NBC gave Donald Trump a townhall in competition with Joe Biden’s townhall

Trump and Biden Meet in First Presidential Debate

So yesterday, I was actively trying NOT to follow all of the bulls–t news that was “breaking” or “just in” or whatever. I would love to be able to take a pill and wake up the day after Election Day because the next 19 days are for sure going to feature the four horsemen of the apocalypse. But I guess we have to pretend to pay attention or else everything else will fall apart and just… whatever. The news came out yesterday: NBC invited Donald Trump to do a 90-minute town hall on what would have been the night of the second debate. The debate commission wanted to do the debate virtually, but Don the Coward said no and stomped his feet a little. The thing is, ABC had already invited Joe Biden to do a town hall on their network, and NBC positioned their “ask” specifically for the same timeslot. So now instead of fighting over Amy Coney Barrett’s assholery, we’re talking about… television ratings.

After Joe Biden’s campaign announced a town hall with ABC News following President Donald Trump’s declaration that he wouldn’t participate in the second debate, the president and his team sensed an opportunity for another media spectacle. On Wednesday, NBC News delivered. The network announced that it will hold a town hall with the president on Thursday at the same exact time that a town hall with former Vice President Joe Biden will air on ABC News. NBC’s programming decision, critics complained shortly after the network touted it, plays into Trump’s hands.

According to multiple sources familiar with the president’s thinking, Trump has told close associates that he wishes to counter-program the Biden town hall and score higher TV viewership numbers, and then use such a contrast in ratings to humiliate his Democratic opponent. Predictably, Trump also wants his 2020 team to make a big deal out of pushing out those numbers, should his hour’s ratings beat Biden’s 90-minute event.

“He looks at this the same way he looks at attendance at his rallies versus the [turnout] Biden gets for his events,” one of these people told The Daily Beast. “He obviously wants to blow Biden out of the water.”

The brazen move to counter-program the previously announced Biden town hall almost immediately sparked backlash against NBC News. The network’s leadership faced a barrage of condemnation on Wednesday after the last-minute announcement that the broadcast network—along with its sister cable outlets MSNBC, CNBC, and Telemundo, and their digital platforms such as NBC News NOW and the new streaming service Peacock—would air the live event on Thursday night during the same hour as ABC News’ previously scheduled town hall with Biden.

“It’s an irresponsible and selfish move by NBC,” a source close to the Biden campaign texted The Daily Beast. “If they’re going to allow Donald Trump an hour of air time to spread disinformation about COVID and repeat his greatest hits of lies and conspiracy theories, they ought to at least do it an hour later and let voters hear from both candidates. Broadcast networks have a role in our Democratic process, and NBC doesn’t seem to be taking theirs very seriously today.”

[From The Daily Beast]

Savannah Guthrie is set to moderate NBC’s Trumpathon and George Stephanopoulos will moderate the Biden townhall. I’m of the opinion that Biden has looked presidential for months by insisting on a socially-distant campaign, and refusing to pack people into closed spaces whatsoever. I know the media hates it, but Biden has shown real leadership in how he’s conducted his campaign. I feel like that’s what this is about too – TV stations are mad that Biden won’t play ball, that he’s not looking to endanger anyone in the middle of a pandemic, unlike the unhinged nutjob in the All-White House.

Anyway, my point is that Biden doesn’t give a f–k about ratings and neither do I, honestly. What I do care about is the network which is still sitting on hours of B-roll of Trump is now giving him free air time to spread his bullsh-t. Imagine if the NBC News had actually used their resources to, like, go down to their archives and pull all of their tapes of Donald Trump over the years.

President Trump Delivers Address On Law And Order At White House

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.

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54 Responses to “NBC gave Donald Trump a townhall in competition with Joe Biden’s townhall”

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  1. Escondista says:

    Well I won’t be watching NBC for a long time after this. I will be sure to let them know as well.
    I don’t care about ratings either but rewarding this as$hole with what he wants – tons of attention and airtime – is just beyond the pale. Shame on NBC.

    • shanaynay says:


    • Tanguerita says:

      Same here. Not till they fire Chuck Todd, so probably never.

