NewsBusters

NBC Relieved By Senate Hearing Free of Trump ‘Politicking’ & ‘Chaos’

As NBC wrapped up its special coverage of the Senate coronavirus hearing late Tuesday morning, journalists repeatedly expressed their relief that the proceeding on Capitol Hill was supposedly free of the “politicking” and “chaos” they claimed plagued White House briefings on the pandemic.

Talking to Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, congressional correspondent Kasie Hunt gushed over the hearing: “I think what you’ve seen is an event that is focused on facts, the realities of testing, the realities of reopening, in a way that, you know, is much different than what we have been seeing daily throughout this crisis at the White House, where we have seen quite a bit of politicking and not necessarily the same set of facts from the President as what we’re hearing from these officials today.”

 

 

She incredibly made that declaration with a straight face, pretending that no “politicking” had taken place throughout the lengthy question and answer session.

Holt then turned to White House correspondent Geoff Bennett for more reaction. Bennett joined in using the hearing to hammer the President:

I’d like to underscore and amplify a point you made in that this is rare testimony, in that this the first time the country is hearing from the nation’s top four health officials who were charged with the federal coronavirus response in an unfiltered manner, away from the close and careful gaze of President Trump. Who at times during previous Coronavirus Task Force briefings has either, you know, cut off or redirected some of these answers.

Finally, Holt emphasized to Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd: “…as we noted, this was a different tone in this hearing than what we heard from the White House, even members – Republican members expressing concerns about the level of testing. Where does this go from here in terms of support for the President, even from within his own party?”

Todd eagerly continued the anti-Trump theme of day:

I’m listening to this hearing and on one hand you’re very encouraged because you realize everybody’s dealing with the same set of facts, whether it’s a Republican asking the question or a Democrat. And I think this is a reminder that in some ways, Lester, as uncomfortable as it is to say it, President Trump doesn’t – his presence seems to create more chaos, create more issues in a given moment. Take him out of the equation, and you have sort of a clear if, I would say, tough picture that we’re facing.    

Perhaps the fact that Democrats receive equal time during congressional hearings may have something to do with NBC’s preference for that format over a White House press conference. Of course reporters usually represent the Democratic Party platform at Trump pressers anyway.

Here is a transcript of the May 12 special coverage:

11:16 AM ET

(…)

LESTER HOLT: We want to bring in right now Kasie Hunt, who has been watching this for us. Kasie, what is the significance of this hearing and what happens after?

KASIE HUNT: Well, Lester, I think what you’ve seen is an event that is focused on facts, the realities of testing, the realities of reopening, in a way that, you know, is much different than what we have been seeing daily throughout this crisis at the White House, where we have seen quite a bit of politicking and not necessarily the same set of facts from the President as what we’re hearing from these officials today.

Dr. Fauci, of course, testifying that he thought it would be a bridge too far to think that we would have a vaccine in time for fall semesters. He was answering a question from Lamar Alexander, the chairman, about how universities could prepare for this. He also said that he was concerned that if we open up too quickly, in response to Senator Murray, that we would start to see little spikes, outbreaks that potentially could turn into something bigger.

So he was pretty measured and cautious in his responses here, as Democrats have been urging him not to pull any punches. He hasn’t been going after his boss, going after the President, but he has been presenting a pretty straightforward picture of a very dire situation across the country.

(…)

11:19 AM ET

HOLT: Let’s go to Geoff Bennett, he is at the White House right now. Geoff, what’s the read from that end of Pennsylvania Avenue?

GEOFF BENNETT: Hey, Lester, I’d like to underscore and amplify a point you made in that this is rare testimony, in that this the first time the country is hearing from the nation’s top four health officials who were charged with the federal coronavirus response in an unfiltered manner, away from the close and careful gaze of President Trump. Who at times during previous Coronavirus Task Force briefings has either, you know, cut off or redirected some of these answers.

(…)

11:21 AM ET

HOLT: Let me bring in the moderator of Meet the Press, Chuck Todd. Chuck, as we noted, this was a different tone in this hearing than what we heard from the White House, even members – Republican members expressing concerns about the level of testing. Where does this go from here in terms of support for the President, even from within his own party?

CHUCK TODD: Well, look, one of the things I want to point out is that this is probably among the most functional committees on bipartisan basis. The Senate Intel has always been one of those, and Senate Health, as this nickname, the Health Committee is nicknamed. A lot of that is largely due to Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, the two leading senators of this committee, because they do a good job working together. They have sort of some shared health priorities in general. They may be ideological opposed, but philosophically, they’re close.

So I would just say, you know, I’m listening to this hearing and on one hand you’re very encouraged because you realize everybody’s dealing with the same set of facts, whether it’s a Republican asking the question or a Democrat. And I think this is a reminder that in some ways, Lester, as uncomfortable as it is to say it, President Trump doesn’t – his presence seems to create more chaos, create more issues in a given moment. Take him out of the equation, and you have sort of a clear if, I would say, tough picture that we’re facing.

(…)

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