Tuesday will mark six years since MSNBC launched its 4pm ET Deadline: White House hosted by Nicolle Wallace, who began her media career as a Republican communications operative. When Deadline debuted, Wallace touted how her past experience would help her confront self-serving spin of other politicos.
“One of the things you have when you have been on the inside is a really good B.S. radar,” she bragged to Variety six years ago. “I know when I’m being spun by White House officials.”
Yet while Wallace has harshly criticized Republicans and conservatives, she’s shown no interest in calling out the spin of Democratic operatives. Instead, Wallace has set aside her B.S. radar to cheerfully promote the lamest Biden White House spin — even after colossal failures such as the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Ninety-five percent of the American people will agree with everything he [Biden] just said. Ninety-five percent of the press covering this White House will disagree,” she brazenly claimed following the President’s speech on Afghanistan on August 16, 2021. A poll at the time showed nearly 70% of Americans disapproved of Biden’s Afghanistan debacle.
Instead of challenging then-Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke back in May 2019, she instead asked how she could help make his coverage even more pleasurable: “Play media critic. What can we do better as those of us trying to cover your candidacies from very far away, from where the first votes will be cast in Iowa and New Hampshire? Don’t hold back.”
To Wallace, Democrat Adam Schiff gave an “impassioned and unforgettable speech” at Trump’s 2020 impeachment trial: “There was no way to watch Adam Schiff last night and feel like anything but an American.”
She poured flattery over Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki (now her NBC/MSNBC colleague): “You get such high marks from the vast majority of the people in the [White House press] room. You spar a little bit with some of the President’s detractors. But I’m sure privately even they give you grudging respect.”
Yet she detested Trump White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, putting NBC reporter Kristen Welker on the spot back in 2018: “How do you resist the temptation to run up and wring her neck?...I mean, I don’t know the difference any more between Baghdad Bob and Sarah Sanders.”
Political pros like Wallace are experts at choosing their words and crafting messages to achieve their objectives. And for the past six years, the onetime-Republican has been on a seek-and-destroy campaign to vilify Republicans and paint her former party as a dangerous extremist movement:
■ “You know how there’s always a signer at any event, someone signs for the deaf? I think there should be a truth teller in the corner of every Trump event who is, you know, sort of holding a scroll and sort of saying ‘lie.’ Or, you know, like, he wants everything in handwriting. Hold up the gymnastics scores. Lie. I mean, literally, I’ve never seen anything like it!”
— Wallace on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, March 6, 2018.
■ “This is about taking a 2x4 to the ugliest aspects of Trumpism: The racism, the misogyny, I mean, the three legs of Donald Trump’s stool.”
— Wallace on MSNBC, June 26, 2019, previewing that night’s debate among Democratic presidential candidates.
■ “You now have a President, as you said, talking about exterminating Latinos.”
— Wallace on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, August 5, 2019. Even PolitiFact assigned Wallace a “pants on fire” rating for this falsehood.
■ “There is not a single member of the Republican Party who cared at all about unity when Donald Trump waved his misogyny flag or waved his racism flag, or waved his ‘reporters are the enemy of the people’ flag....They’ve made clear they don’t care and that disunity has been their strategy.”
— Wallace during MSNBC’s live coverage of House impeachment proceedings, January 13, 2021.
■ “I think the security questions of the Republican party as a domestic-terror threat….should be front and center for the Democrats in these midterm elections.”
— Wallace on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, July 29, 2021.
■ “A lot of people are saying when all the adults and the guardrails and everyone else failed or couldn’t take Donald Trump anymore, he [Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley] stayed and protected the country and did the right thing….But, over in delusional America, where disinformation rules the day, there are calls for his firing and worse.”
— Wallace on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, September 17, 2021.
■ “I worry that in covering [Virginia GOP Governor] Glenn Youngkin and his politics of [uses air quotes] ‘parental choice,’ all the focus was on how well it worked. And even in our conversations about [Florida GOP Governor Ron] DeSantis; it’s about how well they’re serving him. The truth is dehumanization as a tactic for politics is from war. Dehumanization is a tactic that’s being used right now. The Russians get their soldiers to rape children by dehumanizing them. Dehumanization as a practice is a tactic of war. It’s being deployed in our politics and....that dehumanization has a cost right now, right now as it’s being deployed....Kids will die.”
— Wallace on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, April 20, 2022.
■ “Obviously a mass shooter is responsible for the violence and the heinous acts that the mass shooter committed. It is also true that the ideology left in the mass shooter’s screed mirrors the ideology championed by Tucker Carlson.”
— Wallace on MSNBC’s Deadline White House, May 17, 2022.
■ “One side is at the table with the most reasonable policy proposals that are, frankly, quite modest, maybe too modest, but they have the support of 85 percent of the public behind them. The other is swathed in frothy delusion that someone is coming to take their guns.”
— Wallace on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, May 27, 2022.
■ “We are watching Republicans not just destroying democracy in the dark, breaking into election offices....We’re watching them do it from rally stages, debate stages. That’s where they’re doing it.”
— Wallace on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, October 10, 2022.
For more examples from our flashback series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.