      • Yvette says:

        @Tanguerita … Thank you! I don’t know ‘how’ Chuck Todd has held onto his ‘Meet the Press’ gig as long as he has. I never understood why David Gregory was fired.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Wonder what Mark Burnett has on some of them, tucked into his “Apprentice “ vault with #TangerineTraitor’s tapes? Noel Casler says there is a pirate’s booty of stuff in there.

      Guess NBC will be getting a lot of phone calls letters on soc. media about this. I sure as hell will let them know why I’m dropping Peacock and not watching their shows now. I HATE giving up Nicole and Rachel, but will get their content on Twitter

      ETA: Just went into their Twitter and voiced my displeasure. Hope you all do so, and tell your friends, too. NBC needs to hear us

    • ATLMathMom says:

      Rachel Maddow said on her show last night that NBC is making MSNBC carry it too. So no MSNBC tonight either.

    • escondista says:

      Good luck with the “Media is the enemy of the people” crowd, NBC

    • paranormalgirl says:

      Just canceled our Peacock subscription (husband is in entertainment, he subscribes to all major streaming). Screw you, NBC.

      • Badrockandroll says:

        @Paranormalgirl: with your husband in entertainment, you may be well placed to answer a few questions for me, and I hope you don’t mind.
        I’m Canadian, and my heart has been in my mouth for 4 years because everything that happens in the US affects us in one way or another. I can’t donate money, I tried to donate time, but that was also refused. Do you know if Canadian households are measured in ratings? If I watch Biden through the internet, will my foreign address register as a hit? And I will add my disappointment in NBC here. I need MSNBC’s powerhouse women to guide me through this $hitstorm of stupidity, so I don’t think that I will /can boycott anything but Chuck Todd.
        And another question – anyone remember how Tom Arnold was going after Mark Burnett – I suppose nothing came of that either.

  2. Snuffles says:

    Guess who’s watching Good Morning America now?

  3. scollins says:

    NBC gets conned by tRump.
    Sweet Baby Jesus make it stop.
    All of the lying cheating stealing racist hate and super spreading.

    • Lemons says:

      They’re not getting conned. They are complicit. The media has always been complicit in his election because they have never had so many eyes watching this trainwreck translating into viewers of their network.

      • scollins says:

        I agree with the complicity, also see it as a con job, both trump and NBC conning.
        I’ve worked some campaigns and the most honest press coverage I’ve seen as an insider has come from the overseas press, Guardian, BBC.

      • Tanguerita says:

        Yep. We should stop pretending that media hasn’t been actively helping Trump in the past four years, multiplying every word and action of that orange amoral imbecil. Just look at the dirty hack Maggie Habermann, who sold her soul and integrity for the access to Kushners – that’s all you need to know about media. They would do everything to keep Trump in the White House, because he is the one who is keeping them in business.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        Wasnt/isn’t Haberman’s mother invoked with Trump (did his publicity or something)?? There is a family connection. Haberman is a sycophantic hack. Wouldn’t read a word she writes.

      • Tanguerita says:

        @(TheOG). Yes, she was, yes, she is, and no, neither would I, never. She was the reason why I cancelled my NYT-subscription.

    • Ariel says:

      Imagine, the men who propped up and defended rapist/harasser lauer for 25 years, and never released tapes of trump being disgusting before the 2016 election, are going for a trump pleasing ratings grab?
      Shocked, i tell you, just…… sounds about right.
      I don’t think i watch anything on nbc anyway. But i’ll stop.
      They are aiding and abetting the endangerment of our democracy.

      Also, Biden supporters, we know who we are voting for, do we need to watch Biden?
      One of the greatest things about it is, he’s not going to shock, horrify or surprise us.
      And god bless him for that.

      But the trumpers- they will watch specifically to help him “win” in the ratings.
      B/c they want to please dear leader, and “own the libs”.

      So happy i never had children.

  4. Lightpurple says:

    This household will have three televisions turned into the Biden town hall.

    • shanaynay says:

      Love it! Same here!

    • FancyPants says:

      Does it count per TV now? I had a Nielsen box back when I lived in Mississippi and it only counted that one TV, but that was at least 10 years ago.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        I was. Nielsen “family” as well, about 30 yrs ago. They took what I was recording on my TiVos. Didn’t have any box on the tv.

    • H says:

      Yep, we have a TV (antenna) is every room. All will be on ABC tonight.

