Andrea Mitchell: 35 Years of Liberal Advocacy
On July 31, 2013, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell celebrated her 35th anniversary at the network and was predictably praised by her media colleagues. Calling in to Mitchell's 1 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show that day, former Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw listed numerous historic events that occurred the year Mitchell was hired in 1978, concluding: "The biggest story of all, Andrea Mitchell joins NBC News and no one in public life is ever safe again." While that fawning sentiment may have been true for conservatives and Republicans in public life, it was certainly never the case for political figures with the last name Clinton, Kennedy or Obama.
Given how consistently Mitchell has toed the liberal line throughout her career of slanted reporting, it's no wonder why MSNBC's left-wing hosts also heaped accolades upon her. Hardball's Chris Matthews proclaimed: "Andrea's been a real role model around here, not just for women, but for all journalists everywhere." Weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry gushed: "Andrea Mitchell, you are a legend, you are an inspiration, and you are a treasured colleague." News Nation's Tamron Hall declared: "You're a hero and inspiration to all of us, especially us ladies."
Here is some of the worst bias from Mitchell over the years.
Adulation Over the Clintons
Tom Brokaw: "NBC News In Depth tonight. Together again, Bill and Hillary Clinton, the picture of harmony last night as the First Lady was officially nominated to run for the U.S. Senate from New York..."
Andrea Mitchell: "....Even long-time political associates concede it is an amazing story of political re-invention. The ultimate power couple. The first First Lady to run for office and the President who cancels two Washington fundraisers at the last minute to be with her....Critics may call it a power trip, but the bottom line, friends say, is that this couple has banded together once again, politically and emotionally."
– May 17, 2000 NBC Nightly News.
"It's a modern fairy tale. From First Lady entertaining 20,000 guests at 26 Christmas parties to just another freshman Senator today arriving for orientation in an SUV, no limo. From America's finest antiques to unpacking boxes in a basement office. From foie gras to Senate bean soup. The Senator-elect goes to the Capitol."
– Mitchell on Hillary Clinton's Senate orientation, December 5, 2000 Nightly News.
"For this political wife, friends say, a dream come true. Today he holds the Bible for her, trading places from when they first came to Washington eight years ago. From the health care fiasco to the Monica humiliation to the campaign many said she would never win, Hillary Clinton is now the most admired woman in America, beating Oprah by a landslide in the latest Gallup poll."
– January 3, 2001 Nightly News. (Hillary was named by 19 percent in the Gallup poll, Oprah by 4 percent.)
"It will be a grueling day, first in the Senate, then in the House. Not how the Secretary of State had planned to wind up what is widely viewed as a stellar term as the nation's top diplomat."
– Today, January 23, 2013, previewing Hillary Clinton's testimony on Benghazi.
"After a fall, a concussion and a blood clot, Hillary Clinton showed rare public emotion, reflecting the toll Benghazi has taken on her....Parrying hostile questions all day, Clinton was also the political pro. Massaging big egos, sidestepping attacks when she could. When she couldn't, giving as good as she got."
– January 23, 2013 Nightly News.
Andrea Mitchell: "She says she's out of politics, but she's the most popular woman in America, according to Gallup, for the tenth year in a row. Meryl Streep recently delivered what sounded like a nominating speech for Clinton."
Meryl Streep: "But if you want a real world leader and you're really, really lucky, this is what you get."
Mitchell to Clinton: "There is a growing expectation that you will run for President."Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "Well, Andrea, that is-"Mitchell: "Why not?"
– Exchange shown on the April 2, 2012 Nightly News.
"Who is the most likely Democratic nominee for President? Any way you slice it, Hillary Clinton is the one to beat....Hillary hopes to capitalize on the nostalgia that many Americans have for the Clinton years, the good old days."
– Mitchell on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show, December 3, 2006.
Slamming GOP as Out-of-Touch Conservatives...
