MSNBC Frets Over Media Providing ‘Platform for the President’s Lies and Propaganda’

Touting Democrats demanding equal air time from the media to respond to President Trump’s upcoming White House address on immigration, on Tuesday, MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin noted that the call came “after networks were criticized for airing the President’s address in the first place.” In the discussion that followed, pundits worried that the press was providing a “platform” for the President’s “propaganda.”

One of Melvin’s guests, NBC News Senior Media Reporter Dylan Byers, wrote an article for the network’s website on Monday in which he described how “Networks and cable news operations have come under pressure to limit Trump's unfiltered messages, with critics and news fact-checkers asserting that the president routinely spreads falsehoods.”

 

 

While Byers agreed with the decision by the networks to air the Oval Office speech, during his Tuesday appearance, he fretted that “what the White House has done here is put the broadcast networks in a really, really impossible position.” The reporter warned:

...if you go ahead and you air Trump’s address, as they’re planning to do, you anger all of those, you know, Obama supporters and Trump critics, and you also run the risk of effectively – of serving as a platform for the President’s lies and propaganda.

Now, at the same time, if you don’t do it, you confirm every suspicion that Trump supporters have about a media bias toward President Trump. You also risk ignoring what could be a major consequential news event which will have, you know, major political, economic, and cultural implications for the entire country.

Melvin’s other guest, left-wing Princeton University Professor Eddie Glaude, also thought it was appropriate for the press to cover Trump’s address. However, like Byers, he worried:

...we should be very clear that even if he declares a national emergency, he’s lying. Even if he declares it, it will be a declaration of a falsehood. Because we know that there’s no national emergency to drive this policy. And this is part of the problem. The major networks have to make the decision whether or not they’re going to be platforms for the President’s propaganda. They have to make a decision whether or not they're going to pay attention to their profits or they’re going to pay attention to their role as the Fourth Estate. And sometimes those two things collide.

“And every time that Donald Trump tells a lie, he erodes the foundation of our democracy....it’s incumbent upon those who are making these decisions to understand the press’s role in securing the health of our democracy,” Glaude added.

After claiming that the left-wing ideologue made a “great point,” Byers voiced the media “frustration” that “fact checking doesn’t seem to move the needle in terms of how Trump supporters feel about” the President:

I mean, there’s been this constant effort by the media to hold the President Trump’s feet to the fire day after day after day. And I think what we’ve learned over time is that at least among that core group of supporters, his feet don’t burn.

Moments later, Glaude ranted: “I mean, we all know intuitively that this is a political ploy. We all understand that what he’s trying to do is he’s trying to leverage the platforms of the major networks to do what he does every day on Fox News.”

He wrapped up the segment by suggesting networks use the news crawl at the bottom of the screen to call out Trump’s “lies” as he spoke: “And I think sometimes it very well may be the case that you have to have that little ticker tape underneath him and fact check him in real time. Just, ‘Lie,’ bing, ‘lie,’ bing, ‘lie.’ Because that’s what he’s doing.”

The Trump derangement among journalists has gotten so intense that they actually feel guilty for covering major news events involving the President of the United States.

Here is a full transcript of the January 8 discussion:

11:40 AM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: Several major television networks announced they will air the Democratic response, to be delivered by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, to President Trump’s Oval Office address tonight. Democratic leaders demanded equal air time in a statement, quote, “Now that the television networks have decided to air the President’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal air time.”

That coming after networks were criticized for airing the President’s address in the first place. NBC’s Dylan Byers is our Senior Media Reporter, he’s just written about the backlash to the networks’ decision to air the President’s message. And Eddie Glaude is the chairman of the Princeton Center for African American Studies and also an MSNBC contributor.

Dylan, I’ll start with you. In your piece, you write in part, “The four major networks have not had a consistent policy when it comes to airing presidential addresses on immigration. They aired President George W. Bush’s prime-time address on immigration in 2006, but did not air one by President Barack Obama in 2014. What makes this address different?

DYLAN BYERS: Nothing, actually, in my view. I mean, some people would argue that the stakes are higher. There’s an indication that President Trump plans to declare a state of national emergency. Obviously, that is a major event, whether you like it or not. Whether you agree with the fundamentals of that argument or not, that is a major event that deserves to be covered.

Look, it’s my view, Craig, that the networks made a huge mistake in 2014 when they didn’t cover Obama’s address. I guess my feeling, the feeling of a lot of folks I talk to at these networks, is, okay, if we made a mistake in 2014, why should we make a mistake again in 2019 with President Trump?

