On Wednesday, TMZ reported that NBC executives planned to release edited audio of comments made by GOP nominee Donald Trump in order to have the maximum impact on the debate and the election. The plan was stymied by Hurricane Matthew and the video was handed over to the Washington Post.
According to TMZ:
Multiple sources connected with NBC tell us … top network execs knew about the video long before they publicly said they did, but wanted to hold it because it was too early in the election. The sources say many NBC execs have open disdain for Trump and their plan was to roll out the tape 48 hours before the debate so it would dominate the news cycle leading up to the face-off.
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We’re told the plan was to edit the tape to keep the focus on Trump and not Billy. “Access Hollywood” we’re told was not going to air the portion where Trump and Billy got off the bus and Billy goaded Trump and the soap star to hug. Our sources say the tape was going to be “sanitized” to protect Billy as much as possible.
After the Post released the story, TMZ added, “Access Hollywood” ran the video, cutting out the parts that made Bush look even worse.
“NBC really screwed Billy. They had no problem with him on the tape ’till it got leaked,” a source reportedly told TMZ. According to the source, TMZ said, “there was never a peep about disciplining Billy until the full tape got leaked.”
When Matthew hit, execs were concerned that the storm would drown out the video, so they held it. But “staffers” leaked the video anyway.
As we reported earlier this week, Jerry Falwell, Jr., President of Liberty University, told Rita Cosby he has evidence the audio was leaked by GOP elites, although he was unwilling to go any further.
Another report suggested the video was leaked by someone close to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Initially, Dan Senor’s wife, liberal reporter Campbell Brown, didn’t deny the allegation, but later tweeted:
Apparently some w/ a dearth of brain cells thought I was serious. Didn't leak it. Wish I had. To be clear, REALLY wish I had. But didn't. https://t.co/tWQQn4rivu
— Campbell Brown (@campbell_brown) October 11, 2016
Through the Apprentice, Miss USA and Miss Universe, NBC had a financial relationship with Trump for more than a decade and boosted his persona as a businessman and potential political figure during that time. From 2004-2015, NBC’s Trump coverage was overwhelmingly positive.
Bush particularly praised Trump, actually dubbing him “the next president of the United States” on Nov. 3, 2004, when he took Trump to the polls to vote. Bush encouraged other voters to “Write him in! Write him in!”
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