NBC employees are lashing out at their own network after it was announced the network is presenting a town hall with President Trump Thursday night airing directly opposite an ABC town hall with Joe Biden.
The Commission on Presidential Debates scrapped its second debate between the two candidates on Oct. 15 after it unilaterally changed the in-person town hall event into a virtual debate, prompting Trump to back out as he was still recovering from the coronavirus. Biden quickly landed a televised town hall moderated by ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos.
NBC revealed on Wednesday that it too will be hosting a town hall with the president moderated by “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie.
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The Comcast-owned network drew ire on social media for scheduling its town hall with Trump at the exact same time as the ABC event with Biden. Some of those critics, however, work at NBC.
Members of NBC’s pandemic-era comedy “Connecting,” which normally airs on Thursday night, slammed their network for giving their show the shaft for the president.
“Shame on @NBC,” actress Shakina Nayfack began a Twitter thread. “Y’all sign my checks as of late but I‘m disgusted by my home network giving Trump a platform for fear mongering, bigotry & disinformation. Don’t praise yourselves for putting a trans woman on primetime then give a platform to someone who wants to abolish my rights.”
She continued, “Honestly shame on @ABC and @NBC, this echo chamber of rhetoric is a root problem in America. These days leading up to the election should be about the exchange and comparison of ideas and policy, not ratings and stoking division. @realDonaldTrump & @JoeBiden should #debate.”
“Connecting” executive producers Brendan Gall and Martin Gero both tweeted a statement urging NBC to “reschedule” the town hall.
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“I strenuously object to @NBC giving Trump a town hall directly opposite Biden’s on @ABC. Trump pulled out of the debate to destabilize the election. I understand NBC is required to give him an hour of prime time but request that they reschedule it so that America can watch both,” Gall and Gero said.
Journalist Yashar Ali heard directly from several NBC employees, tweeting, “I’ve heard from over a dozen NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC sources (talent and staff) and the frustration with and anger toward their employer for scheduling a town hall against Biden is palpable.”
NBC News determined the format, date, duration and time slot, Fox News has learned from an NBC insider who maintained the Trump campaign did not dictate any logistics of the event.
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The NBC insider told Fox News that the network’s hands were tied when ABC announced the Biden event, as Election Day is only 18 days away and there is another debate next week, leaving available days scarce. NBC wanted the Trump town hall to mirror the Biden event the network hosted last week, and arranged for Trump’s town hall to follow the same format, duration and timeslot.
NBC’s one-hour Trump town hall begins at 8 p.m., and will also simultaneously be presented on its cable channels, MSNBC and CNBC. ABC’s Biden town hall with moderator George Stephanopoulos also starts at 8 p.m. and is scheduled to fill a two-hour window.