TMZ Claims NBC Held Trump Tape to Influence the Debate

TMZ claims that NBC had known about the Donald Trump/Billy Bush tape no before they said they did and that the network delayed the tape's release to have maximum impact on the 2nd debate. 

TMZ writes that multiple sources connected with NBC tell us ... top network execs knew about the video long before they publicly said they did, but wanted to hold it because it was too early in the election. The sources say many NBC execs have open disdain for Trump and their plan was to roll out the tape 48 hours before the debate so it would dominate the news cycle leading up to the face-off.

TMZ says the plan got derailed by Hurricane Matthew. Execs decided the wall-to-wall coverage of the storm would mess up the plan to dominate the news with the Trump tape, so they were going to hold it until Monday. It didn't sit well with some staffers who wanted it out pre-debate, so it was leaked to the Washington Post.

As FTVLIve reported, TMZ writes that plan was to edit the tape to keep the focus on Trump and not Bush.

"Access Hollywood" was not going to air the portion where Trump and Billy got off the bus and Billy goaded Trump and the soap star to hug. TMZ sources say the tape was going to be "sanitized" to protect Bush as much as possible.

The thought of NBC holding the story until it had the biggest impact is nothing new in TV news. Stations hold stories for sweeps all the time. How many times does the EP say, let's hold that story for the 6? This is common occurrence in TV news. 

So, FTVLive can't fault NBC for holding the story. That's something that is done everyday in TV newsrooms. 

As for trying to edit the tape, as not to make Bush look bad, that is not so cool. NBC is saying, we don't mind making Trump look like a pig, but we don't want our staffer to look like that.

If NBC got away with the edited version, it is more than likely something that would have comeback to bite them hard. In the end, it was best that the tape was released unedited. Maybe not best for Billy Bush, but certainly best for NBC.