Jacobin contributor: Calls for NBC not to air Trump townhall won’t succeed in ‘deplatforming’ the president

Philosophy professor and liberal magazine Jacobin contributor Ben Burgis said Thursday that calls for NBC not to air President Trump’s townhall Thursday evening were not an effective strategy to “deplatform” the president, adding that Trump already has “the biggest megaphone.” 

Burgis explained on Hill.TV’s “Rising” that while some people responded to NBC’s announcement of the townhall by complaining that viewers would have to choose between it and ABC’s townhall with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, NBC staffers interviewed by the Daily Beast said the network should not be giving Trump a platform at all. 

It almost seems like a hear no evil, see no evil thing, like that they’re going to get people to not go along with whatever Trump is saying… that they’re going to just not give him the platform in the first place, which this seems like a really extreme version of that attempt of kind of forcing a media bubble,” Burgis explained. 

“It almost seems like this can’t be the strategy to get people to not buy what he’s saying or not go along with what he’s saying, to just say, ‘oh, well we’ll just deny him the megaphone,’ that seems like a really bankrupt way of doing that,” he added. 

“It’s just not going to work — he’s the president of the United States,” he continued. “You can’t make him go away by deplatforming him.” 

Thursday morning, more than 100 Hollywood stars signed onto an open letter to NBC and Comcast executives asking them to run Trump’s townhall either prior to or after Biden’s “so that American voters can have the opportunity to watch both.” 

However, NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde stood by the decision to air the townhall at the same time as ABC’s, writing in a statement that if NBC “were to move our town hall with President Trump to a later timeslot we would be violating our commitment to offer both campaigns access to the same audience and the same forum.” 

Watch more of the interview above.

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