MSNBC Slams GOP Over 'Irresponsible' 'Politics of Fear' on Ebola

After citing numerous Republicans on the campaign trail criticizing the Obama administration's handling of the ebola crisis, on Thursday, MSNBC Daily Rundown host Craig Melvin condemned such criticism as "the politics of fear" and "irresponsible."

NBC's senior political editor Mark Murray agreed with Melvin's accusation:

You know, Craig, we've seen the politics of fear work in the past. In 2002, right after the 9/11 attacks, that was a dominant story. Republicans were able to capitalize right after 9/11. The 2004 presidential election was largely fought on the politics of fear. And this honestly is terrain where the Republican Party's a lot more comfortable in having debates with the Democratic Party.

Murray added: "I mean, you make the very good point that often engaging in the politics of fear is irresponsible and of course the message coming from ebola, ISIS, border, is one that's coming from Republicans right now."

Neither Melvin nor Murray bothered to mention an outrageous left-wing campaign ad falsely blaming Republicans for cutting Centers for Disease Control funding and pushing the line, "Republican Cuts Kill."

The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler fact-checked such attacks and concluded: "The absurd claim that only Republicans are to blame for cuts to Ebola research....For fiscal year 2015, the documents show, it was the Obama White House that proposed to cut the NIH’s budget from the previous year."

Here is a transcript of the October 16 exchange:

9:22 AM ET

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CRAIG MELVIN: Republican Senate candidates from Georgia's – from George, David Perdue, who called the ebola response "government incompetence at the highest levels," to South Dakota's Mike Rounds who said it's "the latest example of how White House inaction is putting all of us at risk," to Iowa's Joni Ernst calling for travel restrictions or a total travel ban from the West African countries that have been hit hard by ebola. Republicans, from North Carolina's Thom Tillis to New Hampshire's Scott Brown, are linking ebola to immigration and the border.

SCOTT BROWN: That's one of the reasons why I have been so adamant about closing our border because if people are coming in from normal channels – can you imagine what they can do through our porous border?

MELVIN: Even former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Stumping for Brown in New Hampshire yesterday, even he got into the ebola politics game.

MITT ROMNEY: Why hasn't the President addressed the nation and talked about what we can do to keep ourselves safe? Why hasn't he considered closing the border against countries that have extensive ebola spreading across their population?

MELVIN: NBC News senior political editor Mark Murray joins me live. Now, Mark, this is the politics of fear. It's irresponsible. But, will it work?

MARK MURRAY: You know, Craig, we've seen the politics of fear work in the past. In 2002, right after the 9/11 attacks, that was a dominant story. Republicans were able to capitalize right after 9/11. The 2004 presidential election was largely fought on the politics of fear. And this honestly is terrain where the Republican Party's a lot more comfortable in having debates with the Democratic Party. Particularly when the Democrats are in control of the administration. They're in control of handling.

I mean, you make the very good point that often engaging in the politics of fear is irresponsible and of course the message coming from ebola, ISIS, border, is one that's coming from Republicans right now. But to score quick political points when there is so much engagement from the public on ebola right now – our NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that some 97-98% of America has been following this story – that, that is something you can exploit.

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