MSNBC Promotes Cancer Research Funded by the Koch Brothers

While reporting on advances in cancer research on Wednesday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell inadvertently promoted the philanthropic work of billionaire David Koch, who along with his brother Charles, has routinely been vilified by the left-wing network for funding conservative political causes.

As part of MSNBC’s 7 Days of Genius series, featuring “inspiring conversations with thought leaders in the fields of politics, innovation, and science,” Mitchell turned to Dr. Paula Hammond at the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.

After discussing various promising cancer treatments being studied at the institute, Mitchell wondered: “Now, is there enough either private or federal funding for your work?” In part, Dr. Hammond responded:

Right now, although we have some federal funding available, we really need more to address the problem....We're very excited about the commitments that have recently come from the [Obama] administration, but we recognize that we're going to need a continued increase in funding, especially funding that brings scientists, clinicians, technologists together in places like the Koch Institute and other places across the country in which these people are coming together to work collectively toward a cure.

The network has a long history of directing vitriol at the Koch Brothers. Days before the 2012 election, Hardball host Chris Matthews called them “pigs” for being opposed to the liberal environmental agenda. In another smear in 2014, Matthews accused the pair of “hurting the planet's health so they can have more money.”

In a rare instance of positive coverage for the Kochs in 2014, Last Word host Lawrence O’Donnell expressed his “gratitude to David Koch” for funding a hospital that helped him recover after a serous car accident. He actually highlighted several of the charitable causes supported by the brothers.

On Wednesday, Mitchell failed to point out to viewers that the same David Koch constantly demonized by her network was the one providing crucial funding to the effort to cure cancer.

Here are excerpts of the March 9 segment:

12:40 PM ET

JOE BIDEN: I believe we need a moon shot in this country to cure cancer. It's personal. But I know we can do this.

BARACK OBAMA: For the loved ones we've all lost, for the families that we can still save, let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all. What do you say, Joe?

ANDREA MITCHELL: The President and the Vice President announcing their ambitious effort to cure cancer and saying that they'll put $1 billion of funding, private and public, behind it. What will it take, really, to find a cure? Nothing short of pure genius.

And on that note, for the second year in a row MSNBC is teaming up with the 92nd Street Y to celebrate our series, 7 Days of Genius, a series of inspiring conversations with thought leaders in the fields of politics, innovation, and science. Conversations focusing on the transformative power of genius to change the world for the better.

Our genius today, one of the people working behind the scenes to make that bold commitment to cure cancer a reality. I'm joined by Dr. Paula Hammond of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She works at the MIT Koch Center – the Koch Institute, I should say, for Integrative Cancer Research. And heads the department of chemical engineering at MIT. Dr. Hammand, it's a pleasure to meet you. Thanks so much for being her.

PAULA HAMMOND: Great to meet you, too.

(...)

MITCHELL: Now, is there enough either private or federal funding for your work?

HAMMOND: Right now, although we have some federal funding available, we really need more to address the problem. This is a problem that requires a much larger scale effort and a much longer time frame in which we can actually incorporate some of the big developments that have happened in science over the past decade into real solutions. So right now we have a great start. We're very excited about the commitments that have recently come from the administration, but we recognize that we're going to need a continued increase in funding, especially funding that brings scientists, clinicians, technologists together in places like the Koch Institute and other places across the country in which these people are coming together to work collectively toward a cure.

MITCHELL: Dr. Hammond, thank you very much. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, your knowledge with us and good luck on all of your research. Obviously beneficial to all of us. We appreciate that.

HAMMOND: Thank you. Thank you very much.

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