The internet is enraged at NBC for hosting a town hall for President Donald Trump after he refused to debate former Vice President Joe Biden virtually for the second presidential debate on Thursday October 15th. As a result of the debate being cancelled, Biden took matters into his own hands and arranged a town hall to be aired on ABC. In an attempt at fairness, Trump also arranged his own town hall, airing on competing network NBC at the exact same time as Biden’s.
— James Kosur (@JamesKosur) October 14, 2020
Arguments Over Format Of Second Debate
The second presidential debate was set for Thursday October 15th, but with President Trump’s recent diagnosis of coronavirus, it was to be moved to a virtual format instead of in-person so as not to risk any spreading of the disease. President Trump refused to take part if the debate was to be virtual. A compromise over how to do the debate could not be reached between the two candidates, and so the second presidential debate was cancelled.
In an effort to still address the American people’s questions and concerns, Biden announced last week that he would be hosting a town hall event in Philadelphia on Thursday at 8pm EST, in place of the debate. He will be answering questions written by Americans.
What will happen when Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden directly faces the questions of real voters in a key battleground state? The @ABC2020 town hall event, ‘The Vice President and the People,’ airs Thursday at 8e|7c|5p on ABC. https://t.co/lfLa0LLuZs pic.twitter.com/p3I6odKL3N
— ABC News (@ABC) October 12, 2020
Today, NBC announced that they will be hosting a town hall for President Trump in Miami on Thursday at 8pm EST as well.
President Trump will take part in an NBC News town hall event in Miami on Thursday. https://t.co/7IdOHkTLsZ
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 14, 2020
NBC’s announcement has not gone over well, generating backlash on the internet. Twitter has taken to using the “#boycottNBC,” as a way to protest the news network’s decision. Some users have been voicing concern over the media playing into “Trump’s games.”
THIS IS HOW the media plays trumps game & I’m sick & tired of it. I will be watching @ABC. trump refused to take part in the scheduled debate with Biden so @nbc is giving him a town hall at the exact same time Biden is on @ABC #boycottnbc
— Rabbi Jill Zimmerman (@RabbiJill) October 14, 2020
Many point out the similarities between a parent rewarding a child for having a tantrum and NBC hosting a town hall for Trump after refusing to take part in the scheduled debate.
— Liddle’ Savage (@littledeekay) October 14, 2020
— Grandma Grit 🌎 former GOP (@grandmagrit) October 14, 2020
Many people are outraged because of the fact that both town halls are taking place at the same time, forcing voters to choose one candidate to watch.
Here we are, a nation already more divided than ever… and @NBCNews is airing Trump's town hall AT THE SAME TIME as Biden's?
— Randi Mayem Singer (@rmayemsinger) October 14, 2020
Does either candidate really benefit from hosting individual town halls?
Biden doesn't particularly benefit from his town hall, either. He's trying to run out the clock. The main reason he booked the town hall was probably to ensure that Trump and the CPD wouldn't try to call the debate back on. He doesn't care if fewer people watch.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 14, 2020
Is this giving anyone else flashbacks to the first presidential debate a few weeks ago?
when your family forces you to watch the presidential debate to learn more about the candidates… all i’m learning is that both are immature and aren’t fit to run the country…
— 𝓂𝑜𝓇𝑔𝒶𝓃 (@morgannn_phill) September 30, 2020
Not only are everyday Americans upset, but there is palpable tension between current and former NBC employers.
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.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 14, 2020
Former NBC News Executive Vivian Schiller commented on the network’s decision, labeling the coinciding timing of the event “shameful,” and stating that, “the point of a news organization is to serve the public. This is the opposite.”
The point of a news organization is to serve the public. This is the opposite. @NBCNews could literally run this any other day, or any other time. Shameful. (Disclosure: I am a former NBC News exec) https://t.co/I1CrBq3Y3H
— Vivian Schiller (@vivian) October 14, 2020
People urge NBC employees to speak out against their network.
Rachel? Speak up. Your network is making a GRAVE mistake REWARDING Trump for canceling on the debate. With timing the Trump event against Biden time slot, your network REWARDS breaking with debate tradition.
— Tomi Ahonen – FireChuckTodd & BoycottNBC (@tomiahonen) October 14, 2020
Despite many people being up in arms about the injustice NBC has incurred, some are blatantly showing who they’ll be watching on Thursday.
Just in case it’s not clear, I’m talking about my President pic.twitter.com/5aH8ns055n
— United for the People 💛🥁 (@people4kam) October 14, 2020
Trump’s Coronavirus Case
NBC claimed that Trump’s town hall would be “in accordance with the guidelines set forth by health officials,” in Miami. But until Tuesday, the network had actually been planning on cancelling the event if the President was unable to provide evidence that he was not at risk of infecting others. After a test administered on Tuesday, a clinical director at the National Institute of Health Dr. Lane stated “with a high degree of confidence” that Trump “is not shedding infectious virus.”
Dr. Lane and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert, reviewed medical data about Trump’s COVID case. They analyzed a PCR test, a commonly used virus diagnostic which is considered more reliable than rapid antigen tests. The doctors did not explicitly report a negative result from the PCR test. Melania Trump did announce that Barron Trump also contracted COVID-19, adding her son to the list of other White House associates who have contracted the virus since a number of infectious gatherings and no mask wearing enforcement.
The town hall in Miami will take place outdoors, and President Trump will sit twelve feet, more than the commonly advised six feet apart, away from moderator Savannah Guthrie. Attendees will be required to wear masks. Joe Biden’s town hall will take place in Philadelphia moderated by George Stephanopoulos.
As if the first presidential debate wasn’t telling enough, this Presidential election will continue to be unlike any other before it. President Trump and Joe Biden are still set to meet in person for the third and final presidential debate on Thursday October 22nd in Nashville, TN. It will be interesting to see which town hall other news outlets, such as CNN, Fox, etc. will choose to air. But more importantly, who will you be watching this Thursday at 8pm EST?