Chuck Todd: ‘The Quality of Debates This Cycle Has Stunk’

By Chris Ariens 

Tens of millions watched–setting records in the process–but NBC’s Chuck Todd was no fan of the 2016 primary debates. Speaking to the Seattle CityClub yesterday in a Q&A with KING5 reporter Natalie Brand, Todd called “the debate process a mess.”

“It’s embarrassing to the idea of debate,” said Todd, who co-moderated one of them. Todd pointed the finger at greedy network executives:

“If you have media organizations pitted against each other, competing for it, and–I say this perhaps to the detriment of NBC–but I can tell you this: I think the quality of the debates this cycle has stunk. Let’s not pretend a lot of it was a lot of candidates, but part of it had too many news executives motivated by the eyeballs and whatever it took to get the candidates on stage. You cut the deal with whatever organization. Questionable partnerships, ethically, that back in the day never would have passed standards at a news organization.”

Todd said “the consortium route,” where all national networks or stations in a particular media market team up to put on a debate, is the way to go. Todd also praised the individual candidate forums. “I got more out of those than any of the debates,” he said.

Todd also talked about campaign coverage, Trump’s use of the media and he took this shot at… well, we’re not sure: “I prefer news organizations that are run by journalists. I’m gonna leave that there. I’ll people figure out who I’m talking about.” Here’s the 25-minute Q&A, the debate discussion starts around 6:00.