MSNBC political anchors Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd treated viewers of their show, “The Daily Rundown,” to a subrosa assessment Tuesday morning of what they really think about Donald Trump’s ongoing presidential strip tease: Not much.
After opening their show with excerpts of her one-on-one interview with The Donald (which first aired on “The Today Show” on sister network NBC), Guthrie then chirped out this very telling verbal transition: “But first, we want to get to the real news on the program …”
When the interview finally aired, about 25 minutes in, Guthrie’s reactions to Trump’s answers ranged from puzzled to confused to incredulous – arguably justified, given that he proposed slapping a 25 percent tax on all imported Chinese goods to make the Chinese government “behave” and didn’t know how a constitutional right to privacy played into the debate over abortion.
Todd openly chuckled at that latter faux pas. He also opined that Trump’s refusal to disclose details of his fortune, coupled with his oddly detailed knowledge of the how long he could legally keep that information secret and still remain a candidate, pointed away from a presidential run – a cogent observation that Todd, as political director and White House correspondent for the NBC networks, is more than qualified to make.
However, this display of healthy skepticism raises its own questions: If the network’s smart political reporters don’t believe Trump should be taken seriously, then why interview him in the first place? Why give him a platform, and thus a level of credibility, that your own people don’t seem to believe is journalistically justified?
And why risk creating the perception – true or not -- that NBC’s news outlets are aiding and abetting a disingenuous campaign of shameless self-promotion by the network’s biggest prime-time reality star?
Enjoy this report? Want to have Rich Shumate’s latest updates on cable news emailed directly to you? Just click the “Subscribe” button at the top of this article.