NBC’s “Today” Show Has Higher Standards Than the GOP
The “Today Show’s” Billy Bush faced extreme backlash from network executives and the public after an audio recording surfaced of the television host having a lewd conversation with Donald J. Trump.
The compromising recording from 2005–in which Trump brags about groping women–quickly became the business mogul’s most pressing issue to date as Republican officials unendorsed their party’s nominee. The GOP presidential nominee posted a statement on social media, telling voters that he is not a “perfect person” and that the words captured in 2005 “don’t reflect who I am.”
In the recording, Bush also exchanged lewd and misogynistic remarks about women. Bush, known as the nephew of former President George H. W. Bush and the cousin of former President George W. Bush and Jeb Bush, worked for Access Hollywood at the time.
Bush issued a statement on Friday evening saying, “Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago–I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
Everyone hasn’t been so quick to accept the apology.
Noah Oppenheim, the NBC executive in charge of “Today,” wrote in a memo to his staff members on Sunday that “I know we’ve all been deeply troubled by the revelations of the past 48 hours.”
“Let me be clear–there is simply no excuse for Billy’s language and behavior on that tape,” he said. “NBC has decided to suspend Billy, pending further review of this matter.”
Bush co-hosts the third hour of the “Today Show” and has remained off-air since Monday. This isn’t his first time coming under fire during his brief stint on the show. Bush, was the first to report the debunked Ryan Lochte robbery scandal and it led to questions about his journalistic approach.
The leak leads to larger questions about journalism ethics. The 44-year-old television host withheld knowledge of a presidential nominee admitting to sexual assault.
“Late Night” TV host Seth Meyers unleashed on Donald Trump and his performance in Sunday night’s debate. Meyers referred to him as “the pervert on the bus” and said that there is “currently a higher standard for the third hour of the “Today Show” than there is for the Republican nominee for president.”
Bush’s future remains unclear. A variety of media sources have speculated that his official departure is only a matter of time.
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) October 12, 2016
Bush worked on “Access Hollywood,” NBC’s entertainment news show, for nearly 15 years before being promoted to “Today” in August, after contributing to the network’s coverage of the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.