President Donald Trump’s recent battle with coronavirus not only upended his plans to remain out on the campaign trail in full force over these last few weeks of the election cycle, but it also derailed the televised debate schedule.
These debates are incredibly popular among voters, or, at least they were, up until that last one veered off into inanity and absurdity. In fact, there was a real feeling among Americans that the raucous event could have brought about some much needed change in the way that these things are run.
Instead, Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis prompted the Commission on Presidential debates to move ahead with plans for a “virtual” debate, with candidates answering and responding from remote locations so as not to allow the President to inadvertently spread the highly contagious virus. The Trump team refused this plan, which then led to the Biden campaign organizing a town hall event for Thursday night instead, to air on ABC.
NBC then booked a competing Trump campaign event for the same time, which left many in the media fuming.
NBC News faced a sharp backlash to its decision to host President Donald Trump for a town hall Thursday in direct competition with ABC’s event with Democrat Joe Biden, including a social media call to boycott the network.
MSNBC’s biggest star, Rachel Maddow, made two oblique references to the matter on her show Wednesday. During an interview with Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, Maddow asked whether she was “as mad as everybody else” about the Trump town hall.
“I’m not touching that,” Harris replied.
In a second reference to the town hall as her show ended, Maddow spoke as the words “Apparently They Are Not Kidding” were shown on the screen behind her.
And Maddow wasn’t the only journalist or NBC employee to lash out.
Veteran journalist Jeff Greenfield called it “indefensible” on Twitter, where a call to boycott NBC was a trending topic.
“They rewarded Trump by giving him this time,” Greenfield said in an interview.
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