NBC 15X More Interested in Ex-Host Attacking Trump Than GOP Tax Bill

In its desperation to avoid any discussion of a potential major legislative win for the Trump administration and congressional Republicans, Monday’s NBC Today devoted an astonishing 15 times more coverage to the morning show’s fired co-host Billy Bush attacking President Trump in a New York Times op/ed than to the GOP tax bill working its way through Congress.  

“Now on to that scathing on op/ed from Billy Bush in this morning’s New York Times. In it, he takes the President to task over their notorious exchange during a taping for Access Hollywood,” co-host Hoda Kotb hailed as she introduced 4 minutes 49 seconds of coverage on the rehashing of the year-old controversy (Another full minute of coverage came at the top of the 8 a.m. ET hour, making the show total 5 minutes 49 seconds).

Correspondent Kristen Welker followed by eagerly reminding viewers: “Everyone remembers that now-infamous Access Hollywood tape that nearly cost then-candidate Trump the election.” Noting anonymous sources claiming that “in recent weeks, Mr. Trump has reportedly been questioning the authenticity of the tape,” Welker touted how “Billy Bush, who lost his job over the controversy, is speaking out.” She proclaimed: “His message, the tape is real and the President’s denials have hit a raw nerve.”

Continuing the segment, Welker announced: “This morning, an old controversy now back in the spotlight.”

 

 

Despite Bush’s abrupt dismissal from the network in 2016, she happily promoted her former colleague’s attacks on the President:

Bush now noting that the President is “indulging in some revisionist history,” adding that “seven other guys” heard the conversation and “Every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass stand-up act. He was performing. Surely, we thought. None of this was real. We now know better.”

Bush, who was fired from NBC News following the tape’s release, goes on to say he believes several of the women who have accused the President of harassment. Saying the behavior Trump describes on the Access Hollywood tape is similar to their accusations...

Immediately following the report, Savannah Guthrie grilled former Trump campaign aides on the matter:

> Now, David [Bossie], you were the deputy campaign manager. You actually showed him the Access Hollywood tape on your iPad when it came out. Is it real?

> And did the President acknowledge that it was real then? We know he did on tape, but even in those moments?

> ...but if he is, Corey [Lewandowski], talking to people in his inside circle and suggesting, “You know, maybe that tape’s fake,” I mean, if that’s true, why would he do that? You know him better than anybody?

Lewandowski pointed out: “...I’ve spoken to the President dozens, hundreds of times, thousands in my life. I’ve never heard him say that. So where are these sources where the fake news wants to report this? You know, anonymous sources...”

While Today was busy showing sudden respect for someone the network fired just one year earlier, the broadcast only managed to offer a pathetic 23 seconds updating viewers on the status of the Republican tax bill – which just passed a significant legislative hurdle after being approved by the Senate over the weekend.

In sharp contrast, the coverage on ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday was the exact inverse of Today’s. Only 32 seconds was given to discussing Bush’s anti-Trump tirade, while 5 minutes 30 seconds was provided on the GOP tax bill. Though the tone of the tax coverage was decidedly negative, with political analyst Matthew Dowd actually arguing that passage of the bill would be bad for Republicans and a “great benefit” to Democrats.

CBS This Morning devoted a remarkable 14 minutes 39 seconds to reporting and analysis of the tax plan, though like ABC, it had a pessimistic view. Only 27 seconds was given to Bush’s rant against Trump.

The biased coverage on the Today show was brought to viewers by Capital One, Panera Bread, and Ford.

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Here are excerpts of the December 4 reporting:

7:05 AM ET

HODA KOTB: Now on to that scathing on op/ed from Billy Bush in this morning’s New York Times. In it, he takes the President to task over their notorious exchange during a taping for Access Hollywood. NBC’s White House correspondent, Kristen Welker, has that story. Kristen, good morning.

KRISTEN WELKER: Hoda, good morning to you. Everyone remembers that now-infamous Access Hollywood tape that nearly cost then-candidate Trump the election. Well, in recent weeks, Mr. Trump has reportedly been questioning the authenticity of the tape. Now overnight, Billy Bush, who lost his job over the controversy, is speaking out. His message, the tape is real and the President’s denials have hit a raw nerve.

This morning, an old controversy now back in the spotlight. Former TV host, Billy Bush, taking aim at the President overnight, over that now-infamous Access Hollywood tape.

DONALD TRUMP: Grab ‘em by the *****

WELKER: Bush, writing in an op-ed for The New York Times, “Yes, Donald Trump, you said that. It comes after a report in The New York Times last week that “In recent days, (President Trump) has continued to seed doubt about his appearance on the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape,” telling people close to him, including a Republican senator, the tape may have been fake and that he wants to investigate the recording.

TRUMP: I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.

WELKER: An issue the President apologized for right after the tape was released. Bush now noting that the President is “indulging in some revisionist history,” adding that “seven other guys” heard the conversation and “Every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass stand-up act. He was performing. Surely, we thought. None of this was real. We now know better.”

Bush, who was fired from NBC News following the tape’s release, goes on to say he believes several of the women who have accused the President of harassment. Saying the behavior Trump describes on the Access Hollywood tape is similar to their accusations, writing about one accuser, “Her story makes the whole ‘Better use some tic tacs and just start kissing them’ routine real. I believe her.”

(...)

WELKER: For his part, Bush says today is about a reckoning and a real wakening, and calls last year an odyssey, one which he hopes to never face again.

(...)

7:08 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let me start with this Access Hollywood tape. Because as you know, it’s been reported that the President recently has started to suggest to people in his inner circle, and including one senator, that maybe that tape wasn’t real. Maybe he really didn’t say those things. Now, David, you were the deputy campaign manager. You actually showed him the Access Hollywood tape on your iPad when it came out. Is it real?

DAVID BOSSIE: Well, I said yesterday on Meet the Press that it is, of course, real.

GUTHRIE: And did the President acknowledge that it was real then? We know he did on tape, but even in those moments?

BOSSIE: The President made a tape where he acknowledged having the locker room talk. And I think that that’s where it ends with him. It was all about the talk. And now I understand Billy Bush is coming out, that’s all well and good. We wouldn’t be talking about this today – I don’t think – if all these high-profile folks in the last month hadn’t had a problem. And I think this is behind the President and we really want to move forward.

GUTHRIE: Perhaps it was, but if he is, Corey, talking to people in his inside circle and suggesting, “You know, maybe that tape’s fake,” I mean, if that’s true, why would he do that? You know him better than anybody?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI: I know him very, very well.

GUTHRIE: Do you believe he's doubting it?

LEWANDOWSKI: I don’t – look, I’ve spoken to the President dozens, hundreds of times, thousands in my life. I’ve never heard him say that. So where are these sources where the fake news wants to report this? You know, anonymous sources inside is what the President is saying. What we’ve seen time and time again is people want to make up a story that isn’t true.

(...)


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