  5. Darla says:

    I’m so relieved there’s no debate so I don’t have to hear about it. I didn’t watch the first one and won’t watch anything with trump in it. But I will watch Biden’s townhall. I’m not so sure that trump is going to get good ratings.

    • Escondista says:

      Plenty of people will watch trump and love him but he should have to beg Fox or OANN for the time.

  6. Swack says:

    Will Trump be allowed to pack the town hall with his worshippers or will they limit how many can be there? It will just be another rally for him and nothing new will be learned.

  7. grabbyhands says:

    Not that I watch a lot of network TV these days, but when I do I will make sure NBC no longer counts me as a viewer.

    I guess it shouldn’t come as a shock that the network that enabled Matt Lauer to get away with his abuse for so long is allowing this fascist a 90 minute propaganda circle jerk.

  8. Becks1 says:

    I was really disappointed in NBC when I heard this. And I like Savannah Guthrie fine, but I’m not sure she’s going to be able to hold Trump’s feet to the fire like a moderator needs to do in this kind of setting. If someone asks Trump about COVID, and he just blatantly lies, is she going to press him on that? I would have preferred someone like Joy Ann Reid or Nicolle Wallace for this. Not that it matters, I’m not watching.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      LOVE Joy and Nicole! Gotta say, it’d piss #TangerineTraitor’s orange ass to hell and back if Joy was mod: a woman,,,a SMART woman,,,A SMART WOMAN OF COLOR would destroy his ego.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      I seriously doubt Joy or Nicole would participate in this sham. I can’t believe Savannah is willing to be in the same room with Typhoid Trump. I would tell NBC to find someone else if they want to continue this nonsense.

  9. Ann says:

    Let’s not forget how Matt Lauer treated Hillary Clinton. NBC News has lost all credibility with me. They could have EASILY scheduled it on a different day, but they did this on purpose at 8 pm as a middle finger to ABC. Eeew. I bet Lester Holt refused to do it. Savannah should have, too.

    • PunkyMomma says:

      👆🏻This. Lauer was despicable during that town hall.

      I’m infuriated that NBC is complicit in an obvious attempt to aid 45 in damage control. 🤯

  10. Jennifer says:

    Is there a chance they are trying to sabotage him by just letting him talk? What are the chances it’s going to go well for him? He’s not articulate, kind, or intelligent. The last debate was a disaster for him.

  11. Miranda says:

    Trump is every 6-year-old who has yet to learn that not all attention is GOOD attention. Without Biden to shout at, he’s gonna be “Old Man Yells At Cloud.” Except the cloud will be a steroid-induced hallucination. People will notice when he can’t/won’t answer questions (which are kinda the purpose of the town hall format…). If NBC insists on coddling him like this, Savannah Guthrie had better not be afraid to lay down the law.

    In other news, a friend who lives in a red state told me yesterday that when her younger sister, who’s voting for the first time, asked a question about the ballot, the poll worker told her “oh, don’t worry about picking a candidate for each office, just vote the straight ticket, hon”. That would be alarming advice in ANY state, but in a Republican one? Tampering in whatever way they can, it seems…

    • Becks1 says:

      a Poll worker said that?!?!? She should file a complaint, even if it doesn’t make a difference.

      And I agree about the good attention vs bad attention. I think a lot of people who will watch this town hall are going to be watching just to see Trump implode.

      (as an aside, who actually watches town halls? I like the town hall format for a debate, but actual town halls are pretty boring to me, is that bad to admit lol. But I do think a town hall format plays to Biden’s strengths. But who is going to be sitting at home tonight and think, man, I really need to watch Trump on NBC?)

      • Miranda says:

        Apparently she realized it was fishy enough to report it! And according to a Facebook post she wrote this morning, a couple of her classmates had similar experiences and will also be reporting it.

        And yeah, I can’t even watch Trump in a “hahaha, this shitshow is hilaaaarious” way. There’s way too much at stake to use him as MST3K-type material, not to mention, it’s almost physically painful to listen to him speak. My 2nd graders have bigly-er vocabularies. Probably better-informed, too.

      • Rita says:

        Watch Trump vote Biden

    • Lightpurple says:

      I hope she alerted someone there immediately. I caught a new poll worker doing that once and challenged her. She threatened to have me removed and called the cop and poll supervisor over. She was new, I wasn’t and both greeted me by name. I told them what was happening, took my ballot and voted. When I stepped out of the booth, she was gone. The cop, who went to high school with me, told me that she admitted she was working for Scott Brown’s re-election campaign.

