NBC News star Hallie Jackson calls release of US prisoners 'choreographed' and 'staged'

NBC News star Hallie Jackson said that President Trump's wee-hours greeting of the three American prisoners who'd been held in North Korea was a “very carefully choreographed,” “staged production meant for television.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland early Thursday with Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim, and they were greeted by the president, first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. The NBC News White House correspondent harped on the fact that the event was televised.

“It was a moment of intense anticipation … very carefully choreographed, right? The vice president landed, the president, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and then that plane carrying these three American citizens,” Jackson said on MSNBC. “Donald Trump is a former reality show producer. This was a staged production meant for television, meant for the cameras, meant to be shown and seen here in this country and around the world.”

TV veterans might argue that if Trump had truly staged the production, he would have gotten much more bang for his buck by delaying it a few hours and interrupting morning shows like "Today” and “Good Morning America,” as opposed to holding it in the middle of the night. The hostages arrived at Andrews about 2:50 a.m. ET, hardly an ideal time for a choreographed, made-for-TV event.

Jackson has been an NBC News reporter since 2014 and had experience in local television before landing at the Peacock Network.

Several critics took to Twitter to mock Jackson for the comments, with many users pointing out that President Obama was widely praised when soldier Bowe Bergdahl was turned over by the Taliban and celebrated in an elaborate Rose Garden ceremony back in 2014.

“The negativity Jackson tried to create out of a positive event came off as more contrived and ‘choreographed’ than the alleged horror she described,” Media Research Center editor Tom Blumer wrote, adding that she “acted as if President Donald Trump had just invented political choreography, and that no previous presidential administration or politician has ever engaged in it.”

Daily Caller media reporter Amber Athey wrote that while Jackson did offer praise to Trump for freeing the hostages, she “seemed to knock him” in the comments about the event being staged for television.

MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.