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To: Deborah Turness, President of NBC News
Tell NBC News: Correcting Republican lies is part of your job
Chuck Todd’s assertion that correcting Republican lies isn’t his job is factually incorrect and counter to the purpose of journalism. Hold Chuck Todd accountable by issuing a public apology for his outrageous statement and ensure that all NBC News/MSNBC journalists know that correcting political misinformation and lies is part of their job description.
Why is this important?
In a Morning Joe segment this week on misinformation about the Affordable Care Act, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd made the outrageous claim that it isn’t his job to inform viewers when Republican politicians lie about political issues.
How is it possible that the Political Director of NBC News doesn’t think it is his job to inform NBC viewers with facts about important political issues?
One of the most important jobs of the media is to distill facts from lies and help people understand what’s true and what isn’t. By casting himself as an outside observer who has no role in helping the American people separate truth from lies, Chuck Todd has completely abdicated his responsibility as a journalist.
As a regular NBC and MSNBC viewer, and a politically engaged American, I’m deeply concerned by Chuck Todd’s view that correcting lies is not his job, and what it means for the country I love.
This shouldn’t be hard. Journalists are supposed to inform their audience of facts. When lies are provided for partisan purposes, it is not "doing the job of the White House to sell" a government program to say that these are lies. That's reporting. That's journalism. Someone who just repeats what is said to him without placing it in context is called a stenographer, not a journalist.
Given NBC News’ policy of not informing its viewers of the facts about the Affordable Care Act, it should come as no surprise that 70% of the American people don’t understand what the law does.
Make no mistake, if Chuck Todd and his other colleagues at NBC News actually fact-checked all the lies that Republicans tell about the Affordable Care Act, that number would be much, much lower. NBC News must accept its culpability in Americans’ poor understanding of the law. If NBC’s job is to provide factual information to its viewers, it has totally failed the American people.
NBC prides itself on being the TV network that “leans forward.” If enough activists speak up against the mainstreaming of conservative misinformation on its shows it will create genuine pressure on the network to hold Chuck Todd accountable.