In Questionable Journalistic Move, NBC News Relocates Entire Evening Broadcast to Trump Tower

Friday, May 06, 2016
(photo: Getty Images)

 

 

 

By Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times

 

NEW YORK — On the day that Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee for president, NBC came to him.

 

In an unusual move Wednesday, NBC relocated its flagship “Nightly News” broadcast six blocks north to Trump Tower, where Lester Holt conducted a live interview with Trump in his 26th-floor executive office.

 

Holt anchored the rest of the broadcast from the building’s gold-and-marble lobby — a signature Trump tableau — introducing segments about a Canadian wildfire and defective air bags as tourists milled behind him.

 

NBC plans to extend the same offer of broadcasting “Nightly News” from the home or headquarters of the eventual Democratic nominee, a network spokesman said Wednesday night.

 

News anchors frequently interview presidential candidates in their homes or campaign offices. Earlier Wednesday, Wolf Blitzer taped a conversation with Trump in the downstairs bar of the Trump Tower atrium, which was broadcast later in the day on CNN.

 

But few in the industry could recount another instance where an evening newscast — considered the symbol of a network news brand — shifted its entire broadcast to a candidate’s home turf.

 

“Is tomorrow night’s show going to be broadcast from Chappaqua?” Judd Legum, the editor of the liberal website ThinkProgress, wrote on Twitter, referring to the leading Democratic contender Hillary Clinton’s residence.

 

The tweet typified the surprised, and in some cases deeply skeptical, response to NBC’s move on social media, where the role of the television networks in Trump’s rise is often fiercely debated.

 

In the interview, Holt congratulated Trump before peppering him on a range of topics, like his campaign finance plans, whether he was still committed to a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, and his plan to deport undocumented immigrants. (Trump said he would follow through on both pledges.)

 

Sitting in a spacious office beneath a wall of framed photographs, Trump said he would run a fair campaign against Clinton — if her team reciprocated.

 

“If they treat me properly, I’m going to treat them properly," Trump said. “It would be a beautiful thing to see.”

 

Trump is a big ratings draw for broadcast and cable networks alike, prompting some critics to question the copious amounts of airtime he has received during the campaign. His evening appearance with Holt was far from his only televised interview Wednesday. He called in by phone to four separate morning shows before speaking later to Blitzer and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, in what amounted to a televised victory lap after his win in the Indiana primary Tuesday.

 

NBC also announced Wednesday that Natalie Morales, the “Today'’ show personality, will move to Los Angeles to host the entertainment program “Access Hollywood.” She will continue to appear on “Today'’ as its West Coast anchor.

 

To Learn More:

Don’t Like Clinton or Trump? Just Shut Up and Watch TV (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Network Newscasts Were All-Trump, All the Time In 2015 (by Eric Boehlert, Media Matters for America)

More Americans Support Bernie Sanders than Donald Trump, but Trump Gets 23 Times as much TV Coverage (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Fox News Tries to Hijack Republican Primary; Pushes Trump Most, Followed by Huckabee, Perry and Jindal (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Trump Wins the Summer Soap Opera, While Favorites Bush, Walker and Rubio Wait in the Wings (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

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