Ratigan's Fawning Interview of Barney Frank

Interviewing Barney Frank this morning on proposals to regulate the financial markets, MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan seemed set on appeasing the notoriously rude representative.  Ratigan had surely seen the video of Mark Haines' CNBC interview of Frank back in June, and was determined not to suffer the same fate, in which Frank ripped off his earpiece and ended the segment short.

Even before posing his first question to Frank, Ratigan began by laying a sop at the great man's feet: "I know you're working very hard on this legislation.  And before we begin, I had a lot of folks come to me and say listen, make sure you thank the representative for his efforts to try to deal with this.  You are dealing with an incredibly complicated problem with a variety of issues.  So I wanted to pass along the appreciation of your efforts before we begin this conversation."

His tribute to Frank didn't spare Ratigan a reprimand when later on he dared to get in a word edgewise.  So Ratigan naturally concluded the interview . . . by apologizing to Frank for having interrupted him.

DYLAN RATIGAN: I know you're working very hard on this legislation.  And before we begin, I had a lot of folks come to me and say listen, make sure you thank the representative for his efforts to try to deal with this.  You are dealing with an incredibly complicated problem with a variety of issues.  So I wanted to pass along the appreciation of your efforts before we begin this conversation.
. . .

 

Later, Frank rapped Ratigan's knuckles for presuming to interject while the great man was pontificating.

BARNEY FRANK: But we've already passed --

DYLAN RATIGAN: But what about what she says about the --

FRANK: I'm trying to answer it --

RATIGAN: -- about the --

FRANK: I'm trying to answer it --

RATIGAN: -- failed specifically, which is the mechanism by which they risk our money and pay themselves, and they are lobbying aggressively to maintain --
Frank responded with classic condescension, coupled with a slap on Dylan's wrists.
FRANK: You know these things, these things are somewhat complicated.  And they can't all be answered in eight seconds.
Ratigan was duly remorseful.
RATIGAN: I know, no, I know.

FRANK: So I wish you would let me answer the question.

RATIGAN: Yeah, I know.
Ratigan ended with an apology, and a plea for future punishment.
RATIGAN: Representative, I appreciate the conversation with you, and your indulging some of my interruption, and I look forward to having a conversation with you about this again sooner rather than later.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.