NBC's Chuck Todd Plays Obama on Leno Falsely Claiming Putin Ran the KGB -- With No Correction

NBC White House reporter Chuck Todd hotly dismissed on Twitter the planned NBC docudrama on Hillary Clinton: “NBC News has nothing to do w/Clinton mini series on NBC entertainment. So save your complaints.” Todd also tweeted: “Can already imagine how either Clinton lovers or haters will assume some sort of NBC News involvement. Trust me, we have day jobs.”

But there was Todd on the day-job on Wednesday’s Nightly News, playing three clips of Obama on ...NBC Entertainment’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Without any correction, Todd aired a clip of Obama falsely claiming Putin “headed up the KGB,” which was buried with the Soviet Union in 1991. (Leno and the morning shows didn’t challenge Obama on his error, either.) Todd promoted Obama as “buttoned-down, measured” while Putin was “famously flamboyant” in photo-ops: 

TODD  To say the two have no personal chemistry is an understatement...The leaders couldn’t be more different. Putin, famously flamboyant in his many photo-ops. The president: buttoned-down, measured.

LENO And Putin seems to me like one of those old-school KGB guys.

OBAMA Well, he – he headed up the KGB.

LENO [over laughter]: Yeah, that’s what I mean.

If Obama wanted to spare Chuck the Twitter complaints, he could have just held a press conference instead of making the networks all play Jay Leno clips like stenographers to Buttoned-Down Power.

While he described the U.S.-Russia relationship as hitting a "new low," Todd couldn't find anyone critical of Obama's handling of Russia. He ran a brief clip of former Republican Senator and Bill Clinton Defense Secretary Bill Cohen offering the bromide that  "It's time we find ways to make it better."   

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis