Whe NBC set out to schedule a television town hall with President Trump, the top priorities were safety and parity with Trump’s challenger Joe Biden.
The network’s Biden town hall went off without a hitch in Miami, Florida on October 5. NBC’s plans for Trump are almost identical: The same outdoor venue in Miami, the same 8 p.m. time slot, the same 60-minute allotment of time.
But there is one big difference: ABC already announced it will be holding a town hall with Biden at the same time on the same night.
So now NBC is “giving Trump exactly what he wants,” in the words of one exasperated senior staffer: a made-by-TV rivalry between the president and Biden.
NBCis hearing a chorus of criticism for its scheduling decision — from liberal activists, working journalists, professors, former NBC executives, and even some current NBC Entertainment stars.
Some staffers inside NBC News and MSNBC are also perturbed by the decision, with some likening it to collusion between the Trump campaign and the network, sources said. No one from the news division has publicly criticized the move.
The dueling town halls will air Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern time, on the same night that the Commission on Presidential Debates was originally scheduled to hold a town hall-style debate between Trump and Biden.
Now, instead, the two men will talk past each other on competing networks.”Having dueling town halls is bad for democracy,” former NBC “Today” show star Katie Couric tweeted Wednesday. “Voters should be able to watch both and I don’t think many will. This will be good for Trump because people like to watch his unpredictability. This is a bad decision.”