NBC is America’s oldest broadcast network. It reaches virtually every TV-equipped home in the country, and owns and operates 10 stations on publicly owned airwaves.
Isn’t it about time for NBC to do the responsible thing and cut ties with Donald Trump?
This isn’t a First Amendment issue. Trump has the right to continue to spout his particular brand of idiocy whenever he likes.
But he doesn’t have a right to star in a show on NBC. And the network tarnishes its own image by giving Trump his biggest platform, “The Celebrity Apprentice,” which is scheduled to return in March.
“Donald Trump has driven well past the last exit to relevance and veered into something closer to irresponsible,” NBC News anchorman Brian Williams said on election night.
Trump clearly crossed that line when he took to Twitter and advocated forming a mob and overthrowing the government:
• “[President Obama] lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!”
• “More votes equals a loss … revolution!”
• “We should march on Washington and stop this travesty.”
Many of us would be out of work if we’d tweeted that. If NBC doesn’t cut Trump loose, it’s tacitly endorsing him and his behavior.
Clearly, Trump was displaying his own petulance and ignorance on election night. He wasn’t smart enough to understand that Mitt Romney’s early lead in the popular vote would be reversed when the West Coast results came in.
(President Obama won the popular vote by 3.38 million and won an absolute majority, with 50.6 percent of the votes.)
NBC fired Pat Buchanan because of a book he wrote that was deemed offensive — and Buchanan didn’t call for the overthrow of the government.
Perhaps NBC fears backlash because its cable news network, MSNBC, is loaded with liberal voices — such as Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Ed Schultz and Chris Matthews. But they look moderate compared with Trump.
And NBC isn’t alone in feeding Trump’s ego. He’s a staple on talk shows, including CBS’ David Letterman — although Letterman cleverly dinged Trump recently. The billionaire described China as “a country that is ripping our heart out,” and then Letterman pulled out the Trump-brand ties made in China.
As this is being written, nearly 600,000 people have signed a petition urging Macy’s to dump Trump and his clothing line because he “engages in especially unpleasant, nasty and despicable behavior” that doesn’t “reflect the ‘magic of Macy’s.’ ”
Trump’s presence on NBC’s schedule doesn’t reflect well on the network, either.
He needs to go. Now.
Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.