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NBC Makes the Shameful Decision to Host a Last-Minute Donald Trump Town Hall Opposite Biden’s

Donald Trump gestures and cringes during a rally.

After Donald Trump bailed on the second scheduled presidential debate, refusing to do the event remotely after testing positive for COVID-19, Joe Biden said that he would still be doing a town hall event with ABC News solo.

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Biden’s town hall was announced nearly a week ago, with the event happening tomorrow night. Then this morning, Trump decided that he would do his own town hall over on NBC News. On the same night. At the same time.

This isn’t exactly surprising from NBC. This is the network that re-launched Trump’s career with The Apprentice. They made a fortune off of him (and vice versa) and The Hollywood Reporter has a report out today detailing the lengths NBC went to for years to enable Trump and keep him happy. Moreover, one of Trump’s biggest supporters is producer Mark Burnett, the man behind The Voice, one of NBC’s biggest current shows, meaning the network still has a huge stake in keeping Trump (and his allies) happy.

And there can’t be any mistaking that this move is specifically designed to please Trump. By pitting the two town hall events against each other, they’re effectively making the night about Trump’s favorite thing: ratings. And while I hope I’m wrong, I don’t see Biden winning that fight. A lot more people will usually tune in to watch a potential trainwreck than a nuanced political discussion.

On the other hand, people were really angry with NBC News over this announcement and #BoycottNBC was trending for much of the day. Maybe that hashtag will end up being put into practice.

Either way, just because Trump wants the night to be about ratings, that doesn’t mean it is. In no way is Thursday night viewership the same thing voter data. This isn’t a poll. To Trump, it’s not even politics, it’s show business.

(image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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