As a terrorist attack unfolded in London, NBC Nightly News took a potshot at President Donald Trump, publicly saying they would refuse to retweet early reports of the mayhem on London Bridge because Trump himself had retweeted them.
Around 5pm EST time on Saturday, the Drudge Report took to Twitter to report breaking news, that a van had crashed into pedestrians in downtown London, and that at least 20 were injured.
The report turned out to be correct, and based on reports emerging from UK media. As Drudge tweeted, other sources began to claim the “incident” in London was being treated as a possible terror attack.
The President retweeted Drudge almost immediately, but instead of reporting on the news of a possible terror incident, NBC Nightly News chose to make its first Tweets on the subject a manifesto against spreading Trump-propagated misinformation.
At nearly the same moment, the official NBC News Twitter feed was reporting on the same incident – including reporting that Sean Spicer had told media that Trump had been briefed on the situation by security experts. In fact, just before issuing the tweet throwing shade on Trump, NBC Nightly News itself had been studiously reporting on emergency response to the terror attack.
The incongruity between the saucy tweet from NBC Nightly News and NBC News’ overall reporting is unsurprising. Twitter handles for individual broadcast news shows tend to be handled by low level employees, especially on the weekends. Internally, NBC News in general treats its weekend shows as low priority and inferior to their weekday counterparts, which have entirely separate staffs.
The President has been premature in labeling some world events acts of terrorism, like an incident in the Philippines last week, which turned out to be an armed robbery.
But other than the prospective body count, it appears that Trump’s retweet contained no “unconfirmed information.” Later, the President Tweeted that his “travel ban,” currently held up under litigation, could be useful in fighting terrorism within the United States, but that Tweet was clearly the President’s opinion on his own policy.
His only other Tweet was to offer help and support to allies in London.
CNN, not to be outdone by its basic cable colleagues, also fell under scrutiny in its response to the terror attack after one of its hosts, Reza Aslan, called Trump a “piece of sh*t” in a Tweet responding to Trump’s renewed call for a travel ban.
On Sunday morning, Trump again took to Twitter to criticize London mayor Sadiq Khan for saying Londoners had “no reason” to be alarmed in the wake of Saturday’s events, to talk about political correctness, and to point out, somewhat without prompting, that there was no “gun debate” in the wake of the London attack, because the terrorists had used knives.
No mainstream media has responded…yet.