  12. Emily says:

    Catch and Kill did a good job exposing how dirty NBC is. This isn’t surprising at all. There are people at the top of NBC who are probably predators, just like Trump. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump has dirt on them or they run in the same swamp circles.

    The source from the Biden campaign is completely right. It does a disservice to democracy to have both at the same time. They’ve rewarded a toddler for throwing a tantrum. Now instead of the public being able to compare the candidates, its about an echo chamber. Trump supporters will watch Trump, they won’t tune into Biden and maybe have their minds changed.

    The worst part is no fact checking. Media have completely given up on doing their jobs. Letting Trump talk without a running fact check will endanger lives.

    • Becks1 says:

      Completely agree with your entire post, especially about Catch and Kill. I listened to it as an audiobook, and it was so disturbing, even though I knew how it ended (that the story did eventually get published by the New Yorker, etc). The part that stood out to me about NBC was how after the story came out, NBC didn’t want Ronan on any of their shows to talk about it and Maddow asked him on and said “no one tells me who to have on my show.”

      And fact checking – yeah, I just don’t think Savannah is up to that task.

    • Miranda says:

      I mean, didn’t NBC let Matt Lauer have that rape button? Birds of a feather and all that…

    • bluemoonhorse says:

      The media gave up their jobs in 20155-2016 when they refused to expose Trump for what he was. Nope, the NYT ran stories about Mighty Fine Nazis.

      • Emily says:

        You’re right. Media gave up years ago.

        They care more about clicks than journalism. I’m tired of seeing Trump quotes and headlines without the added context of “wrongly claims” or “says with no evidence” or just repeating GOP speaking points without any research/background (e.g. their history of actual court packing).

  13. Sonja says:

    Noel Casler was a show runner on the Apprentice series. He also worked on Miss Universe productions. His Twitter account is a gold mine of Trump history and dreadful behaviour. He has a great and simple explanation of why NBC is allowing this to happen. He’s worth following.

  14. Meli-cali says:

    Done with nbc,,for giving this horrible man airtime…..enablers!

  15. Tiffany says:

    You know what I have found myself thinking about in these past few years, Gov. Howard Dean and how his political career imploded for being excited about campaigning. I watched that live when it happened and the remembering laughing, turning off my tv and doing something else. Last year I spoke to some people about it and someone had a friend who was going to intern for Dean during his campaign and said the friend was excited to get out there because Dean was excited to get out (it was not a act for tv, that is the kind of man he is and the interns loved him) there and get this message to the people. You could not change the channel and not find the media giving this the legitimacy of a ‘scandal’.

    That, for me, was the turning point for how I saw the media and what they will spin. The days of Marrow, Jennings and Rather are done. No lessons have been learned and NBC doing this is not surprising, at all.

    News is not suppose to be sexy and exciting damn it.

  16. bluemoonhorse says:

    Biden has already won the bidding war on fundraising. I hope he runs commercials non-stop on NBC during this farce.

  17. judith A reeder says:

    I wont be watching the liar in chief. the sound of his voice makes me ill!!!

  18. farfromrealitytv says:

    Unpopular opinion, but I don’t care that NBC has given Trump a platform, and it doesn’t surprise me that it’s opposite Biden. That’s programming. What everyone seems to be overlooking, however, is that the original debate was going remote for SAFETY reasons. As in, it wasn’t safe for people to be around Germy McTrumpypants. And as someone in the industry myself, I’m horrified that NBC is exposing their CREW to him. I wish people were raising this as more of an issue, rather than questioning NBC’s quite obvious motives.

  19. Sparky says:

    I follow Trump but not Biden on Twitter but haven’t and will not vote for Trump. The numbers are meaningless. Only the votes count!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Chimes@Midnight says:

    Didn’t NBC get in trouble for having Trump as an SNL host as well? When he had already declared his intention to run? ….or was it the year before, but NBC got a lot of heat for “normalizing him” by letting him host SNL? Something like that.

    • Anna says:

      Yes @Chimes@Midnight I remember that. They did normalize him, and I also blame Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show for a lot of that, too. They normalized fascism and white supremacist dictator-wannabe and that went a long way to bring us to where this country is now.