Andrea Mitchell on Infrastructure: But 'What About' Rob Porter?

February 12th, 2018 1:56 PM

On Monday, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell repeatedly redirected any coverage of President Trump’s infrastructure plan back to discussions about the domestic abuse allegations against former White House staffer Rob Porter.

The President met with a collection of governors and mayors from the around the country on Monday to roll out plans for his ten-year infrastructure program. His introduction was televised on Andrea Mitchell Reports, after which Mitchell quickly pivoted back to Rob Porter.



So the positive side of this is that the President's finally unrolling the infrastructure plan. The negative side is, to be perfectly blunt, this comes after days of controversy over Rob Porter, over a second, quote, 'resignation' or firing from the White House, controversies over the lack of security clearances for Rob Porter, and the President fueling this issue by tweeting and commenting his support for the men rather than the women who claim that they were victims.

Marc Lotter, a former spokesman for Vice President Pence, attempted to discuss the infrastructure project. However, Mitchell did not engage his comments and instead shepherded him back to the issue of Porter’s temporary security clearance.

LOTTER: It's always been a state and federal partnership and local level partnership with infrastructure dollars. I know that this is something they can work through. It helps create jobs, makes our communities better places to live.    

MITCHELL: What about the backlog in security clearances?

Lotter took the hint and dropped the infrastructure topic. The President’s plan did get some coverage during the show’s final segment, but within less than two minutes Mitchell had steered the conversation back towards scandal. This time, she blamed the President for attempting to change the subject.

This is another attempt by the President, this White House, to really shine a light on something that they want to talk about. Again every time they try to do something like this it’s been overwhelmed by negative stories. This time they want to talk about infrastructure but most of the media are talking about what happened with Rob Porter, whether or not John Kelly will stay as chief of staff, and why there are so many people headlined who don’t have full security clearances more than a year in.

 “Let’s not forget about the Russia investigation,” New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters chimed.

Note that while Mitchell accurately portrayed the media’s penchant for covering White House scandals, this was not an admission of bias. Rather, she was attempting to characterize media coverage as some sort of uncontrollable force that gravitates naturally towards the most worthwhile stories. But as Mitchell herself demonstrated, the media simply prefer to focus on the negative aspects of the Trump presidency.