A Rolling Stone interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd from last week began trending on Twitter Thursday as its rediscovery led readers back to his admission he was “naive” about the GOP and Trump administration’s disinformation campaigns.
When asked about Sean Spicer’s lies during his time as the White House’s press secretary, Todd, moderator of “Meet the Press,” confessed he “really believed they wouldn’t do this” at the time.
He called his 2017 line of thinking “just absurdly naive in hindsight.”
Todd went on to say he wasn’t alone in the naïveté: “I think we all made the mistake of not following Toni Morrison’s advice, which is when people tell you who they are, believe them.” The quote was followed by an editor’s note more accurately attributing the quote to Maya Angelou.
Though the interview was six days old as of Thursday, it was reanimated online, maybe as people sat at home catching up on the week’s reading after the holidays.
“Three years after Kellyanne Conway introduced the doctrine of ‘alternative facts’ on his own program, a light went on for Chuck Todd,” Jay Rosen wrote. “Republican strategy, he now realized, was to make stuff up, spread it on social media, repeat it in your answers to journalists — even when you know it’s a lie with crumbs of truth mixed in — and then convert whatever controversy arises into go-get-em points with the base, while pocketing for the party a juicy dividend: additional mistrust of the news media to help insulate President Trump among loyalists when his increasingly brazen actions are reported as news.”
The New York University professor went on to say that Todd’s description of himself as naive was “an astounding statement that cast doubt on his fitness for office as host of ‘Meet the Press,'” and he wasn’t alone.
“After Chuck Todd‘s revelations, why is he the host of MEET THE PRESS one of the most influential news programs that allegedly holds politicians accountable? Why is the bar so low? It’s so painful for the rest of us who have actual skin in the game & so damaging for our democracy,” wrote New York Times op-ed writer Wajahat Ali.
A representative for NBC News did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.