A Columbia Journalism Review writer blasted NBC News’ Chuck Todd for “basic misunderstanding of the requirements of his job” this week after the me-first host emphasized the entertainment aspect of Peacock Network political coverage.
Popula founder Maria Bustillos penned the scathing takedown for the prestigious CJR, which examined Todd’s recent performances during the Robert Mueller hearings and NBC’s Democratic primary debate.
“Chuck Todd managed to demonstrate, with uncharacteristic brevity, his basic misunderstanding of the requirements of his job,” Bustillos wrote in the article that was published Wednesday.
Chuck Todd managed to demonstrate, with uncharacteristic brevity, his basic misunderstanding of the requirements of his job."
The CJR piece then focused on a tweet Todd sent during Mueller’s testimony.
“On substance, Democrats got what they wanted: that Mueller didn't charge Pres. Trump because of the OLC guidance, that he could be indicted after he leaves office, among other things. But on optics, this was a disaster,” Todd wrote.
Todd was referring to a response Mueller gave to House Judiciary Committee member Ted Lieu, D-Calif., in which Mueller appeared to indicate that the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel’s long-held position against charging a president while they are in office held him back from charging Trump with obstruction of justice. However, Mueller corrected himself in his opening statement to the House Intelligence Committee, saying that his statement to Lieu was "not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime."
Bustillos – who has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Guardian -- noted that “Todd’s focus on the ‘entertainment’ aspect of politics coverage is often in evidence.”
The CJR aims to “be the intellectual leader in the rapidly changing world of journalism,” according to its website. It bills itself as “the most respected voice on press criticism.”
Last month, NBC’s two-day, technical-issue-plagued Democratic debate was panned by critics as frenzied and unorganized, with much of the blame being placed at the feet of Todd.
Todd’s performance was mocked by people on both sides of the aisle, with the “Meet the Press” host being widely condemned for expecting short answers to long questions.
“It featured moderators who were not up to the task in terms of setting direction for content and certainly not for managing the mob of candidates,” DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News in June.
Bustillos agreed and mocked Todd for talking constantly during the debate.
“For Chuck Todd all the political world’s a stage, and he’s the star.”
“He managed to talk more than all but three of the candidates, even as he demanded that they keep their own answers brief,” Bustillos wrote. “For Chuck Todd, all the political world’s a stage, and he’s the star.”
The CJR column then noted that “politics isn’t entertainment, it is not a performance to be critiqued” and reporting on “national politics is a public trust of solemn importance that affects hundreds of millions of people.”