Today, NBC News came in for criticism for two misleading posts on Twitter about an answer Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus gave to “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd about President-elect Donald Trump’s proposals to prevent terrorism and secure the nation’s borders. When Todd asked Priebus -- President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for White House chief of staff -- if he would rule out putting Muslims on a national registry, Priebus dismissed the idea.
Here is a partial transcript:
TODD: Can you equivocally rule out a registry for Muslims?
PRIEBUS: Look, I’m not going to rule out anything. But, we are not going to have a registry based on religion.
"Can you rule out a registry for Muslims?" asks @ChuckTodd.
However, NBC News’ public relations Twitter account tweeted out the exchange but left out the second part of Priebus’ response that provided essential context. NBC News PR tweeted an abbreviated version of the discussion. “‘Can you rule out a registry for Muslims?’ asks @ChuckTodd. ‘I'm not going to rule out anything…’ says @Reince on @MeetThePress #MTP”
In a second tweet, NBC again failed to provide the full exchange. “WH Chief of Staff @Reince ‘not going to rule out anything’ when asked about a possible Muslim registry.”
The quote provided by NBC is opposite of what Priebus actually said, according to the full transcript. This was also noted by New York Times’ political correspondent Maggie Haberman, who noted the discrepancy on Twitter.
While NBC has not yet said whether a retraction is forthcoming, the NBC PR Twitter account appeared to be unrepentant in a response to Haberman who tweeted, “This quote is in fact opposite of what PR tweet indicates.” NBC PR responded in a tweet reading: “He *does* say ‘I'm not going to rule out anything.’"
In the interview with Priebus, Todd pressed further on the future Trump administration's take on radical Islamic terrorism. Todd asked, “Doesn’t President-elect Trump agree with Gen. Flynn that fear of Muslims is rational?” Priebus answered, “He believes that no faith in and of itself should be judged as a whole,” adding, “But there are some people in countries abroad that need to be prevented from coming into this country.” He said finally, “I think that’s where 99 percent of Americans are at.”
Trump has often criticized the media, alleging that it has not fairly covered his campaign or his transition. He has called for increased vetting of persons asking for admission to the United States who are coming from conflictive areas such as the Middle East.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group that has been linked to the global Muslim Brotherhood, issued a tweet that criticized Priebus for supposedly refusing to rule out a Muslim registry.