MSNBC host Chuck Todd is under fire for “shoddy journalism" ahead of Wednesday night's Democratic debate, which he will help moderate.
Todd is being criticized for failing to ask the president of liberal advocacy group Center for American Progress about a New York Times bombshell report that 2020 Democratic hopeful Mike Bloomberg avoided critical coverage from the group after giving them money.
“It appears the left is following the Golden Rule -- the one with the gold makes all the rules," Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor told Fox News. "It's shoddy journalism to let them get away with this.”
The New York Times published a feature on Saturday detailing how Bloomberg has built a powerful army of allies through philanthropic spending. According to the report, Bloomberg’s donations put institutions in a position where they are afraid to criticize the former New York City mayor over fears of jeopardizing future financial support.
One example reported by the Times was a 2015 Center for American Progress report on anti-Muslim bias in the United States that was reportedly changed significantly to omit mention of a Bloomberg mayoral policy after he donated nearly $1.5 million to the group.
“Their draft included a chapter of more than 4,000 words about New York City police surveillance of Muslim communities; Mr. Bloomberg was mentioned by name eight times in the chapter, which was reviewed by The Times,” the paper stated. “When the report was published a few weeks later, the chapter was gone. So was any mention of Mr. Bloomberg’s name.”
The report’s author, Yasmine Taeb, told the Times she was instructed to alter or remove the chapter that was harmful to Bloomberg.
“She said she found it ‘disconcerting’ to be asked to remove the chapter ‘because of how it was going to be perceived by Mayor Bloomberg,’” the Times reported, noting that group disputed Taeb’s account, while “three people with direct knowledge of the situation said Mr. Bloomberg was a factor.”
The Times indicated that Bloomberg had already given the Center for American Progress three grants worth nearly $1.5 million prior to the report and contributed another $400,000 in 2017.
Todd hosted Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily” on Tuesday and it initially appeared that he was going to ask about the Times report.
“Will some Democrats feel hesitant to go after Bloomberg because he is such an important donor?” Todd asked Tanden directly, seemingly alluding to the report that her own group is guilty of that specific charge.
“No,” Tanden quickly answered. “I don’t think so.”
Todd reiterated, “You don’t think some interest groups… I mean, does he have an endorsement from anybody that he hasn’t given money to?”
The Center for American Progress honcho responded by predicting that a “fair amount” of criticism is coming Bloomberg’s way.
Todd then wrapped up the segment without offering a follow-up question or mentioning the Times report. Status Coup founder Jordan Chariton called it a “remarkable failure” by Todd and shared a clip of the segment on Twitter.
Chariton elaborated when reached by Fox News, blasting the “Meet the Press” host.
“Todd’s core role is to inform his audience and challenge power. It is growing clearer every day he has no interest or competence in doing either,” Chariton said. "He might as well ask her about the weather next time.”
The Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald called the clip of Todd “f----ing shocking” and told his 1.4 million followers they need to watch it in order to believe it.
“A major NYT exposé just revealed that CAP deleted a huge chapter on Bloomberg/NYPD out of fear of losing Bloomberg money, and the supremely dumb @ChuckTodd doesn't mention it when asking @neeratanden this,” Greenwald wrote to caption the video.
“MSNBC has completely sacrificed whatever tiny remnants of journalistic credibility it had to turn itself into a DNC outpost to destroy the Sanders campaign,” Greenwald added.
MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Plenty of critics mocked Todd on Twitter once the clip was shared.
The liberal network has been widely accused of unfair coverage of the 2020 Democratic primary, frequently being accused of favoring moderate Democrats over Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The failure to ask about the Times report on the Center for American Progress reportedly covering for Bloomberg is the latest debacle for Todd ahead of his debate redo on Wednesday night, when he will co-moderate Democratic candidates in Nevada.
Last year, Todd’s moderating performance was widely panned by people on both sides of the aisle, with many teasing him for expecting short answers to long questions. Even liberal “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert made fun of Todd, putting on a faux goatee and begging “please don’t talk too much, OK? You're not Chuck Todd, I am.”
Todd has also made news recently for saying Republicans have “an incentive structure to utter the misinformation” related to Russia, suggesting that Sanders supporters are part of a "digital brown shirt brigade" and was even scolded by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Todd’s mounting problems come as MSNBC personalities are essentially on a months-long audition for their incoming boss.
New NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell has technically already been promoted to the CEO position at NBCUniversal, but he currently reports to CEO-turned-chairman Steve Burke, who is notably loyal to NBC News chairman Andy Lack despite a laundry list of scandals and public relations nightmares.
Burke is set to leave the company following NBC’s coverage of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, and the reins will officially be handed to Shell. He will then report directly to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and be free to shake up his news division as he sees fit.
NBC’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd” has fared well in the ratings department, but Page Six recently cited “TV insiders” who said Todd’s “Meet the Press Daily” on MSNBC could be sidelined or moved to a different timeslot.