NBC News moderator Lester Holt told viewers Monday night that his town hall with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in Miami featured "undecided voters" in attendance who would ask Biden questions throughout the program.
But David Rutz and Collin Anderson reported for the Washington Free Beacon that at least two of these "undecided" voters had previously declared their support for Biden on NBC News' sister channel, MSNBC.
Lawyer Peter Gonzalez and marketing executive Ismael Llano were both featured audience members who posed questions to Biden. They were described by NBC News as part of an "audience of undecided Florida voters." But the Free Beacon found video from an MSNBC segment in August in which these "undecided" voters explained why they were supporting Biden.
NBC's 'undecided' town hall voters already told network they were voting Bidenwww.youtube.com
"If we get four more years of Trump, good luck, and good luck with the future attracting younger voters," Gonzalez said on MSNBC. The chyron in that MSNBC segment stated he was "voting for Biden."
Llano was identified as an "independent voting for Biden" and praised a speech delivered by the former vice president.
"It is not the first time that television networks have featured Trump opponents masquerading as undecided voters, who are difficult to find and often less publicly vocal about their political views," the Free Beacon reported. "ABC News last month described several Trump critics as undecided voters, including one who had previously described Trump as a 'f***ing moron,' 'pathetic,' "pig,' 'swine,' and a 'punk ass' on social media."
Additionally, the Free Beacon unearthed pro-Biden social media posts from two more of the supposed "undecided" voters from Monday's town hall.
Michelle Cruz Marrero, described as a former Republican by NBC News, has several Facebook cover photos that show support for Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris. "Pro-America, anti-Trump" one says.
Another audience member, Cassidy Brown, reportedly retweeted an pro-Biden account that attacked President Trump for allegedly calling deceased military soldiers "losers."
Politico reporter Marc Caputo picked up on the friendly attitude from the audience toward Biden, noting that the NBC News program was "the equivalent of a one-hour infomercial" for the Democratic candidate.
"This was not a real Miami town hall. Those would have a lot more screaming. This was a television show, just like the presidential debates, the next of which is scheduled to be in Miami and is a town hall-style format," Caputo wrote.