What was gained? More reasons why voters need to value media that asks tough political questions. While there was no debate, there were serious questions from Savannah Guthrie, a host on NBC’s “Today” Show, to Trump.
NBC aired the Trump Town Hall “motivated only by fairness, not business considerations,” according to Cesar Conde, chairman of the NBCU News Group. Well, considering the few TV commercials that were sold in the event, that seemed about right.
The fairness part was that NBC previously air Vice President Biden's Town Hall event on Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. NBC wanted to do exactly the same for Trump.
Guthrie pressed Trump about issues including his handling of COVID-19, Obamacare and taxes (overall corporate taxes and Trump’s own tax situation), conspiracy theorist organizations, voter ballot fraud, and of course, Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Post-game analysis -- fact-checking of Trump -- from Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show revealed a lot of incorrect/false information from the President.
If this were another time, another age, another venue perhaps, someone might say it was a good “get” by a TV network to interview a U.S. president. But history reveals that an interview with Trump doesn’t offer much news that can be confirmed.
Now the money part: Both NBC and ABC each were charging around $180,000 to $200,000 per 30-second unit pricing for their respective Town Halls, according to reports. That’s a decent price. But again, there wasn’t that much ad time to sell in this Town Hall.
event, Trump did his best to manufacture rage, calling out NBCU owner Comcast Corp. Trump's tweet: “So I’m being set up tonight. Going on Con-cast NBC.”
In the end, Trump made a business/political decision: “They asked me if I'd do it, I figured, What the hell? We got a free hour on television and we got @SavannahGuthrie. She’s always lovely, isn’t she?”
Television news and content decisions bring out the best in people.