Chuck Todd ended 2019 with a special edition of Meet the Press on "Alternative Facts: Inside the Weaponization of Disinformation." It felt more like moving Reliable Sources to NBC. It had all the same pomposity about liberals possessing all the truth and conservatives being responsible for all the disinformation.
Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon was the only pundit from the right, and he was Todd's punching bag:
TODD: Matthew, he's getting at what I wanted you to tease out here, which is almost -- it's the cultural connection that the right has decided it doesn't have with mainstream media. So it doesn't matter what we report. "Well, you don't understand my life. So why should I care?"
CONTINETTI: Right. And that cultural disconnect is decades old.
CONTINETTI: What gives us this perfect storm of alt-truth is a few things. One is you have the technological change, which Kara mentioned. Another is you have the institutional breakdown, which I think you showed earlier in the program. Confidence in these big institutions has just totally failed.
TODD: Thank God for Congress, or we'd be the bottom.
CONTINETTI: And then what makes it -- then you have President Trump, right, who kind of plugs into -- benefits from both of those changes but also uses it to amplify his message. And so what you end up with is this place where no one can really agree on the very basic material governing our democracy.
Journalists like Todd decry we can't agree on "shared facts," but so there are so many facts they can't stand to discuss -- take the Horowitz IG report -- that it's a one day story after three years of pushing Russian collusion.
As The Washington Post acknowledged the Horowitz report destroyed the Steele dossier, Todd has nothing to say about how aggressively Rachel Maddow & Co. pushed that disinformation. The problem is only on the Other Side (click "expand"):
TODD: Matthew, I wanted you to address what I think is an ecosystem problem, at least on the right. I want to put up something that my colleague, Ben Collins, put here. It's a bit of an ecosystem here. It'll say, something starts on 4Chan. There's the subreddit of Trump. InfoWars might pick it up. Then it starts inching into the mainstream. Gateway Pundit might just say, "Oh, what's this about?" Then it gets to Drudge, might have a provocative headline link. Rush might say it in his fun, little way. Then it does make its way into Fox News and then, of course, your Facebook feed. How do you create more accountability in the conservative ecosystem for, basically, dealing with propaganda?
CONTINETTI: Well, it's hard work. And I think it begins by trying to instruct young conservatives in the canons of journalism, mainly, empirical verification, right? And this, I think, the distrusted institutions, that’s longstanding among conservatives, has led many of them to no longer believe in the idea that you need, kind of, evidence, in order to forward a fact. Or they don't believe in certain verified sources, credentialed sources, of evidence or information. They don't trust any of it.
There should be a devotion to facts and honesty in conservative media. Sites like ours have no interest in crackpot sites like InfoWars. But if the conservatives have a trust problem with the Old Media, it's only exacerbated by Todd's loaded suggestions that "you people don't care about good reporting, and you spread lies with impunity. You guys have an accountability problem."
Just like Reliable Sources, Todd fiercely defended the anti-Trump press, and suggested they had no need to be questioned.