Yesterday, NBC’s Meet the Press and host Chuck Todd were caught in a deceptive presentation of comments made by U.S. Attorney General William Barr in an interview with CBS News last Thursday.
Barr was asked in the CBS interview how he thought history would look back on the Department of Justice’s decision to drop criminal charges against General Michael Flynn. He prefaced his answer lightheartedly with the old saw that “history is written by the winners” indicating it remains to be seen how this decision will be remembered. He went on to explain he thought a fair history would show it was a good decision, as he said, “because it upheld the rule of law … it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice…”
On Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan, one of his panelists, to respond to Barr’s statement. But Todd only played the “history is written by the winners” clip followed with Barr’s chuckle. In setting up the clip, he said, “Wait till you hear this answer, take a listen” and clearly shakes his head in editorial disbelief.
Todd then asks Noonan her impression of what he referred to as Barr’s “cynicism of the answer” and surprised that he didn’t make the case that he was upholding the rule of law. The clip makes Barr look flippant and dismissive. However, in the fuller clip, Barr actually did state that the DOJ’s decision was precisely about the rule of law.
Greg Price at the Daily Caller puts the Meet the Press edit of the clip up to the actual CBS interview clip in this tweet. Judge for yourself.
Today on Meet The Press, @chucktodd wildly took context out of an answer AG Bill Barr gave about his decision to drop the case into Gen. Michael Flynn.— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 10, 2020
I cut Todd's segment along with Barr's full answer together. Look at how blatantly dishonest this is. pic.twitter.com/tODOEwL48V
Meet the Press later admitted their mistake via twitter after being called on it by the Depart of Justice’s Director of Communications.
“Earlier today, we inadvertently and inaccurately cut short a video clip of an interview with AG Barr before offering commentary and analysis. The remaining clip included important remarks from the attorney general that we missed, and we regret the error.”
Incidences like this, unfortunately, are not rare. It is just one of the latest demonstrations of why general confidence in the media has been in a multi-year free-fall. As the non-partisan research organization Morning Consult recently reported, “The share of U.S. adults who said nine leading media outlets — including CBS and The New York Times — were credible has dropped roughly 9 percentage points since December 2016…”
Photo is a screenshot from Twitter