Chuck Todd Derides Trump’s ‘Friendly Media Outlets,’ ‘Kool-Aid Orbit’

Minutes after the White House and congressional Republicans released the much-anticipated FISA memo detailing allegations of political bias in the Justice Department’s Russia investigation, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd took to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports to denounce the move and media competitors who got the scoop first.

“Well, I have to say, the House Republican Intel folks are actually making their partisan case look even worse right now, because they are releasing excerpts of the memo already to friendly media outlets, almost trying to build a narrative and control the headlines, the early headlines, and create this sort of, you know, help feed a feeding frenzy,” Todd whined.

 

 

Ironically, the memo itself accused the liberal media of helping to “build a narrative” around the unsubstantiated anti-Trump dossier compiled by Christopher Steele and paid for by the Democratic National Committee. As The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro explained:

The Carter Page FISA application apparently cited a Yahoo News article that was based on leaks from Steele to the news outlet. But that was not independent corroborating evidence of the Steele dossier — it was a repetition of the information Steele was disseminating. Steele was later suspended and terminated from the FBI for “an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI.”

Talk about trying to “control the headlines.”

Continuing his rant, Todd proclaimed: “I think it only lessens the impact of the memo itself, because the whole thing just smacks of a partisan exercise....it’s being released to the public, but some people get the memo first, from friendly media outlets....this is what a campaign would do.”

Later on the program, anchor Andrea Mitchell joined in Todd’s hand-wringing:

Chuck Todd, here you have an echo chamber where people who go to one news organization or another are going to be reaffirmed. The President will watch Fox News and say, “You see, I really was being victimized.” And by the time the Democratic memo, if they do decide to release something, catches up with it or commentary...

Clearly Mitchell was terrified at the prospect that anyone other than Democrats would drive the news cycle.

Todd wrapped up the exchange by dismissing President Trump’s supporters as members of a cult:

And ultimately, his actions, the President’s actions here, only raise the suspicion of those that aren’t sort of in his sort of, you know, in his sort of – in his Kool-Aid orbit. You know, outside of the Kool-Aid orbit, everybody else is wondering, “Why is he denying – why is he so trying to thwart this investigation so much?”

Here are excerpts of the February 2 coverage:

12:06 PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: So importantly, he has declassified the memo, it’s been sent to the House, they are about to release it. And we know it has been described as cherry-picked, inaccurate, of grave concern to the FBI.

CHUCK TODD: Well, I have to say, the House Republican Intel folks are actually making their partisan case look even worse right now, because they are releasing excerpts of the memo already to friendly media outlets, almost trying to build a narrative and control the headlines, the early headlines, and create this sort of, you know, help feed a feeding frenzy.

So if they were trying to make this seem like less of a partisan exercise, they’re doing a horrendous job of it. It is – this process has been so tainted by politics now on their end, and as they’re trying to allege politics tainting the process on the investigation end, and maybe that’s part of the plan. Maybe that’s okay with the President. Maybe that’s all about trying to just make this look like a political exercise, not a national security investigation.

So tactically, I get what they’re doing, but I think it only lessens the impact of the memo itself, because the whole thing just smacks of a partisan exercise. How they wrote the memo, how they released the memo, and even now, how they’re – you know, it’s being released to the public, but some people get the memo first, from friendly media outlets. It’s just a – again, this is what a campaign would do, not somebody who truly – not an entity that cared about the rule of law and trying to be above politics with something.

MITCHELL: As you point out, those media outlets who got it first are only reporting on what they are being told the memo says. They’re not reporting on the larger context and what led up to Carter Page having been surveilled by the FBI.

(...)

12:37 PM ET

MITCHELL: Chuck Todd, here you have an echo chamber where people who go to one news organization or another are going to be reaffirmed. The President will watch Fox News and say, “You see, I really was being victimized.” And by the time the Democratic memo, if they do decide to release something, catches up with it or commentary – even when the so-called torture report, which John McLaughlin just referred to, was released separately by Dianne Feinstein and by the then-minority view from the Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee, they were simultaneously released so you could at least look at both sets of facts.

TODD: Well, it goes to what John McLaughlin talked about earlier when he lamented the fact that this is probably going to permanently change the – and I say permanently, it’s gonna to take a good decade, I think, frankly, for the relationship between the legislative branch and the intelligence community to get repaired. This is going to be the partisan skepticism that’s gonna be there, frankly, for some time now, I think. It is gonna be something that it’s gonna make it feel like sort of the relationship that Congress had with the CIA in the ‘70s, to be honest, and some of that. So it is gonna damage that for a long time.

Look, I think it’s important to realize what’s not in the memo, right? The memo does not make a case that Carter Page wasn’t a person of interest. The memo doesn’t make a good case that anything in the Steele Dossier was somehow falsified or faked. I think those are two things that if this memo had, it would make their – it would actually give them fodder to make the case that this was trumped up in order to go on a, quote, “fishing expedition” of Carter Page.

But that’s the fatal flaw, I think, in the push-back that Republicans are having in trying to go after the investigators here. They’re essentially trying to stir up questions about the motives of the investigators. And yet, they’ve yet to be able to undermine any of the basic facts of the investigation.

And then of course, you’ve got the one giant question that hangs over the head of White House staffers I’ve talked to who want to believe there’s nothing there with the President. And they keep coming to the – they keep asking the same question, “We don’t see it, but what is he afraid of? Why does he keep getting involved in this investigation? Why is he so active? What is he afraid of?” And ultimately, his actions, the President’s actions here, only raise the suspicion of those that aren’t sort of in his sort of, you know, in his sort of – in his Kool-Aid orbit. You know, outside of the Kool-Aid orbit, everybody else is wondering, “Why is he denying – why is he so trying to thwart this investigation so much?”

(...)

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