On Thursday, on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” host Chuck Todd theorized that President Trump should be compared to O.J. Simpson, who was accused of murdering his wife Nicole and Ron Goldman but was acquitted despite substantial doubt among the public that he was innocent.
Todd’s comments were triggered after a short monologue from former senior FBI official Andrew Weissmann, who opined, “On substance, this is really not about the facts. The facts have been unbelievably clear; you had two and more compelling witnesses today saying, ‘Yes, there was a quid pro quo. And by the way, everybody knew it.’ So this is really not about the facts; it’s a question of what are the voters, whether it’s the voters in Congress or the voters in the election that’s coming up, are gonna care. I think that’s really the issue; it’s not sort of ‘package it.’”
As Mark Finkelstein noted at Newsbusters, that elicited this response from Todd: “I’m having a quick flashback to the O.J. trial, frankly, where the facts were damning, but it didn’t matter. And yet, he was innocent, but everybody knew he was guilty. Are we about to head into a situation like that where he’s going to get acquitted and yet everybody’s gonna know he’s guilty?”
After Weissmann tried to present the case for the supposed GOP argument that the standard of proof for impeachment needed to be high, he returned to arguing that Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) closing argument to compare the case against Trump to Watergate was correct, “because there you had another president who was cheating on the election, or trying to, which is exactly what is going on here, where you have the President of the United States trying to gin up a phony criminal investigation into who he thought would be his most damaging political rival, without ever, of course, revealing that he spent $400 million to get that happen.”
This wasn’t the only Simpson comparison on MSNBC. On November 13, Chris Matthews went there: These hearings today are going to be much more like the O.J. trial, the great trial at the end of the 20th century, where people took sides very quickly. It wasn’t so much about the facts, it’s about your perspective, your history as a human being in this country.
Todd’s myopic bias against conservatives on the Right has been in evidence for some time; he said in July 2019: “The fact is we are living in this 21st century new type of asymmetrical media warfare that we’re in. And you have a propaganda machine on the right. And that’s what it is. It’s a full-fledged propaganda machine on the right that the Democrats haven’t figured out how to combat very well yet.”
In an op-ed he wrote for The Atlantic in September 2018, Todd launched a ferocious attack on Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, writing that they had “attained wealth and power by exploiting the fears of older white people. They are thriving financially by exploiting the very same free-press umbrella they seem determined to undermine.”
He complained, “And what did we reporters do in the face of this cable onslaught that would eventually turn into a social-media virus and lead us to the election of the most fact-free presidential candidate in American history? Nothing.”