Chuck Todd airs Trump's baseless conspiracy theory about doctors and COVID-19 without debunking it

On Sunday, NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd aired a clip of President Donald Trump falsely claiming that “doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID” without debunking the conspiracy theory.

As Media Matters’ Matt Gertz wrote:

Over the final weeks of his campaign, as the United States suffers a third major wave of coronavirus cases, President Donald Trump has begun casually accusing doctors and hospitals caring for COVID-19 patients of deliberately inflating the death toll to make more money. His baseless conspiracy theory appears to originate with one of his favorite Fox News shows. 

But since the early days of the pandemic, Trumpist media figures, including those on Fox, have tried to minimize the impact of the virus and the scale of the president’s failure by arguing the recorded death count is actually overstated. They claim that the number of deaths has been significantly inflated due to the inclusion of people who died after testing positive for the disease but also had underlying conditions.

Trump has seized on a particularly sinister variant of that conspiracy theory -- that doctors and hospitals are deliberately fudging the numbers in order to make more money off the dead. The fever-swamp talking point appears to have originated on Fox. 

Video file

Citation From the November 1, 2020, edition of NBC’s Meet the Press

CHUCK TODD (HOST): I want to stick with COVID here, Kasie. Look, the president all week long has been complaining about the focus on COVID  Here's an example. 


DONALD TRUMP: And a safe vaccine is coming very quickly -- you're going to have it momentarily -- that eradicates the virus. And we're rounding the turn regardless. You know that.

TRUMP: And you know that everything’s COVID, COVID, COVID. You know that. You turn to the news, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID." 

TRUMP: If you get it, you’re going to get better, and then you’re going to be immune, and it’s a whole thing, and it goes away.

TRUMP: You know, our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right? 


TODD: Kasie Hunt, look at these headlines today.