Chuck Todd is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore.
In a lengthy essay for The Atlantic, the “Meet the Press” host and NBC News political director argued that the media needs to “start fighting back” against its critics.
“I’m not advocating for a more activist press in the political sense, but for a more aggressive one. That means having a lower tolerance for talking points, and a greater willingness to speak plain truths. It means not allowing ourselves to be spun, and not giving guests or sources a platform to spin our readers and viewers, even if that angers them,” Todd wrote in his essay.
“Access isn’t journalism’s holy grail–facts are.”
But how can the media be more aggressive without becoming too partisan in the process? Todd says that “aggression” should come in the form of defending their reporting in the face of cries of “fake news.” “The idea that our work will speak for itself is hopelessly naive, he wrote. “Fox, Limbaugh, and the rest of the Trump echo chamber have proved that.”
The U.S. media is facing an assault of distrust by the American public, argued Todd, that hasn’t been seen since the hostility leveled towards reporters in the segregated South during the 1950s and ’60s. “Antipathy toward the media right now has risen to a level I’ve never personally experienced before,” Todd wrote. “Then, as now, that hatred was artificially stoked by people who found that it could deliver them some combination of fame, wealth, and power.”
Todd continued by taking aim at some of the biggest figures in conservative media, including Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge and the Fox News trio of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, accusing them of gaining power and wealth by “exploiting the fears” of older, white Americans.
“They are thriving financially by exploiting the very same free-press umbrella they seem determined to undermine,” he wrote, before adding later in the piece. “There are some great journalists at Fox, including Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, and Shep Smith, but it’s not an organization that emphasizes journalism.”
Read Todd’s full essay in The Atlantic here.