The political director of NBC News insisted the media is not biased to the left.
But in the same interview, Chuck Todd also acknowledged cultural bias, called Sen. Ted Cruz non-credible, claimed there aren’t two sides to some issues, and said neither critical race theory nor claims of liberal media bias are worth covering on “Meet the Press.”
Mr. Todd, the host of “Meet the Press,” told the Verge in Tuesday’s interview that claims of liberal media bias are merely gaslighting lies that Republicans have spread for decades.
“Where we did get lost in this, and this sort of happened to mainstream media, in particular, is that we did let Republican critics get in our heads, right? The Republicans have been running on, ‘There’s a liberal bias in the media.’ And talk about, if you say something long enough, there are liberals who say there’s a liberal bias in the media when you see polling now,” Mr. Todd said.
He said the media should “have fought back better” against Republican claims.
“We shouldn’t [have] accepted the premise that there was liberal bias,” he said, though he went on to give a host of arguments that any apparent bias was justified.
“I hear the attacks on fact checkers where they ‘fact-check Republicans six times more than they fact-check Democrats.’ Yeah. Perhaps the Republicans are being factually incorrect more often than the Democrats,” he said.
When the questioner asked specifically about Mr. Cruz, Mr. Todd didn’t directly say he’d never have the Texas Republican on — “I never say never on anybody” — but he agreed with the questioner’s premise that Mr. Cruz is lying about, specifically, the federal law on internet regulations.
“This is a case where I don’t know if I’d put him on,” Mr. Todd said. “I’m not going to put somebody on who I know is knowingly going to gaslight the viewer.”
Balance is bad, Mr. Todd went on to explain, and a quest for balance has enabled Republican attacks on the mainstream media.
“We ended up in this both-sides trope. We bought into the idea that, ‘Oh my God, we’re perceived as having a liberal bias.’ And I think for particularly the first decade of the century, I’d say mainstream media overcorrected. And we bought into the Fox motto of ‘balance.’ And it’s like, Jesus, there’s no balance, they need the truth,” he said.
When the issue of critical race theory was raised, Mr. Todd said his show should not bless a manufactured controversy by acknowledging it.
“Just because something is hot in the cable news universe, doesn’t mean it’s a relevant topic that we ought to spend a lot of time on. Hence, critical race theory. Critical race theory, is it a real issue or is it a manufactured issue on the right? Well, eventually the answer to both questions may be yes, but I’m not sure ‘Meet the Press’ should be giving it extra oxygen because I do think it means something when we delve in on an issue,” he said.
Mr. Todd also, while denying political bias, acknowledged cultural bias that, a Hot Air blogger dryly asked, somehow doesn’t have a political dimension.
“Frankly, there’s four cultural centers in America, right? For entertainment, it’s LA. For tech, it’s essentially San Francisco. For finance and media, it’s New York. And then D.C., for politics. All four of them, though, have a common cultural identity, when it comes to perhaps religion, when it comes to some sort of cultural norms,” he noted.
He said Roger Ailes and Fox News exploited that cultural gap “so that they could say, ‘Hey, that proves there’s a liberal bias,’ when really, this was just more of an urban/rural divide, not a left/right divide.”
• Victor Morton can be reached at email@example.com.
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