During a softball interview on MSNBC Monday afternoon, embattled California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom was given the opportunity to blame his failures in response to the COVID pandemic on political opponents who organized the recall effort against him. Without evidence, he claimed those wanting to remove him from office in the upcoming September 14th election were spreading ant-vaxxer conspiracy theories.
“Let’s talk about the intersection, if we can, of COVID and politics for a moment. You’re handling of the coronavirus, sir, has been a driving force behind the recall effort,” anchor Ayman Mohyeldin declared during the 3:00 p.m. ET hour. Moments later, he invited Newsom to speculate on why the state was struggling to finish vaccinating its population: “And what do you attribute those 25% that have remained unvaccinated. What do you attribute that to in your state?”
Rather than take any responsibility for the failure, Newsom instead launched into a tirade against Republicans and “right-wing pundits,” even trying to blame the organizers of the California recall:
Well, overwhelming majority of misinformation by right-wing pundits, period, full stop. Time to be a little bit more specific....There’s been a right-wing talking point here and it’s overwhelmingly coming from certain networks and it’s having an impact on getting this disease behind us....And including, by the way, the folks that are behind this damn recall in California. These are the exact same people describing mask covering to the equivalency of the Holocaust, it’s the same folks. So, look, you’re right, those things are connected, at least in this state.
Of course Mohyeldin never bothered to challenge any of Newsom’s assertions or demand evidence for his defamatory claims about recall supporters.
At least MSNBC acknowledged that the California Democrat was facing a recall election. During an interview on CNN earlier in the same hour, the remarkably tight race was never even mentioned by Newsroom co-anchor Victor Blackwell.
A recent poll in California found that 43% of voters supported recalling Newsom, with 48% in favor of keeping him in office and still 9% undecided. Beyond that, 58% thought that it was “time for someone new” when asked if Newsom should be reelected in 2022, assuming he survived the current recall. In addition, a new poll released on Tuesday showed California voters nearly evenly split on whether to recall Newsom.
Neither left-wing cable channel bothered to note any of those details showing the real possibility of Newsom being in political peril.
The easy exchange with Newsom on MSNBC was brought to viewers by Chevron and CNN’s softball chat with him was brought to viewers by Liberty Mutual. You can fight back by letting these advertisers know what you think of them sponsoring such content.
Here is a transcript of the Mohyeldin’s July 26 questions to Newsom on MSNBC:
3:24 PM ET
AYMAN MOHYELDIN: California Governor Gavin Newsom just announced all state employees must show proof of vaccination. Health care centers will also need to verify workers have, in fact, gotten the shot. State workers who aren’t vaccinated will be subject to weekly COVID testing and they must continue to wear masks. Joining me now is California Governor Gavin Newsom. Governor, thank you so much for your time.
Lots of ground to cover here, I’ll start with your announcement. Nearly three out of four eligible Californians, I believe, are at least partially vaccinated. Explain to us the timing of this. What’s pushing you to require state employees to show proof of vaccination now? And just logistically, how does this work? Do you have any privacy concerns?
MOHYELDIN: And just to put a button on it, sir. How, logistically, will it work? How will the state verify the vaccination records of these employees and health care workers?
MOHYELDIN: As you know, as we were talking about various agencies, cities, municipalities grappling with this very same question about mandating vaccine, earlier this month, you’re probably aware the Military Times reported that the Pentagon is waiting for a full FDA approval before requiring the shot for service members. Why not wait until the FDA gives the vaccines full approval before you mandate it in your state for your workers?
MOHYELDIN: The second part of what you announced today was that if you don’t get vaccinated, you have to be subject to weekly COVID testing. And as you’re probably aware, with the delta variants being hyper contagious, recent studies show that it may not be enough to test just weekly. Do you think weekly testing for unvaccinated people will be enough to mitigate the spread? Are you concerned that there is a gap time here between those that remain unvaccinated not sufficiently being tested frequently enough to catch those that may actually have the delta variant or other incoming variants?