"Even those of us who felt we were doing a good job at explaining how his economic policies were not going to work used the pictures the White House was having us present. Ronald Reagan in a perfect tableau, a Norman Rockwell view of America, with all white faces in middle America, high school marching bands and balloons. It was a very patriotic view of an untroubled country."
– Mitchell on A&E's Investigative Reports: Naked Washington, December 23, 1995.
"Well, House Republicans are the big problem because they've been trying to count, and they really are a minority of a minority and they're inconsequential. So they are now being ripped apart....They are just really torn apart between wanting chaos, wanting to destroy everything and not have an agreement, sort of a scorched-earth, Newt Gingrich-led policy, and wanting to be conciliatory and come up with a solution....The Democratic plan is really a genius of a plan because it does everything that most people, 81 percent of Americans, would want: It raises taxes on the rich."
– Sunday Today, October 14, 1990.
"The American people have failed to realize that they have a responsibility in all of this. But one of the reasons is that for ten years, Republicans in the White House, first Ronald Reagan and then George Bush, have been telling them they don't have to pay for what they get."
– October 12, 1990 Nightly News.
"Top Bush aides dismiss [Vice President-Elect Dan Quayle] as a good guy, but naive....they worry that he will listen too much to conservatives, and they worry about the influence of Marilyn Quayle, by all accounts more ideologically conservative than her husband ....Most people expect that Dan Quayle, unlike recent Vice Presidents, will not be given major responsibilities. Bush advisors hope that Quayle will cooperate and become completely irrelevant."
– Nightly News, November 11, 1988.
"How does that broaden the appeal of the party? You're talking here tonight about being more inclusive, yet 59 percent of the people here describe themselves as conservative."
– Mitchell asking New York Governor George Pataki about Republican vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney during MSNBC primetime coverage of the GOP Convention, July 31, 2000.
"During the campaign, Bush sounded like an environmentalist....And early on, he upholds Clinton restrictions on diesel fuel pollution. But since then Bush suspends a ban on new roads in national forests, proposes canceling new mining rules, reconsiders Clinton wilderness designations, considers opening the Arctic wilderness to oil drilling, reneges on a campaign promise to lower carbon dioxide emissions and now is about to cancel a plan to save endangered grizzlies by re-introducing them to wilderness areas out West, a concession to Idaho's Governor....Concerned Republicans worry Bush may have already lost pro-environment Republicans and independents, voters crucial to the success of his presidency, to say nothing, they say, of the more permanent damage to the environment."
– Nightly News, April 30, 2001.
"You saw the way they responded to the hard questions about torture in the Republican debate in South Carolina. They came up with easy — and hard-to-defend in a general election campaign — answers. They just played to the base. They played to, 'Let's torture 'em!' I mean, they, they didn't say that literally, but that was the subliminal message."
– Mitchell discussing the Republican presidential candidates on CNBC's Tim Russert, June 2, 2007. [Listen to the audio]
...Who Always Fight Dirty
"I think that he [Clarence Thomas] had the advantage of primetime on Friday night. He had everything going for him. The Democrats did not ask him tough questions about the facts of her charge and they did, the Republicans did a great job of hammering her. It's basically what happened in the '88 campaign. The Republicans know how to fight dirty."
– Mitchell discussing the Senate confirmation hearings for then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, October 15, 1991 Today.
"Senator, you told Tim [Russert] that you thought the White House suggestion that the Great Society programs were to blame for what happened in Los Angeles was ludicrous. Was it also a racial code word – a code word to appeal to racial fears? Is it the Willie Horton of the 1992 campaign?"
– Mitchell interviewing Sen. Bill Bradley on Meet the Press, May 10, 1992.
"They also believe that the Willie Horton of this campaign is family values, and you can't get much more squeaky clean than Al Gore, his four kids, and his wife Tipper."
– Sunday Today, July 12, 1992.
