Source:  Curtis Houck 

Behold, the epitome of laziness. On Tuesday’s MTP Daily, NBC News political director Chuck Todd offered a muddled and pathetic apology/non-apology for the deceptive edit Sunday’s Meet the Press carried out against Attorney General Bill Barr, saying that he was “very sorry for that mistake” but blamed CBS News clips for this kerfuffle.

Only in the final seconds of the 65-second bit did Todd offer the magic words: I obviously am very sorry for that mistake. We strive to do better going forward.

Translation? Todd admitted that he and his staff weren’t engaging in basic journalism or research. Somewhere, Lyin’ Brian Williams is giving Chuck two thumbs up.

Todd began by stating he wanted to talk for a moment about something that occurred on Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press in which “we had a soundbite from a CBS News interview with the Attorney General, Bill Barr” concerning the Justice Department’s decision to drop its case against retired General Michael Flynn.

He noted what he aired on Sunday and then the omitted part of Barr’s full answer to CBS’s Catherine Herridge:

In the bite that we aired and commented on, Mr. Barr was asked how he thinks the history of his decision to end the prosecution of the former national security adviser Michael Flynn will be written. Mr. Barr answered: “History is written by the winner so it largely depends on who’s writing the history.” In the full version of the interview and transcript, he went onto say, “but I think a fair history would say it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law.”

Todd could (and should) have stopped there with the explanations. He could (and should) have moved to stating how “sorry” he was for not only spreading this lie, but sorry to Barr for taking him out of context and to CBS News and Herridge for butchering the interview.

Alas, Todd chose to throw CBS under the bus, claiming that NBC didn’t “edit” Barr’s answer out “because we only saw the shorter of two clips that CBS did air.”

Presumably, Todd was referring to Barr’s abbreviated answer from Thursday’s CBS Evening News. Just over 12 hours later, Barr’s full answer aired on Friday’s CBS This Morning. Here was that portion as it aired on the show (click “expand”):

HERRIDGE: Barr told CBS News he didn’t discuss the decision with President Trump. [TO BARR] Are you doing the President’s bidding in General Flynn’s case?

BARR: No, I’m doing the law’s bidding. I’m doing my duty under the law as I see it.

HERRIDGE: When history looks back on this decision, how do you think it will be written?

BARR: Well, history’s written by the winners. So it largely depends on– on who’s writing the history. But I think a fair history would say it was a– it was a good decision because it– it upheld the rule of law. It helped– it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.

Since apparently Chuck Todd and his Meet the Press crew can’t conduct basic research when CBS published the full interview on May 7, here’s the full exchange (click “expand”):

HERRIDGE: In closing, this was a big decision in the Flynn case, to– to say the least. When history looks back on this decision, how do you think it will be written? What will it say about your decision making?

BARR: Well, history is written by the winner. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history. But I think a fair history would say that it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law. It helped, it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.

HERRIDGE: Uh-huh.

BARR: I mean, it’s not gonna be the end of it.

HERRIDGE: What do you mean, it’s not the end of it?

BARR: Well, I said we’re gonna get to the bottom of what happened.

HERRIDGE: And later this year, do you expect a report from U.S. Attorney John Durham? Or do you expect indictments?

BARR: Well, as you know, I’m not gonna predict the outcome. But I said that we’re certainly — there probably will be a report as a byproduct of his work. But we also are seeing if there are people who violated the law and should be brought to justice. And that’s what we have our eye on.

HERRIDGE: And that would include individuals involved in the Flynn case?

BARR: I don’t wanna get into particular individuals.

As a fellow broadcast network, Todd and his team should know how network interviews work with highlights, extended bites, and then the full interview (and transcript) published online later due to the time constraints of newscasts.

Even with those points, Todd’s excuses remained weak. Playing the role of Captain Obvious, he noted that he and his team should have “checked for a full transcript” and watched the full interview, making for “a mistake that I wish we hadn’t made and one that I wish I hadn’t made.”

He then concluded:

The second part of the attorney general’s answer would have put it in the proper context. And had I seen that part of the interview, I would not have framed the conversation the way I did and I obviously am very sorry for that mistake. We strive to do better going forward.

Cue the eye-rolling GIFs, everyone.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s MTP Daily on May 12, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s MTP Daily
May 12, 2020
5:18 p.m. Eastern

CHUCK TODD: Before we go do break, I wanted to talk for a moment about something that occurred on Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press. During the program we had a soundbite from a CBS News interview with the Attorney General, Bill Barr. In the bite that we aired and commented on, Mr. Barr was asked how he thinks the history of his decision to end the prosecution of the former national security adviser Michael Flynn will be written. Mr. Barr answered: “History is written by the winner so it largely depends on who’s writing the history.” In the full version of the interview and transcript, he went onto say, “but I think a fair history would say it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law.” Now, we did not edit that out. That was not our edit. We didn’t include it because we only saw the shorter of two clips that CBS did air. We should have looked at both and checked for a full transcript, a mistake that I wish we hadn’t made and one that I wish I hadn’t made. The second part of the attorney general’s answer would have put it in the proper context. And had I seen that part of the interview, I would not have framed the conversation the way I did and I obviously am very sorry for that mistake. We strive to do better going forward.