MOHYELDIN: Let’s talk about the intersection, if we can, of COVID and politics for a moment. You’re handling of the coronavirus, sir, has been a driving force behind the recall effort. Can you just set the record straight for us? Do you support mask mandates right now, the decision that was made in L.A. County recently?
MOHYELDIN: And what do you attribute those 25% that have remained unvaccinated. What do you attribute that to in your state?
NEWSOM: Well, overwhelming majority of misinformation by right-wing pundits, period, full stop. Time to be a little bit more specific. The Ron Johnsons of the world, the Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the world, the Tucker Carlsons of the world. I watch them, I listen, I pay attention. They’re misinforming people. They’re literally putting people’s lives at risk. People are dying because of the misinformation, either knowingly or unknowingly, regardless, time to call it out, draw these lines.
NEWSOM: But let’s call it out. There’s been a right-wing talking point here and it’s overwhelmingly coming from certain networks and it’s having an impact on getting this disease behind us. Now it’s impacting our economy, it’s impacting not just our public health, it’s impacting our ability to get our kids into school. So enough. And including, by the way, the folks that are behind this damn recall in California. These are the exact same people describing mask covering to the equivalency of the Holocaust, it’s the same folks. So, look, you’re right, those things are connected, at least in this state. But more importantly, we’re connected as a country by this misinformation and we’ve got to call it out.
MOHYELDIN: Alright, California Governor Gavin Newsom. Sir, thank you so much for your time. We hope to continue the conversation with you in the weeks ahead. Appreciate it.
NEWSOM: Thanks much.
Here is a transcript of Blackwell’s questions to Newsom on CNN:
3:07 PM ET
VICTOR BLACKWELL: In California, Governor Gavin Newsom has just announced brand new vaccine mandates for certain people in his state. And Governor Newsom joins me now. Governor, thanks for being with us. Your new mandate aligns with what we’ve heard from these health care groups but goes a step further. What are the new rules and when are they applying?
BLACK WELL: Governor, correct me if I’m wrong, from what I read from your office there’s a distinction between the health care workers and the rest of the state employees. That those health care workers vaccinations will be verified. Will the state also be verifying the vaccination of all state employees?
BLACKWELL: Does this apply to volunteers and vendors and contractors?
BLACKWELL: So let’s talk about masks. Of course L.A. County has brought back their mask mandate for indoors regardless of vaccination status. I want to put up on the screen the growth in cases. I’ve got the six weeks before the indoor mask mandate for vaccinated people ended on June 15th. And then you see the six weeks or so since and there of course is this growth in cases. Is it time, Governor, to bring back a universal mask mandate regardless of vaccination status there in California?
BLACKWELL: I get that, but short of people getting vaccinated – and there are lots of conspiracy theories about why people are not getting the vaccines – but short of those vaccinations, why not follow the lead of L.A. County and require those masks? Because we know the honor system didn’t work. That the people who were unvaccinated kept their masks on while those who are vaccinated took them off in malls and indoor facilities. So why back away from that – that option?
GAVIN NEWSOM: We can talk about conspiracy theories. It’s very direct misinformation, not just conspiracy theories, it’s misinformation being proffered by the Ron Johnsons and the vast majority or at least roughly a majority of Republican House members. It’s folks like Tucker Carlson. You need to call this out. These guys on the right that have been misinforming the public and now people’s lives are at risk and the economy is this country is at risk and our ability to educate our kids is at risk. We need to be more direct about this, we need to call this out, I think, much more succinctly.
NEWSOM: So ee need to be a little bit more aggressive in this space and we need to call out the misinformation that is being proffered by certain groups and increasingly along an ideological spectrum.
BLACKWELL: And it’s something we, of course, do here every day. What are you doing about it there in California?
BLACKWELL: Specifically on misinformation, Governor. I apologize if that question wasn’t clear. Specifically on misinformation, what are you doing about it?
BLACKWELL: Alright, California Governor Gavin Newsom, thank you so much for your time, sir.
NEWSOM: Good to be with you.