"[The Democrats] are trying to make the point they support programs such as universal health care and family medical leave, that help families, programs that George Bush either opposes or has vetoed. They also are trying to say that the Republicans are using this as a wedge issue. That this going to be the Willie Horton issue of this campaign."
– Mitchell, August 19, 1992 RNC convention coverage.
"I hate to revert to the great right-wing conspiracy, but there was really a group out there who were not going to let him succeed, and he, of course, played into that with his own mistakes. But there really was an enemy group out there who just wanted to take him down."
– Mitchell talking about Bill Clinton on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, February 21, 2012.
Andrea Mitchell: "Now that [Bush ad, attacking Kerry for voting against body armor, higher combat pay and better health care for U.S. troops in Iraq] is a complete distortion, Kerry would say. And anybody who really covered the $87 billion supplemental [appropriations bill] has to agree. A complete distortion."
Chris Matthews: "Were those items in there?"
Mitchell: "They were in there, but he was voting against one part of the bill."
Matthews: "But didn't he vote against the final? Didn't he vote against final?"
Mitchell: "No, no, he did vote against final."
Matthews: "Then he voted against all those elements."
Mitchell: "He voted against those elements in the supplemental, but he was voting against it as a protest, he said, you know, again-"
Matthews: "Well, that's what he says. Thats his spin. But he's nailed here, I think. I think its devastating."
– Exchange on MSNBC's Hardball, March 16, 2004.
Andrea Mitchell: "This particular [Swift Boat Veterans for Truth] ad...is grossly distorting the record, according to anybody who knows anything about Kerry's record, and McCain has come to their defense. It's exactly the same people in fact, it may be literally the same people who did the number on him in South Carolina."Don Imus: "Yeah. I wonder what McCain is thinking."
Mitchell: "It must be very hard for him. He's trying to prove his loyalty as a Republican, but clearly, his heart isn't in it."
– Exchange on Imus in the Morning, MSNBC, August 6, 2004.
Zell Miller's speech was a red meat speech, in fact a raw meat speech, which in fact misstates a lot of Kerry's record, but draws some very tough conclusions."
– Mitchell on MSNBC, September 1, 2004.
"The vulnerability of this woman [Sandra Fluke] who had unwillingly, just by standing up, become part of a national debate where her reputation was being sullied by a bully with a megaphone – that just really touched me....It takes me back to the Clarence Thomas hearings. Some of the most liberal senators behaved miserably because they did not stand up for fair treatment of Anita Hill. I remember when the hearings ended and I was wrapping it up from the Senate. Tom Brokaw said, 'What have we learned?' and I said something like, 'I think we learned that the United States Senate is the last plantation.' I can't believe I said that on network television!"
– Mitchell in an interview published in the June 2012 issue of More, which bills itself as a magazine "for women of style and substance."
Clip of Mitt Romney on CNBC: "It's a very strange, and in some respects, foreign to the American experience type of philosophy. If you have a business and you started it, you did build it, and you deserve credit for that. It was not built for you by government."
Andrea Mitchell: "Without getting into the argument as to whether he is taking the President out of context over the 'build it' business, he is still using the term 'foreign' and I'm telling you, this is happening every day, it is a dog whistle....Out of touch is out of touch. Foreign is suggesting somebody who grew up in Indonesia, who's – I'm telling you, words matter."
– MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, July 24, 2012. [Listen to the audio]
In Love With 'Rock Star' Obama
"I think the real breakout tonight is [Illinois Senate candidate Barack] Obama. I mean, Teresa [Heinz-Kerry] is a fascinating story, but Obama is a rock star!"
– Mitchell during MSNBC's live DNC convention coverage, July 27, 2004.
"What a day it was. It may take days or years to really absorb the significance of what happened to America today....When he [Barack Obama] finally emerged, he seemed, even in this throng, so solitary, somber, perhaps already feeling the weight of the world, even before he was transformed into the leader of the free world....The mass flickering of cell phone cameras on the mall seemed like stars shining back at him."
