Chuck Todd’s Defense of Gun Video Falls Flat With Critics

By Mark Joyella 

NBC’s Chuck Todd was quick to explain his decision Sunday to air a video on Meet the Press of a group of black men–all inmates at a New York prison–discussing gun violence:

We’ve gotten a lot of feedback about the gun video we showed on Meet the Press today. Some were upset it only featured African-American men talking about their regrets of pulling a trigger. All of the men in the piece volunteered to be a part of the video and the larger project it is a part of.

But the last thing we wanted was to cloud the discussion of the topic.

The original decision to air this segment was made before Wednesday’s massacre. However, the staff and I had an internal debate about whether to show it at all this week. When we discussed putting it off, that conversation centered around race and perception – not the conversation we wanted the segment to invoke.

The explanation, for some, didn’t help. New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, ridiculed the idea of a colorblind conversation of racism and the post-show statement:

Writing at Salon, Jack Mirkinson said there was no justification for “one of the most tone-deaf responses to Dylann Roof’s murderous spree that you are likely to see”:

If Chuck Todd’s staff recommended going ahead with that video on that day, he needs a new staff. If “Meet the Press,” which is one of the cozier settings on television, suddenly decides that the place for provocation is with that video on that day, everyone who works there needs to go into a dark room and think about that for a long while.

UPDATE: On Twitter this afternoon, Chuck Todd has explicitly said “we got it wrong.”