The decision to turn MSNBC into an unofficial Democratic Party outlet helped stave off what seemed to be the channel’s imminent demise. But it’s also created some serious credibility problems for the parent NBC News operation which still clings to the idea that it is “objective.”
That tension manifested itself in a humorous way today after NBC correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell claimed conservatives who support border enforcement first on immigration “ought to be ashamed of themselves” and that Arizona Republican John McCain was a “hero” for opposing them.
Most people would call such a pronouncement a rather blatant example of opinioneering but not the suits at NBC.
Contacted by Dylan Byers of Politico, NBC’s director of communications Erika Masonhall did her best Jedi mindtrick impression as she insisted that Mitchell had actually “not taken a position on this issue.”
Here’s her full statement:
Andrea has not taken a position on this issue. In the full context of her comments, she was noting that business and agriculture interests, clergy, and labor communities have all said the current policy is unsustainable, and that there is no economic argument for doing nothing or only adding to border security.
Since Masonhall seems to be having some reading comprehension difficulties, here is the video of Mitchell’s original comment which NB’s Mark Finkelstein captured earlier today:
The transcript of Mitchell’s statement follows:
Here you've got the business community, the Chamber of Commerce, the agriculture community, evangelicals, Catholics, clergymen all across the country, and they are not listening, because in their districts it does not pay any benefit. There is no cost to voting against immigration. And the piecemeal approach is basically saying, let's throw a lot of money at border security.
John McCain has pointed out—and he's been heroic on this issue—he has pointed out that it is a total waste of money what they did in the Senate, but it is political cover. But to do border security and nothing else: these fiscal conservatives ought to be ashamed.
It would appear that Masonhall thinks that because various political groups happen to agree with McCain’s opinion that border enforcement should not be the only step taken on immigration, her statement that “just to do border security and nothing else -- these fiscal conservatives ought to be ashamed” is not actually an opinion.
One wonders what color the sky is in the world of Erika Masonhall.