NBC News Will No Longer Allow Trump To 'Phone It In' To Meet The Press
March 21, 2016

Media Matters has begun a campaign to lobby networks not to let Donald Trump phone in his interviews. NBC News' Chuck Todd and Fox News' Chris Wallace have both agreed not to allow any more telephone interviews, a privilege only Trump has enjoyed regularly during this campaign season.

Chuck Todd, host of NBC's Sunday morning political talk show, Meet the Press, told The New York Times he will no longer allow Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump to call in to the show in lieu of appearing on camera, taking away a media advantage that has been solely granted to Trump thus far this campaign season.

Trump has dominated the Sunday morning political talk shows since the beginning of 2015, appearing more than any other candidate, (63 times) including 28 interviews by phone -- a privilege the shows have not allowed any of the other four remaining presidential candidates. Media critics, who say the format gives Trump an upper hand, have called out the practice noting that allowing him to interview by phone "is a signal of the extent to which the television cable networks contort themselves to accommodate Trump."

According to a March 20 New York Times column, NBC's Chuck Todd told The Times' Jim Rutenberg that he "will no longer allow Mr. Trump to do prescheduled interviews by phone." Rutenberg noted that Fox's Chris Wallace has also refused to allow Trump to phone in. From the article:

This is all fine and well, but it's a little bit like letting the horse out of barn, letting it run to the next state and then weakly shouting, "Come back, horsie! Come back!" At this point, what does it matter if he doesn't phone it in? He's gotten billions in free media for the past nine months, and all he needs is a few more beatings at rallies to guarantee he gets more.

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