Chuck Todd Disses Akin: 'I Know You Want To Be Mad About the Media,' But Don't Blame Us

Former congressman Todd Akin took his book tour to Chuck Todd's MSNBC show The Daily Rundown on Thursday morning. That came after a pretty rough Megyn Kelly interview on Monday night about the 2012 media feeding frenzy over his medically incorrect remarks about women's bodies often shutting down if there's a "legitimate rape."

"I know you want to be mad about the media," Todd announced dismissively, "but it's Republicans that threw you under the bus."  That formula completely leaves out the absolute flood-the-zone media hysteria that drove the GOP's absolutely panicked force-Akin-out crusade. (Video below)

Please remember the media-bias math on this: The ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts and morning shows offered a massive 96 minutes (and 45 segments) of coverage or this rape gaffe over the first three and a half days. That's what caused all the Republican (even conservative) demands for Akin to retire from the world.

How, by what standard, is a rape gaffe more newsworthy than a rape charge? After The Wall Street Journal first published an interview in which Juanita Broaddrick charged that Bill Clinton raped her on February 19, 1999, the number of evening news stories was one. CBS aired one story after The Washington Post added to the Journal account on Saturday, February 20 -- a 1:51 story on a Saturday night.

This is the rape allegation that ABC wouldn’t offer a story on their morning or evening shows, just two morning questions to Clinton flack Paul Begala. This is the rape allegation that then-CBS anchor Dan Rather told Don Imus on MSNBC that “just maybe the American public has heard all they want to hear about this and are saying ‘you know, next. Let’s move on to the next thing.” This is the rape allegation in which then-NBC anchor Tom Brokaw never allowed the name “Juanita Broaddick” to be uttered on his program, even in promoting NBC’s Dateline interview with Broaddrick. NBC had three morning segments on its own interview.

Now, back to the Todd dismissal:

CHUCK TODD: Well, there's no doubt that politics played into it. But you played into this narrative. And I guess, the other question, you seem to be – you're very upset at Republican elites that you believe were trying to drive you out of the race. I mean they were very public about their attempts to try to get you to quit. They believed what you said was wrong. I know you want to be mad at the media and be mad at the President, but it's Republicans that threw you under the bus.

AKIN: Well that's true. And the book Firing Back has got several different themes. The first one, because that's where you started was the legitimate rape comment, that was taken to all kinds of absurd extremes having me saying things or believing things that I never said, in fact they were the exact opposite of what I said. And so – but my point is kind of interesting. So I misspoke some words. It was intentionally taken out of context. It's made into this great big deal so I'm sort of the villain of the whole world.

Chuck let Akin make his point about the Clintons and rape, but again, he found the Clintons' record on rape irrelevant:

AKIN: Now, the point I'd like to make is go two weeks later. You've got the Democrat National Convention, keynote speaker, Bill Clinton, and uh, even setting aside this sworn testimony under oath of Broderick, who claimed under oath that Bill Clinton raped her, you still have countless other examples of Bill Clinton being involved in assault on women or indecent behavior with women and he gets an applause. Now it seems like to me it's a Democrat war on women. Now spin forward a little bit to the last month or two, we get to Hillary Clinton. Turns out she's representing a guy who's a rapist. She knows he's a rapist. He raped a 12-year-old girl. She uses her influence– 

TODD: Wait a minute. I understand, look, I understand you want to – I've heard conservatives beat up on Bill Clinton and Democrats before on this and I've heard this Hillary – this is still about you. This is still about you classifying rape in this odd way. I guess let me go back and ask you this. Should abortion be legal for somebody who has been raped?

AKIN: Well, that gets to the heart of the question on that interview two years ago. And so here's the question. Should the child conceived in rape have the same right to life as a child conceived in love. That's the question. I'll say it again. Should a child conceived in rape have the same right to life as a child conceived in love? I had a number of people on my campaign that were children that had grown up that had been conceived in rape. They were helping me on the campaign.

From there, Todd pounded away with two more questions on how wrong Akin was to argue that women won't conceive in a "legitimate rape." In other words, Chuck Todd was acting like David Gregory winning our "See No Evil Award" in 1999: we don't talk Clintons and rape on this show!

Akin could have turned this around on Todd and asked him about his network's record: Where is NBC on the Hillary-defends-guilty-child-rapist story? Answer: they haven't touched it since it emerged in mid-June. A Nexis search of transcripts show ABC, CBS, and NBC all come up "No documents found."

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