NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd admitted on Thursday that there is an institutional bias in the media when it comes to environmental issues, which has led to a widely critical stance being taken against Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt.
"I think on environmental issues, I think you're right," Todd told radio host Hugh Hewitt on his radio show Thursday morning. "I think that there is an institutional bias on environmental issues towards climate science and things like that, right? So that is perceived as an ideological bias."
Hewitt began the conversation by talking about the rumor that President Donald Trump is considering in firing Attorney General Jeff Session and replace him with Pruitt.
"Now let’s talk for a second, the big rumor of the morning is Scott Pruitt to Justice. I always tell people he’s my friend. My son works at EPA. I want to get that out there. I kind of throw a flag on the media here," Hewitt said. "Ever since Joy Reid and I were doing the Washington University debate, and a nut menaced her, and I mean, I was going to be the last line of defense, which is no defense at all, because I’m old, slow, and not very good. But this nut just got in her face. And it was really scary. And so they fly him in first class. They put in the cybersecurity things they have to do, and the media goes all over him. And they say he’s on thin ice. But in fact, the president’s talking to him about being the AG."
Hewitt then asked if the media has become so anti-Trump that they amplify negative stories about Pruitt.
"Do you think that the media has gone so anti-Trump that they’re amplifying things like Scott Pruitt’s travel?" Hewitt asked.
At first, Todd took issue with Hugh's broad brush in using the term "media."
"Here’s the thing: It depends on how you’re going to define media. I mean, I just get tired of having to answer– because, you know, exactly. I just sort of, I’m sort of, I throw up my hands at it, and I refuse to do it anymore," Todd said. "And I don’t think you can collectively say the media’s anything, because you know, who’s the most influential media organ on television now? It’s Fox News, right? They have the most viewers in the country, so–"
"Actually, it’s Rachel. I think Rachel’s winning, isn’t she?," Hewitt responded.
"Well, Rachel’s, well, but my point is, who’s got influence over the agenda?" Todd asked.
"That’s Fox, yeah," Hewitt said.
"My point is that if you’re going to define the entire media by what happens in primetime, you know, that’s a little, I think that’s a little disingenuous," Todd added.
Todd then went back to address Pruitt, referring to him being a "lighting rod" for the media.
"I think Scott Pruitt’s a lightning rod," Todd said. "I think on environmental issues, I think you’re right. I think that there is an institutional bias on environmental issues towards climate science and things like that, right? So that is perceived as an ideological bias. So I think that there is an institutional bias when it comes to some of these science studies and things like that on the climate."
"So that leads people to go after him?" Hewitt asked.
"That’s right. That, I concede. So I think it automatically puts him sort of on the defensive," Todd concluded.