NBC town hall faces criticism from some political reporters for being a ‘Biden infomercial’
Howard Kurtz, ‘Media Buzz’ host, on the backlash Biden is facing following his town hall.
CNN anchor Don Lemon had some harsh words for NBC after the network announced its town hall with President Trump, which is airing opposite of ABC's town hall with Joe Biden on Thursday night.
Calling it the "story of the day," Lemon told his primetime colleague Chris Cuomo that people were "outraged" about the dueling town halls, especially since it was Trump who backed out of the now-canceled virtual debate.
"Why on earth would NBC agree to do that?" Lemon asked. "You can do equal time on a different night! You can do equal time at a different time! You don't have to do it at the same time and then divide the country further by having them choose!"
NBC EMPLOYEES LASH OUT AT NETWORK AFTER ANNOUNCING TRUMP TOWN HALL: 'I'M DISGUSTED BY MY HOME NETWORK'
The "CNN Tonight" anchor accused NBC of "learning nothing from 2016" in "allowing a man who made all the wrong decisions" regarding the president's handling of the coronavirus and "rewarding him with primetime."
"How does it help the American people? How does that help the electorate by putting those two people on at the same time and making people choose from one to the other?" Lemon told Cuomo. "This is an outright embarrassing ratings ploy on behalf of NBC. And I am shocked and surprised that they would allow the president of the United States to do their programming and manipulate them into doing this. This is embarrassing."
Lemon went on to say that he spoke with "several friends" at MSNBC, who he said were "incredulous about this… especially the people of color over there" as well as his "LGBT friends over there."
He then suggested for MSNBC to have Trump on with a host like Rachel Maddow or Joy Reid, "someone where he can be challenged rather than going on a town hall where he's gonna take questions and then he's gonna try to avoid them."
"I am outraged by this and for all of my brothers and sisters who are over at that network and are afraid to speak out because they think that they're gonna lose their job or lose their standing… I will speak out for you," Lemon continued. "It is outrageous and I cannot believe NBC is doing it and I'm sorry for you. And guess what, I think you should speak out. There's no other moment where you have this much leverage and you're going to be able to tell your bosses what you think is right… It is absolutely ridiculous, NBC."
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Cuomo called on NBC to explain why it decided to schedule its town hall at the same time as Biden's on ABC, saying he "may as well watch none of it."
Lemon later added, "We have to stand up for each other. The institution of journalism is under attack. It's not just about ratings. I know there's an entertainment arm over at their network, but I'm thinking about the journalists over there."
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