In the video courtesy of Crooks & Liars, you will notice that during the "hand-off" between Mr. Chris Hayes and Ms. Rachel Maddow on MSNBC last night there was pause so pregnant that I was sure Amy Coney Barrett was going to show up to block its access to Planned Parenthood.
It should have been clear to anyone that this very loud silence was their way of saying "We, too, are extremely pissed at our network for rewarding Donald Trump for bailing out of the presidential debates by gifting him with free airtime deliberately countprogrammed against Joe Biden. But the soulless corporate goons who rigged up this despicable ratings grab are the same people who sign our paychecks, so despite the fact that this is objectively big news and we are putatively a news network, don't expect us to whisper one mumbling word about it."
Brother Charlie Pierce was slightly more circumspect:
Speaking of televised town halls—@chrislhayes handoff to Rachel Maddow tonight was, ah, laden with subtext.— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) October 15, 2020
But President Superspreader was only too happy to confirm the contours of the deal:
Trump tells the crowd he's doing his NBC town hall tonight. He says NBC is "the worst" and repeatedly insults them and host Savannah Guthrie. "I figured, what the hell, we get a free hour on television," Trump says.— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) October 15, 2020
Criticism has been coming incoming from all directions. The Daily Beast reports that below decks "everyone is upset" at the network, and no less an august Beltway personage like Katie Couric has taken to Twitter to express her displeasure:
Having dueling town halls is bad for democracy-voters should be able to watch both and I don’t think many will. This will be good for Trump because people like to watch his unpredictability. This is a bad decision. #vote— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) October 14, 2020
Oh Katie, Katie, Katie, you'd have to scrape off more than decade's worth of NBC openly groveling for Republican approval under David Gregory and Chuck Todd before you could get down to the level of this being merely a "bad decision".