NBC’s Chuck Todd Apologizes On-Air for Using Misleading Clip of Attorney General

Chuck Todd takes part in the NBC News Decision ’08 panel at the NBC Universal summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 21, 2008. (Fred Prouser/Reuters)

MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd on Tuesday apologized on-air for playing a clip of Attorney General William Barr that was edited in a misleading way during his Sunday show, saying he is “very sorry” for the mistake while stipulating “that was not our edit.”

During Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, Todd played a partial clip of Attorney General Bill Barr defending the Justice Department’s controversial decision to drop the case against former national-security advisor Michael Flynn.

The attorney general was asked during a CBS interview how he thinks the history will be judge his decision to drop the charges against Flynn, who pled guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI regarding his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He withdrew his guilty plea earlier this year.

“Well, history is written by the winner,” Barr responded. “So it largely depends on who’s writing the history.”

In the longer clip that the show did not play, Barr continues, “But I think a fair history would say it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law, it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.”

During the commentary period after playing the clip on his show, Todd claimed that the attorney general did not make the case that he was upholding the rule of law, which he said is close to admitting that “this is a political job.”

“We did not edit that out. That was not our edit,” Todd said during his apology, adding that the show did not include Barr’s additional remarks because “we only saw the shorter of two clips that CBS did air.”

“We should have looked at both and checked for a full transcript, a mistake that I wish we hadn’t made and one that I wish I hadn’t made,” Todd continued. “The second part of the attorney general’s answer would have put it in the proper context, and had I seen that part of the interview, I would not have framed the conversation the way I did. And I obviously am very sorry for that mistake.”

The Twitter account for Meet the Press issued an admission of the error later on Sunday in a reply to a tweet from DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec criticizing the “deceptive editing” of the Barr clip.

“You’re correct,” the show’s account wrote. “Earlier today, we inadvertently and inaccurately cut short a video clip of an interview with AG Barr before offering commentary and analysis. The remaining clip included important remarks from the attorney general that we missed, and we regret the error.”

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