Brian Williams Demands of Mitch McConnell: ‘Why Shouldn't Rich Folks Pay More?’

Running a brief excerpt from his Sunday night Dateline special, “Taking the Hill: Inside Congress,” Brian Williams on Thursday evening showcased one and only one question he posed to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He demanded: “Why shouldn't rich folks pay more?”

Williams insisted on NBC Nightly News that’s “a hot topic, no tax increase in any of these plans being discussed” in “what has become a big charge from the left that in any of these debt ceiling deals the poor are likely to get hit while the rich are likely to get a pass.”

McConnell countered, in the interview conducted on Wednesday, with the fact the wealthy “do” indeed already pay more, explaining: “They pay an extraordinary amount more, and in fact about half of Americans don't pay any income taxes at all.”

Let’s see if Friday’s NBC Nightly News, or in the Dateline itself, Williams challenges any Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill with a conservative point/argument. He didn’t in the excerpts aired Wednesday and Thursday night.

Meanwhile, fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer decided to bring aboard Senator John McCain one day after McCain had insulted Tea Party Congressmen for “foolish” and “bizarro” demands:

We’re joined now live by Republican Senator John McCain who was so frustrated by all of this yesterday he called the situation “bizarro.” Senator, have you seen anything today to cause you to step back from that description? [McCain: “Not really...”]

From the Thursday, July 28 NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: We are just back from Washington where we spent yesterday on Capitol Hill, all over Capitol Hill in fact. NBC News cameras were given special access for a special broadcast this Sunday night. We talked to nearly every member of the leadership, including the GOP leader in the Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. And I asked him about a hot topic, no tax increase in any of these plans being discussed.

WILLIAMS TO McCONNELL: Why shouldn't rich folks pay more?

SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL: They do. They pay an extraordinary amount more, and in fact about half of Americans don't pay any income taxes at all. That isn't a sticking point. The President in signing a continuation of the current tax rates back in December made the argument that Republicans had made, which is that raising taxes in the middle of a recession is not a good idea. I don't know that anybody thinks the economy's in better shape now than it was six months ago. But all of those issues are being discussed in conjunction with how we put together a package here that will actually begin to get us to head in a different direction.

WILLIAMS: Mitch McConnell on what has become a big charge from the left that in any of these debt ceiling deals the poor are likely to get hit while the rich are likely to get a pass. We will have more from him, from all the players in this, in our prime time special, "Taking the Hill: Inside Congress." That's Sunday night, 7 o’clock, 6 central.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center