Dueling Town Halls Replace Presidential Debate

L-R Donald Trump, Joe Biden

It’ll be dueling town hall events on Thursday instead of a debate.

After refusing to participate in the scheduled second presidential debate of the 2020 cycle, Donald Trump has agreed to take part in an NBC News town hall event on Thursday at the same time former Vice President Joe Biden will take questions in an ABC News town hall to be hosted by George Stephanopoulos.

From NBC News:

The town hall, moderated by “TODAY” anchor Savannah Guthrie, will take place on the same evening — and at the same time — that Joe Biden is doing his own town hall event in Philadelphia on ABC News at 8 p.m. ET.

Trump and Biden were supposed to hold their second debate on Thursday night, but Trump pulled out after organizers announced it was going to be conducted virtually. The last presidential debate is scheduled for next Thursday, Oct. 22.

During the one-hour town hall with Trump on Thursday, Guthrie will moderate a conversation between Trump and a group of Florida voters.

I know Trump loves to hear about his ratings. Because his NBC News town hall will be simulcast on CNBC and MSNBC, I’ll go ahead and predict he’ll probably get more viewers given the wider reach of three networks.

But in the end, I doubt these events will change any voter’s mind.

Biden Will Attend Town Hall Event In Miami Hosted By NBC News

Former Vice President Joe Biden (image via campaign)

Deadline reports that former Vice President Joe Biden will participate in a Town Hall event hosted by NBC News’s Lester Holt on October 5 in Miami, Florida.

The event was announced following last night’s wild debate between Biden and Donald Trump.

Biden previously participated in a similar event earlier this month in Scranton, Pennsylvania, hosted by CNN. Socially distanced attendees took part from the safety of their cars.

NBC News has also extended an invitation to Trump to do a similar event. Trump took part in an ABC News Town Hall in September.

Candidates and their campaigns favor such events because taking questions from ‘everyday people’ can offer an appealing connection to voters.

Josh Earnest Inks Deal With NBC/MSNBC As Political Analyst

Josh Earnest

Former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has inked a deal to join NBC and MSNBC as a political analyst.

Earnest spent 10 years with President Obama in several roles concluding with 3 years as Press Secretary from 2014-2017.

He began his new job this morning on NBC’s TODAY talking about the failure of President Trump and House Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

It’s common for former Press Secretaries to move into analyst positions on networks.

Jay Carney and Robert Gibbs, who both worked for Obama, signed on with CNN and MSNBC, respectively, after their time in the White House.

Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary for President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003, joined CNN as a contributor.

Megyn Kelly’s New Daily NBC Show To Take Over 3rd Hour Of The TODAY Show

More details about the new Megyn Kelly deal at NBC News:

It looks like Kelly will be taking over the 9AM hour of The TODAY Show, settling in between the highly rated 7-9AM block, hosted by Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, and the fun & fluffy 10AM slot hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

Also – the new show will be Kelly-branded, not a component of the TODAY Show banner.

Via BroadcastingCable.com:

A network source said that timing on everything involving Kelly is still up in the air, including when she will join NBC News and when her new shows will debut. Speaking Tuesday evening on her Fox News Channel show, The Kelly File, Kelly said her last show would air Friday. Her contract with Fox News runs through July though, so she may not be able to officially join NBC News until that contract expires.

Besides hosting her own daytime program, Kelly also will anchor a Sunday night news magazine and jump in on breaking news and political stories.

The 9 a.m. hour of Today has been a trouble spot for NBC. It tries to be a take on the panel talk show, with Al Roker and Tamron Hall leading a discussion of pop culture and light news with multiple hosts. Last August, the hour suffered a further setback when Today brought on Billy Bush to lead the hour, and soon Bush and Roker were clashing on air about Bush’s kid-gloves interview of Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. Bush was then fired in October after video leaked of him and now-President-elect Donald Trump speaking lewdly about women.

“After more than a dozen years at Fox News, I have decided to pursue a new challenge …. I’ll be leaving Fox News at the week’s end and starting a new adventure, joining the journalists at NBC News, who I deeply admire,” said Kelly on her show.

NBC News/SurveyMonkey Poll: Clinton Won 1st Debate Over Trump 52%-21%

According to a newly released poll conducted by NBC News/SurveyMonkey, 52% of respondents say Democrat Hillary Clinton won the first presidential debate this past Monday night over Republican Donald Trump. Just 21% said Trump came out on top.

