In piece ostensibly about the Critical Issue of whether Billy Bush can “recover” from laughing at Donald Trump’s piggishness 11 years ago, People Magazine buries the lede, big time. Namely: the network’s original plan was to edit Bush out of the tape:
“They could have released the tape and edited him out,” the source says of the individual that leaked the footage. “That was the plan — they were trying to approve it and then someone leaked it. That’s what Access Hollywood eventually did and they played it … but it was already out,” the source says and adds, “If they wanted to protect him, they could have edited it out which they did on the final Access piece that aired on Friday, but they left it in when it was leaked.”
(According to an NBC spokesperson: “There absolutely was never a consideration by NBC News to edit the tape.”)
What is the significance of this? Journalism, not Billy Bush and his future on the awful TODAY Show. If you’d asked 9 out of 10 Americans two weeks ago who Billy Bush was, they probably would have said it’s the president’s brother — you know, the one who makes his own beer. (That’s a joke for the over-40 crowd. Sorry, youngsters.) Nobody cares about Billy Bush. But what they should care about is journalistic standards. I was furiously banging this drum the other day:
Here’s the real thing Billy Bush and NBC News should be apologizing for: holding on to this information for so long.
Think about it. Billy Bush is a host of NBC’s TODAY Show. Let me make this very clear: the TODAY show is part of NBC News. Just to drive the point home, let me quote from NBC Universal’s own Web site:
NBC News is a global leader in news across all broadcast and digital platforms. Its leading and award-winning television news broadcasts include NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, TODAY, Meet the Press and Dateline, as well as primetime specials and breaking news reports.
Got that? What this means, ladies and gentlemen, is that a host of an NBC News program had game-changing information about a major-party candidate for the U.S. presidency and said nothing. Billy Bush knew Donald Trump had talked about sexually assaulting women on a regular basis. What’s more, he had this information since 2005 — meaning he had it since June 2015, when Donald Trump got into the race.
And he said nothing.
With the People Magazine article, we have our first real evidence that the institution of NBC News was trying to hide Bush’s direct involvement in the scandal, until somebody else scooped them. Specifically, NBC News (though they deny it) was planning to cover up the role that one of the hosts of one of their news programs played — in a key bit of news that has upended a U.S. presidential race.
Oh, sure, I hear you saying: TODAY is a crap news show, and Billy Bush is a minor nothing personality on that crap show. All true. To which I say: so what? Most news shows are crap shows. Are we going to now excuse journalistic malfeasance by a “news” organization just because that organization, or one of its shows, happens to be of shoddy quality?
Why, that would be like excusing one of Donald Trump’s lies just because we know that he lies all the time.
Wait a minute . . .