– January 20, 2009 Nightly News.
"Any viewer watching this, despite personal prejudices pro or con or partisan differences, would look at this speech and it would be very hard to say that he is apologizing for America. This was resoundingly positive and optimistic in every way...."
– Mitchell disputing Mitt Romney's characterization of Obama's State of the Union speech, live coverage January 24, 2012.
"It's also a meritocracy. These are superstars, not afraid of strong personalities – Larry Summers inside the White House - but people with so much brain power, and so much education, and a combination of talents here."
– Mitchell on Obama's cabinet, December 21, 2008 Meet the Press.
Andrea Mitchell: "Bottom line, what happens if you don't get health care for this President is - this is really all-or-nothing for the sense of his power, for his legacy. He's invested so much in this, in this first year. You've got to get this for him."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD): "Andrea, I agree with you a million percent."
– Exchange on Andrea Mitchell Reports, March 12, 2010. [Listen to the audio]
Crashing the Tea Party
"In a season of angry protests, there are ugly signs that some of it is not rooted in bailout fatigue or suspicion of big government. Mixed in the anti-Obama crowds over recent weeks, racial slurs against the President of the United States."
– September 16, 2009 Nightly News.
"There's an anger out there, and I have not seen it since my very first campaign, which was 1968 and George Wallace. And that is the angry populism which is not fact-based, it's just furious at everybody; angry at Democrats, at Republicans. The Tea Party has higher numbers in our last NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll than either of the other traditional parties. And that is what I think this news cycle which you referred to is feeding into, and that is what does frighten me. This spirit of America is so large and embracing, but there is an angry subtext because of economic dislocation that is very, very worrisome."
– Mitchell on Meet the Press, December 27, 2010.
"Let's talk about the current issue of Ebony. Some very provocative articles here about whether he [President Obama] is tough enough and whether or not the politics that we've been seeing – Tea Party politics, and the like – really reach a new level of white supremacism, of anti-African-American rhetoric."
– Mitchell to publisher Desiree Rogers, who was Obama's White House social secretary in 2009-10, Andrea Mitchell Reports, January 11, 2011. [Listen to the audio]
It's Not Pro-Life, It's 'Anti-Abortion'
Andrea Mitchell: "Some veteran Republican politicians and strategists believe that the Republican Party needs to rethink its positions on women's reproductive issues after losing the women's vote once again in the presidential race and losing at least two Senate races over ill-tempered comments from Republican men candidates. Joining me now is Juleanna Glover, a Republican strategist long associated with conservatives like Jesse Helms and John Ashcroft, who has written a provocative New York Times op-ed on how to move the party in a new direction, she hopes. Welcome, good to see you."
Juleanna Glover: "Thank you for having me."
Mitchell: "Let's just establish that you have been very strongly your whole career-"
Glover: "I am deeply pro-life."
Mitchell: "Well, I would call anti-abortion."
Mitchell: "To use the term that I think is more value neutral."
– Exchange on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, January 9, 2013. [Listen to the audio]
"Texas isn't the only state where Roe v. Wade is being challenged....We've seen in Ohio, John Kasich and company sneaked it in to a budget bill. In North Carolina. How many other states?...if the pro-choice community
– Andrea Mitchell Reports, July 9, 2013. [Listen to the audio]
Andrea Mitchell: Susan B. Anthony List, one of the leading voices in the anti-abortion rights movement.
Marjorie Dannenfelser: "Thanks for having me."
Mitchell: "You saw our polling where public opinion is very much moving in a different direction, so what is the strategy, political strategy, and legal strategy of your movement?"
Dannenfelser: "Well, your poll is a snippet after the election, and it is a sign post in time. However, the trend line and Gallup has shown this over many years is that what they call pro-life is the new norm. These are Gallup numbers."
