Andrea Mitchell: Criticizing Democratic Senator's Biased Report is Sexist

On her 12 p.m. ET hour show on MSNBC Monday, host Andrea Mitchell accused former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden of being sexist simply for criticizing Senator Dianne Feinstein's slanted Intelligence Committee report condemning the interrogation of terror suspects under the Bush administration. [Listen to the audio]

Mitchell played a clip of Hayden questioning the credibility of the report on Fox News Sunday, where he cited Washington Post columnist David Ignatius: "He said that Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would 'ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.' Now that sentence, that motivation for the report...may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the Senator, but I don't think it leads you to an objective report."

After the sound bite, Mitchell hyped the supposedly offensive portion of the legitimate criticism: "So was the Senate Intelligence chair just too emotional in the way she wrote that report?" Talking to left-wing New York Times columnist Gail Collins, she further asked: "What about the way men of a different opinion – and there are lots of opinions on this issue – how men criticize women in power?"

Collins joined in Mitchell's rant: "But when, you know, John McCain talks about waterboarding and the terrible, you know, moral consequences and practical consequence that kind of thing has, that's foreign policy. Clearly when Dianne Feinstein does it, it's emotional."

Collins then attempted to justify Feinstein's politically-motivated findings: "But when you plan a way to get something done so that once your report is done that will be the end of the discussion and action is going to take place, that sounds to me like strategy."

At the top of the segment – about the state of feminism in America – Mitchell proclaimed: "The popular series Mad Men provocatively illustrates how different the workplace was for women only a few decades ago....Thankfully for all of us, times have changed. But have they? Have they changed as much as they should have changed?"

Here is a portion of the April 7 exchange:

12:35 PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: I wanted to give – to show you something that happened just on Sunday with Michael Hayden, the former NSA and CIA director, speaking to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday about Dianne Feinstein and her report on CIA, NSA surveillance. Take a look.

MICHAEL HAYDEN: I read an article by David Ignatius earlier this week and he said Senator-

CHRIS WALLACE: He's a columnist for the Washington Post we should point out.  
HAYDEN: Right. And he said that Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would "ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted." Now that sentence, that motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the Senator, but I don't think it leads you to an objective report.

MITCHELL: So was the Senate Intelligence chair just too emotional in the way she wrote that report? She struck back, putting out a statement saying that her report is "Objective, based on fact, thoroughly footnoted, and I am certain it will stand on its own merits." And she'll be here live with us tomorrow to talk about all of that. But what about the way men of a different opinion – and there are lots of opinions on this issue – how men criticize women in power?

GAIL COLLINS [COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES]: Yeah, I guess everything has not changed, you're right. But when, you know, John McCain talks about waterboarding and the terrible, you know, moral consequences and practical consequence that kind of thing has, that's foreign policy. Clearly when Dianne Feinstein does it, it's emotional. But when you plan a way to get something done so that once your report is done that will be the end of the discussion and action is going to take place, that sounds to me like strategy.

(...)

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.