President Donald Trump criticized NBC News for a technical issue that briefly interrupted the beginning stages of Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debates, Yahoo News reports.
So crowded is the field of contenders for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 2020 that NBC is holding two debates, 10 candidates each, the first of which took place on Wednesday night and the second to take place on Thursday night. At Wednesday’s debate, a “hot mic” situation briefly derailed the event’s momentum.
After opening remarks, co-moderators Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, and Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart handed things off to Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow. However, someone in NBC News’ control room apparently forgot to turn off Guthrie and Holt’s microphones. As Todd tried to ask Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren a question about gun violence, Holt and Guthrie bantered with each other backstage. But, their microphones were still live, or “hot” as they say in the TV industry, meaning everyone in the audience, in the room, and at home could hear their conversation.
Todd mentioned the hot mic, and Holt’s was cut, but Guthrie’s stayed live. As the audience chuckled, Todd tried valiantly to get NBC News’ tech people on top of it.
“We are hearing our colleague’s audio… If the control room could turn off the mics,” he said.
"Democrats spent far more time talking about how they would help illegal immigrants than about how they would help the voters they most need to win over — the white working-class Obama voters who pulled the lever for Trump in 2016." https://t.co/fsd8sk8Y4D
— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) June 27, 2019
NBC then cut to a commercial.
In a Twitter post Wednesday night, Trump suggested that NBC News’ technical failures are evidence that the network is, using his favorite phrase, “Fake News.”
“.@NBCNews and @MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves for having such a horrible technical breakdown in the middle of the debate. Truly unprofessional and only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization, which they are!”
Trump wasn’t the only person to point out NBC’s technical issues. Democratic contender Andrew Yang, who will be given his chance to speak at Thursday night’s debates, had a laugh at the expense of NBC News with a tweet that was more jocular in tone than Trump’s.
“Oh no – technical difficulties. It’s the Russians.”
To be fair to NBC News, this is not the first time a “hot mic” situation has happened in a public setting. And considering other such incidents, it could have been considerably more embarrassing for the network. For example, as SB Nation reported at the time, in 2017 former Louisiana State University head coach Les Miles was part of an ESPN roundtable discussion about college football when he excused himself to use the men’s room. Unfortunately, he left his mic on and could be heard asking for directions before someone in the control room cut off his microphone.