Opinion: It’s clear Kamala Harris will get the media's Barack Obama treatment

by Peter Heck · Aug 7th, 2020 3:22 pm

Last Updated Oct 14th, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Call it a sign of things to come.

MSNBC is obviously a notoriously left-wing network. It's the outlet that employs a swath of former Democrat Party activists and operatives, whose nightly line-up includes paragons of objectivity like Lawrence O'Donnell, progressive conspiracy theorists like Rachel Maddow, and disgraced con artists like Brian Williams and Joy Reid. In short, no impartial mind expects much of them in the way of honest analysis.

For as much criticism as Fox takes for their "right-wing gauntlet" of Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson, you will at least on occasion (more frequently with Carlson) see them call out or challenge the Republican Party establishment. On MSNBC meanwhile, they ritualistically pledge their allegiance to the Democrats every moment of every program.

This is painfully true even during the daytime hours, when "MSDNC" airs a series of shows it claims to be news programming rather than opinion and commentary. Looking at the progressive bona fides of the hosts – Andrea Mitchell, Katy Tur, Chuck Todd, Nicole Wallace, and Brian Williams – tells you all you need to know.

Todd can protest all he wants that mid-day MSNBC has "no editorial view," but that conclusion can be undone on any given day by a casual observer capable of exercising even a modicum of discernment. And some days, it doesn't even take that.

Consider what occurred this week when "objective news host" Chris Jansing interviewed presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden's likely vice-presidential pick, California Senator Kamala Harris.

This is a week where Biden, for unknown reasons, decided to veer off the path of his interview, intentionally step on the end of the racial rake and drill himself in the face. The former VP said in so many words that "African-Americans" lack diversity; that is, they all think alike, act alike, vote alike. Hispanics, meanwhile, are far more nuanced and unique individuals according to Biden. Given that Harris is black, you might think that would come up.

This is a week where Biden erratically lashed out at a black reporter, CBS correspondent Errol Barnett, for asking him if he had taken a cognitive test. Given that questions about the stability of Biden's mind have been intensifying in recent months, and that it is clear the Trump campaign plans to make it an issue, it was an entirely predictable and appropriate question. But Biden snapped back at Barnett asking if the reporter had taken a drug test for cocaine before coming on the air. "What do you think, huh? Are you a junkie?" Biden bizarrely chided. Given that Harris is black, and has consistently criticized Trump's treatment of the media, you might think that would come up.

This is a week where Biden stumbled badly in trying to defend himself against questions of his mental fitness. After losing his train of thought, which he attempted to pass off as choosing not to say something that might get him in trouble, Biden concluded uncomfortably,

"Anyway, I am, uh, I am very willing to let the American people judge my physical and mental fil – my physical as well as my mental fil – fitness."

Given that Harris is potentially going to be the man's running mate, you might think that would come up.

But none of it did. Instead, here were the five – yes, just five – questions that were posed to the woman who if chosen by Biden will obviously be the de facto head of the country's executive branch:

1. "[Trump] can't say if civil rights icon and long-serving congressman John Lewis, who was bloodied and arrested numerous times in his fight for equality, was impressive. … But what do you think when you hear that clip, somebody who won't even say, do you find [Lewis's] story impressive?"

2. "Tens of millions of people who have filed for unemployment claims. Some of them now worried about eviction notices. … Tell me your thoughts on where we are right now and how we're going to get help to the people who need it."

3. "The Census Bureau has said that they're going to stop counting people a month earlier than they thought because they need that time to get the report in by the end of the year. … How concerned are you about this decision?"

4. "We know you've been named on [Biden's] shortlist. Can you tell us anything about where you are in the vetting process or what you have gone through in terms of the vetting process, or at least from having been through this part of the vetting process, what you are learning about what the former vice president is looking for in his running mate."

5. "Accusations of being too ambitious, some black women see a double standard. There have been claims that you are too ambitious. Have we learned nothing in the last four years since those kinds of accusations were leveled against Hillary Clinton?"

There are plenty of opinion journalists guilty of granting softball interviews to politicians they like in order to get in their good graces. But again, this is the supposedly "non-editorial" news division of NBC. And they aren't just lobbing softballs; they are setting the ball on the tee, helping Harris hold the bat, and guiding her as she swings through. It's embarrassing.

It's also a clear indication that Kamala Harris is going to be entitled to the Obama treatment, and that a Biden/Harris presidency would send the mainstream press back into hibernation after what has been a four-year feeding frenzy.

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