma Adams (D-N.C.) won her race and now is a member of Congress.

Under the NBC News Political Director’s own standards, prior to Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments most people had never heard of this obscure congressman and should not have covered him but the “big three” networks still gave more than 96 minutes of coverage in the first 3 days of the controversy.   

See relevant transcript below.

Newsmax TV

The Steve Malzberg Show

November 18, 2014

STEVE MALZBERG: Bias in the media.

CHUCK TODD: Yes sir.

MALZBERG: Is there bias in the media on the left?

TODD: I think there is cultural bias is what I always talk about. I think the bias stems from the fact that the news media’s headquartered in New York City. And I’ve always thought the cultural bias on issues like religion in particular, a lot of social issues, where there’s this feeling middle America feels as if New York sort of imposes more it’s cultural values. I think that is what is created the perception then therefore all media leans left. I think culturally it’s there. I don’t think it’s as pervasive as some believe it’s on the right but I think the cultural stuff is what makes it a credible attack.

MALZBERG: But why did it take nine days once the Gruber video came out, you talked about it on Meet the Press just the other day, but the networks, nine days before they talked about it. And now it’s a huge story.

TODD: I’m not saying it’s not a story. Look, I’m not in charge of any of those network newscasts. But what is the news today of that? It’s a political story. Network news in general hasn’t been covering the political back-and-forth’s of Washington a lot lately. I don’t think has to do with Gruber specifically. I would just caution people on that.

MALZBERG: When Alma Adams, running for Congress, was on stage and called [Thom] Tillis an Uncle Tom. When the guy running against Nikki Haley said take the whore out the door. If that had been a Republican, if either one of those had been Republicans—

TODD: I remember the story you’re talking about.

MALZBERG: What would the difference in the coverage have been do you believe?

TODD: I don’t—you know, I can’t say that. I don’t know for sure.

MALZBERG: How would you have covered it differently?

TODD: I don’t know for sure. If they’re not well-known figures I don’t think I would have covered it in either direction. I didn’t cover either of those stories because I don’t think I would have covered it the other way. It’s not, I mean, look, I think surrogates when they’re not known people are not stories. I think we make, I think this sort of, we have allowed social media in some ways, click bait and all this stuff, I think we have this sort of, we’ve allowed politics somewhat to have too much faux anger, faux grievances.         

Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Double Standards NewsMax Steve Malzberg Chuck Todd Jonathan Gruber