Mitchell: people are asked about being pro-life or anti-life. It's a different terminology, and it's not as credible as our own polling
– Exchange on Andrea Mitchell Reports, January 22, 2013. [Listen to the audio]
Best Way to the Governor's Mansion: Block Pro-Life Legislation
"Overriding shouts of protests from the gallery, Texas statehouse Republicans rolled over the opposition today approving new abortion restrictions....Joining me now is the woman who stopped the bill cold two weeks ago, putting the debate on the national stage, Texas state senator Wendy Davis....Are you thinking about statewide office? Are you thinking about running for Governor?"
– Mitchell to Davis, Andrea Mitchell Reports, July 10, 2013. [Listen to the audio]
Hero Worship: Ted Kennedy
"The heavens were weeping for Teddy Kennedy today."
– Mitchell noting the rainy weather in Boston, August 29, 2009 Nightly News. [Listen to the audio]
"It seems as though his legacy only grows in contrast to how low, what low regard the Senate is now held....If he were trying to pull things together politically today, if we were blessed by his presence, what would be his focus? Do you think it would still be the passion for health care, or would he be looking to the larger economic issues?...This is a figure who becomes larger even after life, as large as he was in life."
– Mitchell talking about the late Ted Kennedy, Andrea Mitchell Reports, August 20, 2010.
Give Communism A Chance
"Vietnam's government is worried about the ugly side of the free market system: crime, unemployment, pollution, and most of all, political dissent."
– Mitchell, August 4, 1995 Nightly News.
Andrea Mitchell, in Havana: "Cuba is highly regarded for its health care, and especially one of Fidel Castro’s signature project, which is training doctors....We went back to the Latin American medical school here to talk to American medical students about what they’re learning about medicine, about Cuba, and about themselves."
Medical student Cynthia Aguilera: "The idea is that we come from under-represented and under-served communities and that after graduating with no debt, no worries about paying off loans and having to get a high-paying job, we can return to our communities and work in them and try to uplift them the same way that Cuba uplifted us."
– Andrea Mitchell Reports, March 27, 2012.
The Tax Man Cometh
Host Andrea Mitchell: "How does extending tax cuts for the very - the wealthy, the millionaires, how does that help the unemployed?"
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis: "Well, in my opinion, given our analysis, it's not going to be a job creator...."
Mitchell: "Then why is the President willing to negotiate that away now? Is it because he's negotiating from weakness?"
– Andrea Mitchell Reports, November 5, 2010.
"Paul Ryan has shown considerable guts, but you're [Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen] correct that nobody on the Republican side is showing any courage on the tax front. And unless taxes are part of the mix, every grown-up knows it can't reach a solution."
– Meet the Press, May 22, 2011.
America, the Unjust
Former Carter Official Zbigniew Brzezinski: "The United States is becoming rapidly one of the most socially unjust societies in the world....The social disparities between the rich and the poor in the United States are now the most severe in the world...."
Co-host Mika Brzezinski: "Andrea?"
Andrea Mitchell: "I agree with just about everything that Dr. Brzezinski has said..."
– MSNBC's Morning Joe, December 2, 2011.
No Bias Here
Host Bill O'Reilly: "I just look at all your on-the-air talent, and the Today show, and I love those guys, all right, they're all liberal, every one of them, all right."
Andrea Mitchell: "I disagree....That's not the way we approach the news....I can't tell you one liberal thinker."
O'Reilly: "You can. It's Chris Matthews. Chris Matthews.... He's on the Today show and on the Nightly News. He's your main political commentator."
Mitchell: "As an analyst....I don't think he's a liberal thinker."
O'Reilly: "He's not? He worked for [Democratic Speaker] Tip O’Neill. How much more liberal can you get?"
Mitchell: "He worked for Tip O'Neill how many years ago?...I don't think that it is fair to describe journalists as liberals or conservatives....I have to tell you that I don't feel that there is bias in what we do at NBC News. And I don't think there's bias in CBS or ABC."
– Exchange on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor, January 5, 2007. [Listen to the audio]