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George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley blasted NBC News’ Chuck Todd for airing an out-of-context clip of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, saying his decision was even more egregious than a similar move by CNN’s Jim Acosta.
“If an ill-considered tweet is a venial sin for Acosta at CNN, this is a mortal sin for Todd at NBC. This was no careless tweet, but an airing made long after the false account was flagged during the CNN controversy,” Turley wrote.
During a press briefing on Thursday, McEnany reiterated President Trump‘s strong stance on wanting children to go back to school in the fall amid a fiery debate about how educators can prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
Chuck Todd was called out by George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.
“The science should not stand in the way of this, but as Dr. Scott Atlas said — I thought this was a good quote, ‘Of course, we can do it. Everyone else in the Western world, our peer nations are doing it. We are the outlier here,'” McEnany said, quoting the former Stanford Medical Center neurology chief.
“The science is very clear on this. For example, you look at the JAMA pediatric study of 46 pediatric hospitals in North America that said the risk of critical illness from COVID is far less for children than the seasonal flu. The science is on our side here. We encourage localities and states to just simply follow the science. Open our schools,” she continued.
The following day, Turley criticized CNN’s Jim Acosta for tweeting an out-of-context quote taken from McEnany’s comments. “The White House Press Secretary on Trump’s push to reopen schools: ‘The science should not stand in the way of this,'” Acosta wrote.
Acosta was scolded on Twitter and even CNN’s Jake Tapper appeared to criticize his misleading tweet. But then Turley noticed that NBC News’ “Meet The Press” took it a step further and played the misleading clip.
“Chuck Todd on Meet the Press decided to play the misleading clip not once but twice on Sunday. It was not just running an overtly misleading clip but defiantly doing so after other journalists have challenged the erroneous impression left by the clip,” Turley wrote on Sunday. “The misleading quality of the clip clearly was not the problem but the appeal for Meet the Press.”
Turley wrote that Todd’s decision was even worse than Acosta’s.
“As bad as that incident was, it is not nearly as bad as Chuck Todd ignoring the controversy and the correction to repeatedly air the same misleading quote,” Turley wrote.
“NBC was fully aware that the clip was not just misleading but that it conveyed the opposite of what actually was stated in the press conference,” Turley added. “Todd shows clip of people denying the need to wear masks and says that Trump is just ignoring the risks to push to open schools. He then shows the clip of McEnany that is edited to cut off her reference to scientific data, making it sound that she was saying that the science was not important. The clip was played a second time later in the show.”
Turley called NBC News’ decision to run the clip “another example of how the echo-journalistic model not only undermines the faith in the media but actually undermines the effort to fully inform the public on the pandemic.”
The George Washington University law professor said Todd focused on “a false gotcha clip” instead of legitimate questions about the Trump administration’s efforts.
“I was hoping that Todd would return to the earlier clips to offer some context to show that the clip was the opposite of what McEnany clearly meant. However, the show ended without any context, clarification, or correction,” Turley wrote.
NBC News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.