For much of Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning, various CNN and MSNBC hosts and contributors were seen freaking out over Attorney General Jeff Sessions playfully laughing along with audience members as they broke into a "Lock her up" chant at a Tuesday morning speaking event.
On CNN, host Wolf Blitzer used the word "disturbing" and invited two different Democratic congressmen to react to Sessions, and Erin Burnett asked a third congressman if it was "appropriate," and, "Will you do anything about it?" Over on MSNBC, words used to condemn Sessions included "unseemly," "shameful," "pathetic," "inappropriate," and "obscene."
Blitzer covered the speech in both hours of his The Situation Room show, and, during the opening tease, asked, "Is that the right thing for Jeff Sessions to do?"
Speaking with New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffreys, the CNN hosted sympathetically asked, "How disturbing is it to you that that kind of rhetoric comes up at an event like this, and a top law enforcement official in the United States responds with a 'Lock her up' and a smile and a laughter?"
In the next hour, while speaking with California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, Blitzer again invited an attack on the Attorney General as the CNN host posed: "Is this how an Attorney General should be responding to a chant of 'Lock her up,' what we just heard?"
At 7:11 p.m. Eastern, while interviewing New York Democratic Rep. Gerrold Nadler, Burnett wondered: "Is what happened today appropriate? Will you do anything about it?"
Earlier in the afternoon, during The Lead with Jake Tapper, even the right-leaning CNN commentators were critical of the Attorney General for not admonishing the audience.
Over on MSNBC, the issue was first raised at 10:16 a.m Eastern on MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson, and again an hour later on Velshi and Ruhle. When MSNBC host Andrea MItchell brought it up the third time at 12:13 p.m., she commented that "It does seem unseemly for the Attorney General to be repeating this kind of a campaign riff when it was so grossly political."
In the next hour, at 1:54 p.m., MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart called the episode "shameful," and, at 2:17 p.m., contributor Chuck Rosenberg slammed it as "pathetic." At 3:19 p.m., host Ali Velshi fretted that "for whatever reason, Republicans can't seem to let" Hillary Clinton go, and called the behavior "inappropriate."
Substitute hosting MTP Daily, Katy Tur commented, "It's interesting that -- today, of all days, when 'banana republic' is being thrown around -- that Jeff Sessions decides it's the first day that he should repeat the 'lock her up' chant and laugh about it.," leading MSNBC national security analyst Jeremy Bash to condemn Sessions's behavior as a "shameful suckup to the President."
And on Wednesday's Morning Joe, the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson complained that it was "obscene," and Kasie Hunt suggested that he was setting a bad example for kids.
Additionally, on the NBC Nightly News, correspondent Hallie Jackson raised the issue and fretted that Attorney General Sessions was "appearing to be amused" by the chant about "jailing a political rival who's never been charged with a crime."