Within her own party, Clinton strengthened her base among Democrats and Democrat-leaning voters view her with 50% saying their opinion of her changed for the better.

Only 26% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters felt Trump improved his standing among them.

When it comes to all-important Independent voters, two-thirds of those polled said their opinion of the two candidates did not change as a result of the debate. Sixteen percent said Clinton improved in their view, while 9% said the same about Trump.

In terms of “appearing presidential,” 53% of respondents said Clinton has the proper temperament to serve as president effectively, while 63% said Trump does not.

As noted by Chuck Todd this afternoon while reporting on these results, this survey is an actual scientific poll, as opposed to a “widget” or “instant poll” on a website trolls can vote, refresh, and vote again.

While Trump boasted about how he won several of those easily freeped online voting widgets, several scientific polls now show Clinton won the night.

Matt Lauer Getting Terrible Reviews For Lack Of Follow-Up During Presidential Forum

News outlets are howling at NBC News’ Matt Lauer after he allowed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claim he never supported the Iraq war to go unchecked with no follow up questions at last night’s “Commander In Chief” Forum broadcast on NBC and MSNBC.

Meanwhile, Lauer spent almost 13 minutes of his time (and several follow-up questions) with Democrat Hillary Clinton on her email controversy which has been  investigated and found to be a non-starter by the FBI.

Reporters across the internet were live fact-checking Trump even as he repeated his often debunked version of history that he always opposed the war in Iraq.

As many now know, back in 2002 in an interview with Howard Stern, Trump was asked if he supported an invasion of Iraq and he responded, “Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

Trump’s statement last night via Politico:

“The main thing is: I have great judgment,” Trump said in response to a question as what he has done in his life that prepared him to send America’s men and women into harm’s way. “I heard Hillary Clinton say I was not against the war in Iraq. I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from 2004. You can look at before that. And I was against the war in Iraq, I said it’s going to totally destabilize the Middle East, which it has. It’s been a disastrous war. And perhaps almost as bad was the way Barack Obama got out. That was a disaster.”

NBC News eventually posted a fact-check online showing Trump lied during the forum after the fact.

Just a few responses from journalists:

Twitter: University Of California Student Calls Out NBC News Over DuBose Reporting

Bravo to Rigel Robinson who took to Twitter to school NBC News on the outlet’s choice of headshots used when tweeting about the recent shooting of Samuel DuBose by University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing.

Via Huffington Post:

NBC’s headline announced that the officer, Ray Tensing, had been indicted for murder in Dubose’s death. However, the network’s photo choice — a smiling shot of Tensing in uniform and an old mug shot of Dubose from a charge totally unrelated to his death — implied that Dubose was more of a “criminal” than Tensing.

“Hey @NBCNews, I went ahead and fixed this one for you. Do Better,” Rigel Robinson tweeted, along with a split image of a regular photo of Dubose alongside Tensing’s mugshot.

“How we tell these narratives is important,” Robinson, 19, told The Huffington Post. “Digging up an old mugshot for the black man that got shot instead of the officer that was just indicted for killing him does a disservice to the memory of Mr. Dubose, it does a disservice to journalism, and frankly, it’s just racist.”

Clearly, Robinson has a point here. Take a look at the pics above and tell me the which one you think NBC News wants you to identify as the “bad guy?”

Jacob’s Journey

Everyone needs to see this.

Mimi and Joe Lemay share in their own words why they decided to let their five-year-old transgender son Jacob transition and live publicly as a boy.

Experts say children who clearly identify as the opposite gender will benefit from starting to transition sooner rather than later.

From NBC News:

For young children, there is no surgery or hormonal therapy. At this stage, before puberty, transgender children are making a more cosmetic change, Forcier says.

“We let them be themselves. So, they cut their hair and they wear their clothes and they wear their shoes they want. And they wear jewelry or they play with the kids they want to play with and they do the activities they want to do,” she says. “We call that social transition.”

The Lemays understand that some will have a hard time with their decision. But they say they are convinced they did the right thing for their son, and Mimi recently wrote a letter to Jacob detailing their thoughts and feelings about this journey.

“Ultimately Jacob has made that choice in his mind and his heart,” Mimi says. “It’s whether or not we accept it or not.”

Mimi Lemay: “I want him to know how proud of him I am… and how, no matter what, I am in his corner. And, I love him. And I always will.”