Halperin/Heilemann Get MSM 'Blowback' for Reporting Chelsea's False Attack on Sanders

Yesterday, we noted With All Due Respect's report on Chelsea Clinton's absurd attack on Bernie Sanders, in which Chelsea claimed Sanders would "strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health insurance." John Heilemann rightly called Chelsea's line a "lie." Today, Heilemann reported that he and co-host Mark Halperin have received "a lot of blowback," i.e. criticism, from fellow MSM members for their report. 

Heilemann chalked up the MSM's criticism up to its "muscle memory" in not reporting on a president's child. I'd say the real reason for the MSM's reticence is its tendency to rally around liberals of all sorts, and certainly not to accuse them of a "lie"—even when the evidence of it is, as in this case, indisputable.

Note: for those curious about the specific nature of Chelsea's lie, here's what we wrote about it yesterday: "What the Clintons are claiming is that Sanders would "dismantle" Obamacare, Medicare and private insurance, at which point those dastardly Republicans would leave people with nothing. But Sanders is proposing to replace Obamacare, Medicare, etc. with "single payer." And as much as conservatives would oppose that, there is of course no way Sanders would permit Obamacare and the other programs to expire unless he was sure that he could implement single payer. So Chelsea's claim was a smear of a scare tactic that Heilmannn was right to call a 'lie.'" 

MARK HALPERIN: As you may have noticed, on this program last night, we were stunned, stunned to hear Chelsea Clinton go negative on Bernie Sanders, the first time she'd done such a thing . . .   More striking perhaps was a lack of interest that most of the news world had to her remarks. As far as we could tell, very few of our media colleagues were as blown away by Chelsea's rhetoric as we were. John, you've now had a day to think about it and look at how our colleagues have reacted. Were we crazy yesterday to think this was a huge deal? 

JOHN HEILEMANN: I do not think we were crazy, you'll be surprised to know. I think we were right. We got a lot of blowback on this yesterday. I want to be very clear: Chelsea Clinton has every right to campaign for her mother. She has every right to defend her mother against attacks. She has every right to do anything she wants to do. It is however unprecedented in her history on planet earth where she has gone and by name attacked one of her mother's political opponents: in a presidential contest, in a Senate contest, in any contest I have ever known. And I think the reason we thought it was important was that it indicated the depth of the Clinton world's concern about the momentum of Bernie Sanders. That's why it's meaningful.

HALPERIN: It's meaninful for that reason without a doubt. It's also meaningful because this is Chelsea Clinton. She's the daughter of a president; the daughter of a potential president. She is a historical figure in our country. We have watched her grow up. Yesterday was the day when she decided to assume a different role than she had ever played in the history of us following the Clintons. So I believe, you speculated earlier, that maybe people think you still have to lay off Chelsea Clinton because the Clintons as parents responsibly said to the press when they were in the White House when she was younger. She's now an adult and she's a campaign surrogate attacking Bernie Sanders. 


HALPERIN: The notion of laying off her seems ridiculous. Fair coverage, but not no coverage.

HEILEMANN: Look, I agree with that. I just think there's some like, it's muscle memory with a lot of the media. People remember that the Clintons did a lot to shield Chelsea when she was a kid, justifiably so. I just think there's--in some ways people may have not talked about it because they're all sort of agog and aghast--not aghast but agog and kind of stunned into silence. 




Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.