NBC News anchor Lester Holt received the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award from Washington State University on Tuesday. Now, as noted by the Washington Examiner, his virtual acceptance speech is drawing fire for his admission of what conservatives have always believed the mainstream media believed: "fairness is overrated."
Holt was sure to warn listeners not to jump too quickly on what he realized was a headline-making comment the moment it left his lips and tried to assure the public that he was talking about the disseminating of lies and fake news, but it was clear to his observers and critics that he was going after conservatives and any Trump supporters who may have issues with the liberal press.
What did he say?
After receiving the award, which WSU says is given to those who will be remembered "as the pillars of the communication industry," Big Country News reported, Holt launched into his lecture about the treatment of the media and who deserves to have a platform.
"The unprecedented attacks on the press in this period I'm sure will fill plenty of books and be studied in classrooms," he said before offering his take on what journalists should learn from this moment in U.S. history.
"Number one is — I think it's become clearer that fairness if overrated," he said before warning, "Woah, before you run off and tweet that headline, let me explain a bit."
Then, seemingly unknowingly, he uttered a lament that fit right into the stereotype conservative media critics have for the mainstream media. Holt blasted "the idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit," saying such a mindset "does not reflect the world we find ourselves in."
Despite the fact that the left has long clamored for what they call "equal time" and have even called for a revival of the Fairness Doctrine, Holt believes denying equal time to what he and his cohort of liberal newsmen consider "unsupported arguments" is actually a virtue of today's media.
He warned that the American news media can't just allow people to have an "open platform" that would let them say whatever they want.
"Decisions to not give unsupported arguments equal time are not a dereliction of journalistic responsibility or some kind of agenda," Holt said. "In fact, just the opposite. Providing an open platform for misinformation, for anyone to come say whatever they want, especially when issues of public health and safety are at stake, can be quite dangerous.
"Our duty is to be fair to the truth," he continued. "Holding those in power accountable is as the core of our function and responsibility. We need to hear our leaders' views, their policies and reasoning — it's really important — but we have to stand ready to push back and call out falsehoods."
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham got a kick out of Holt's claim, noting the anchor's willingness to give an open platform to left-wing politicians like Hillary Clinton.
Lester Holt: We can't alllow an "open platform for misinformation." Also Lester: Provides open platform for Hillar… https://t.co/PSlZ5LUoaa— Tim Graham (@Tim Graham) 1617207917.0