And, look, what the White House has done here is put the broadcast networks in a really, really impossible position. And the reason is, if you go ahead and you air Trump’s address, as they’re planning to do, you anger all of those, you know, Obama supporters and Trump critics, and you also run the risk of effectively – of serving as a platform for the President’s lies and propaganda.

Now, at the same time, if you don’t do it, you confirm every suspicion that Trump supporters have about a media bias toward President Trump. You also risk ignoring what could be a major consequential news event which will have, you know, major political, economic, and cultural implications for the entire country.

So it’s an impossible position. It’s the reason that all of these broadcast networks spent so much time deliberating over this decision yesterday. But at the end of the day, how do you say no to an address that could potentially be so consequential?

MELVIN: Professor Glaude, did the networks make the right choice here to air President Trump’s Oval Office address tonight?

EDDIE GLAUDE: I think I agree with Dylan in this sense, that to the extent to which President Trump may announce or declare a national emergency, it is incumbent upon the major networks to cover it. I think they’ve made the right decision in order to give – to give the Democrats equal time so they can respond to it.

But I think it’s very – we should be very clear that even if he declares a national emergency, he’s lying. Even if he declares it, it will be a declaration of a falsehood. Because we know that there’s no national emergency to drive this policy. And this is part of the problem. The major networks have to make the decision whether or not they’re going to be platforms for the President’s propaganda. They have to make a decision whether or not they're going to pay attention to their profits or they’re going to pay attention to their role as the fourth estate. And sometimes those two things collide.

And every time that Donald Trump tells a lie, he erodes the foundation of our democracy. And so, I think it’s incumbent upon those who are making these decisions to understand the press’s role in securing the health of our democracy. And what we do know, even if he declares a national emergency, which is national news, he’s lying.

BYERS: Craig, that’s a great point. Let me just add to that really quickly.

MELVIN: Sure.

BYERS: You know, there’s this perception that whenever the networks cover President Trump that somehow they are, you know, endorsing him or somehow they’re just giving him a platform to spread, you know, falsehoods and lies without being checked. And that’s just not the truth. I mean, even throughout the 2016 campaign, so often so much of the air time that Donald Trump, and then President Trump, received was sort of contextualized by a great deal of fact checking.

I think one of the frustrations that so many folks have is that so often that fact checking doesn’t seem to move the needle in terms of how Trump supporters feel about them. I mean, there’s been this constant effort by the media to hold the President Trump’s feet to the fire day after day after day. And I think what we’ve learned over time is that at least among that core group of supporters, his feet don’t burn.

And so, you know, I get that that’s a source of frustration, but at the end of the day, the news organizations have to walk that fine line. They have to cover the news, that is their mandate. And they have to do the best that they can contextualizing that with fact checking and solid, smart, informed analysis.

MELVIN: Professor, one of the things that stood out yesterday among the coverage after the networks sort of announced their decision was a reporter who pointed out the State of the Union’s in just a few weeks. Why not wait until the State of the Union? Why do it tonight?

GLAUDE: I mean, exactly. I mean, we all know intuitively that this is a political ploy. We all understand that what he’s trying to do is he’s trying to leverage the platforms of the major networks to do what he does every day on Fox News. He’s gonna try to make the argument and shift the blame to the Democrats for the, quote, unquote “manufactured crisis.” It’s not quote, unquote, the manufactured crisis at the southern border.

And so, part of the dilemma is how – involves how we might – how are we to respond to this? Because we know what he’s doing. And I think sometimes it very well may be the case that you have to have that little ticker tape underneath him and fact check him in real time. Just, “Lie,” bing, “lie,” bing, “lie.” Because that’s what he’s doing.

Because what we’re seeing is that Donald Trump uses the news media as if he’s on Madison Avenue. He’s constantly manipulating it and manipulating the public. And we have to figure out how to orient ourselves critically to it in real time. Because he’s, in so many ways, distorting and disfiguring our democracy. So the stakes are so high, as we kind of walk this delicate line that Dylan was talking about. The stakes are tremendously high.

MELVIN: I’ve enjoyed this conversation, gentlemen, thank you.

NBDaily Immigration Conservatives & Republicans MSNBC Video Eddie Glaude Craig Melvin Dylan Byers Donald Trump

Sponsored Links