On her 1 p.m. et hour MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell mounted her high horse in condemning Republican senators who questioned defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel about his connection to what turned out to be a fake organization: "Without even checking the factual basis for their questions....You can ask anything and create a sound bite, and then people pick it up in social media, and it's off and running." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
People in glass houses should not throw stones. Mitchell infamously aired a deceptively edited clip of Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential race that made him seem out of touch. In September of 2011, she took Republican House Speaker John Boehner wildly out of context and accused him of being "disrespectful" to President Obama.
Mitchell brought up the false accusation against Hagel during a panel discussion about his nomination fight, proclaiming: "...it just only reinforces that this [Senate confirmation hearing] was a star chamber." As the Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains, the phrase "star chamber" refers to a English legal court established in the 15th Century that was "characterized by secrecy and often being irresponsibly arbitrary and oppressive."
The Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson agreed: "[Republicans] were out for blood when it came to Hagel, and out to make a scene in some ways." Post colleague Lori Montgomery chimed in: "And there was some degree of embarrassment among Republicans on the Hill last week....they clearly were uncomfortable blocking the President's nomination for defense secretary on the basis of such ephemeral accusations."
Notice how the panelists ignored the numerous legitimate concerns Republicans had with Hagel's nomination, not to mention the former Senator's poor performance during the hearing.
Here is a transcript of the February 21 exchange:
ANDREA MITCHELL: And one more thing before we leave Hagel, is this whole stir yesterday where the writer in the New York Daily News put out that he had made up, as a joke, the "Friends of Hamas" group. He had just said, "it'd be like saying, you know, 'Friends of Hamas.'" And that was actually a question, Nia-Malika, asked at the confirmation hearing.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON [WASHINGTON POST]: That's right.
MITCHELL: "Did you take money from the Friends of Hamas?"
HENDERSON: Yeah, it got some legs.
MITCHELL: I mean, it just only reinforces that this was a star chamber.
HENDERSON: That's right, I mean, it got some legs, I mean, and it was all about theater, I think, when you had all of those senators, you know, people like Cruz questioning him, talking about the Friends of Hamas, I mean, they were out for blood when it came to Hagel, and out to make a scene in some ways.
MITCHELL: Without even checking the factual basis for their questions.
MITCHELL: Yeah, it's true.
MITCHELL: You can ask anything and create a sound bite, and then people pick it up in social media, and it's off and running.
LORI MONTGOMERY [WASHINGTON POST]: And there was some degree of embarrassment among Republicans on the Hill last week. Even as they were saying, "Oh, slow this whole thing down," I mean, they clearly were uncomfortable blocking the President's nomination for defense secretary on the basis of such ephemeral accusations.