On Tuesday’s MTP Daily, moderator Chuck Todd attempted to spin the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn as a category five hurricane and the biggest presidential scandal involving a foreign government since the Iran-Contra Affair under the Reagan administration.
“[W]elcome today one of what is arguably the biggest presidential scandal involving a foreign government since Iran-Contra. Take a breath, hyperbole aside, folks, hunker down cause this is a class five political hurricane that's hitting Washington,” Todd hyped.
Todd promised viewers that “we’re going to dive into every angle of this breaking story as the White House scrambles to contain the fallout” before giving a detailed timeline of the day’s events plus what was known about how and when the Trump team began to lose confidence in Flynn.
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In the show’s opening tease, Todd proclaimed:
If it's Tuesday, trust, turmoil, and President Trump. Tonight, new questions about who knew what and when about now former national security advisor Mike Flynn and his talks with the Russians. Democrats calling for an investigation.
Todd added that “the real issue runs much deeper” because the Flynn matter goes to “[t]rust in the administration and competence that they can get the job done.”
As for the comparisons to Iran-Contra, Todd made the dubious claim without considering any number of the things that percolated during the Obama administration, whether it be Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server or the wooden pallets of cash shipped to Iran.
Iran-Contra itself involved multiple layers, including arms deals, multiple foreign governments, and eventually presidential pardons (and more in an attempt by Democrats and the media to bring down President Reagan).
The Flynn story could very well grow massively in size and scope. But for the time being, Todd’s absurd comparison serves as yet another example of hyperventilation on the part of the media.
If everything is painted as apocalyptic and the rhetoric at a DEFCON-1 level, the American people may not believe them when there’s something dire that’s worth their undivided attention (see The Boy Who Cried 'Wolf').
(h/t: NewsBusters Editor at Large Brent Baker, who’s on vacation somewhere over the South Pacific)
Here’s the relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s MTP Daily on February 14:
MSNBC’s MTP Daily
February 14, 2017
5:00 p.m. Eastern
CHUCK TODD: If it's Tuesday, trust, turmoil, and President Trump. Tonight, new questions about who knew what and when about now former national security advisor Mike Flynn and his talks with the Russians. Democrats calling for an investigation.
DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS (Md.): This is not a democratic issue. This is not a Republican issue. It's not an independent issue. This is an American issue. For the soul of our democracy.
TODD: Republicans are in no rush.
REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN JASON CHAFFETZ (Utah): It's not something the Oversight Committee can actually look at.
TODD: Plus, trust troubles, the White House says the issue is Flynn lying to the Vice President, but the real issue runs much deeper: Trust in the administration and competence that they can get the job done.
REPUBLICAN SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (Ariz): The whole environment is one of dysfunction in the Trump administration as far as national security is concerned.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE PAUL RYAN (Wisc.): You cannot have a national security advisor misleading the vice president and others.
REPUBLICAN SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (S.C.): The cover-up could be far worse than what they actually did.
TODD: This is MTP Daily and it starts right now. [OPEN CREDITS] Good evening, I’m Chuck Todd here in Washington. Welcome to MTP Daily and welcome to day one of what is arguably the biggest presidential scandal involving a foreign government since Iran-Contra. Take a breath, hyperbole aside, folks, hunker down cause this is a class five political hurricane that's hitting Washington. All this hour, we're going to dive into every angle of this breaking story as the White House scrambles to contain the fallout. Today, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that President Trump knew for weeks that his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had misled the Vice President and apparently White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, among other White House officials about discussions he had with Russia as the Obama administration sanctioned them at the end of calendar year 2016 for interfering in the election. The warning that Flynn misled the White House first came from the Department of Justice and the White House says that it quickly escalated from there.