As a political junkie and writer, I’ve watched my share of TV journalists and, of course, I have my favorites. I regularly enjoy Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and Joy Reid to name a few. Each bring their own style of presenting information, all are analytical, probative and conscious actors in the fight for a better America. Others, such as Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, should be off the air and don’t deserve to be called journalists. These horrible human beings and their racist, white nationalist programs cater to sad, pathetic human beings who willingly go to bed every night angry, miserable and misinformed.
Then there are TV journalists like Chuck Todd, the seemingly ubiquitous NBC and MSNBC political director who has multiple national programs with Meet the Press Daily (MTP Daily as its headline) and Sunday morning Meet The Press. In the early years of his ascension, Todd did a credible job on election nights with his strong ability to crunch numbers and offered some valuable insight as to what they meant. Todd knew how to present data at the Presidential, Senatorial and House level. I admired his political knowledge and it was clear that the man did his research. But that is where the appreciation ends.
Once Chuck Todd was named the new host of Sunday morning Meet The Press, I watched a few shows but quickly realized, notwithstanding the diverse panel he has at times, that Todd and his brand of TV journalism represents the status quo of generic interviews and unhelpful interpretation of the political consequences for everyday Americans. Studies have shown the Sunday Morning shows, Meet The Press included, are still over-represented by white conservative men. Lamentably, the media’s passively critical coverage of Donald Trump (combined with hypercritical coverage of Hillary Clinton) helped him win the presidency.
I don’t watch Todd with regularity anymore but remain aware of his enormous influence given the multiple platforms that he operates from. This is why Chuck Todd’s recent comments in a public forum in the aftermath of being called “ A sleeping son of bitch” by President Trump during a rally deserves a strong rebuke.
In response to Trump, as TheHill reports, Chuck Todd felt compelled to convey this message to the News 4 audience in Washington D.C. “I bring my kids up to respect the office of the presidency and the president, I don’t allow them to say anything negative, ever, about the president.” “It creates a challenge to all parents when he uses vulgarities like that,” he added.
Chuck Todd has every right to raise his children anyway he sees fit. If Chuck Todd wants to tell his children to respect the most corrupt, treasonous president America has ever seen, go right ahead. If Todd wants his children to respect Trump – regardless of his history of misogyny, admitted sexually assault behavior, 19 further allegations of sexual assault, and racialized attacks on Hispanic and Black citizens, it’s his prerogative. If Todd wants his children to ignore the fact that a sitting president has mocked a disabled man in public, attacks the rule of law on a daily basis, and sees goodness in white supremacists, it’s his decision.
Chuck Todd has every right to tell his children to look the other way when they see Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents rip families apart in broad daylight on the orders of the president. And Todd can certainly ask his children to ignore the news of seeing children the same age as his own being gunned down in the streets and in schools without the president lifting a finger to do something about it.
But Chuck Todd has some nerve to try and influence his audience and the general public to embrace his dangerously smug and elitist parental worldview. It speaks to his insufferable white privilege and his utter insensitivity to the world around him. If he wants to raise his children in a sheltered bubble devoid of social conscience, independent thought and the ability to speak truth to power, it’s his choice to inflict that damage on them. It’s not, however, a choice he should be making for the rest of us. Families are seeing their lives irreparably disrupted or damaged and it’s getting worse every day. They deserve better than empty platitudes about respecting the president when the president is actively destroying their world.
America is suffering through having a ruthless, heartless and unstable President, partly because of wealthy white men like Chuck Todd that are insulated from the direct impact of Donald Trump. Todd is so protected by his privilege that willing to tell his children to respect Trump, a monster by any objective measure. Such a narrow and selfish interpretation speaks to the comforts Todd’s TV journalism has afforded him and wants his children to never forget.
Too bad the rest of us aren’t so safe.
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