Dem Candidate Complains to MSNBC: Media Too Focused on Russia

While attempting to boost the candidacy of a Democrat running to unseat Republican California Congressman Devin Nunes, MSNBC inadvertently revealed that a lot voters in that district don’t really care about the Russia investigation. Even the Democrat himself complained that “the media only talk about the Russia thing.”

Fill-in anchor Kristen Welker, handling the 1 PM ET MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin hour on Monday, eagerly touted: “MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff went to Congressman Nunes’ home district to see how the Russia controversy is playing among voters there. And it may be a challenge for him, right, Jacob?” Soboroff touted the Democratic challenger being “surprisingly strong,” though he cautioned: “...the Russia investigation is playing a big role in the race there. But it actually might not be the role that you would think.”

 

 

After the reporter highlighted how local prosecutor and Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Janz “has been raising money to get his message out by talking about Russia,” Janz himself tried to steer the story to other topics: “We talk about Devin Nunes, his failings in Washington and what he’s not doing back at home. But then, what’s very important, too, to voters, is to talk about the issues that they really care about.”

Soboroff asked: “And those issues are what?” Janz replied: “Water’s a huge issue, we’re an agricultural region. We’re concerned about jobs and the economy.”

Going around the town of Clovis, California with Janz, Soboroff repeatedly asked voters what they thought of the Russia investigation. Talking to local business owner Rick Reeves, the reporter wondered: “Can I ask, your Congressman is obviously at the center of this Russia investigation, do you follow that at all?” Reeves responded: “I do not.”

Hoping for better luck with other voters, Soboroff asked one woman: “What do you know about Devin Nunes, your congressman?” She answered: “Not much, he’s been in the news lately.” Soboroff explained: “He’s the head of the Intelligence Committee for the Republicans, so he’s in charge of the Russia investigation.” The women remarked: “That’s right, yes. It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not.” Another woman chimed in: “Got a lot of fake news.”

Soboroff asked: “I work for MSNBC, you think we’re fake news?” The woman agreed: “A little bit.”

Janz complained: “It’s almost as if we’re really running two campaigns. I mean, we gotta focus on the issues....You know, one of the things that I’ve been criticized for is really only talking about Russia. Which couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

Soboroff couldn’t imagine why that would be the case: “Why Russia? Why is everybody talking about Andrew Janz and Russia?” Janz pointed out: “Yeah, no offense, but you folks in the media only talk about the Russia thing. So when I’m out there talking about water and infrastructure, that’s not covered or that’s not played on – on cable news.”

Following the taped report, Soboroff confessed: “So I do not take it personally. His point is very well taken actually. He’s got to run two campaigns, one on a national level to raise money, the other on local issues...”

Welker wrapped up the segment by predicting of the congressional election: “...undoubtedly it will be a referendum on Devin Nunes, and also, President Trump.”

Perhaps it will actually be a referendum on the liberal media being completely disconnected from the issues and concerns of everyday Americans.

Here are excerpts from the February 19 report:

1:52 PM ET

KRISTEN WELKER: At the core of the Russia controversy are the investigations by the Special Counsel and congressional committees. The House Intelligence Committee, chaired by California’s Devin Nunes, has garnered a lot of attention, most recently with the release by the Republican majority of a memo claiming abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. A memo by committee Democrats rebuts those claims, [and] has, as of now, been blocked from release. MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff went to Congressman Nunes’ home district to see how the Russia controversy is playing among voters there. And it may be a challenge for him, right, Jacob? What did you hear?  

JACOB SOBOROFF: Yeah, actually, a surprisingly strong challenger, Kristen, in a gentleman named Andrew Janz, he a local prosecutor. There in the 22nd Congressional District, the Russia investigation is playing a big role in the race there. But it actually might not be the role that you would think. Take a look.

(...)

SOBOROFF: Janz has been raising money to get his message out by talking about Russia, including with this billboard.

ANDREW JANZ: We talk about Devin Nunes, his failings in Washington and what he’s not doing back at home. But then, what’s very important, too, to voters, is to talk about the issues that they really care about.

SOBOROFF: In this district?

JANZ: Yes, absolutely.

SOBOROFF: And those issues are what?

JANZ: Water. Water’s a huge issue, we’re an agricultural region. We’re concerned about jobs and the economy.

(...)

SOBOROFF: Can I ask, your Congressman is obviously at the center of this Russia investigation, do you follow that at all?

RICK REEVES [VOTER]: I do not.

(...)

SOBOROFF: What do you know about Devin Nunes, your congressman?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [VOTER]: Not much, he’s been in the news lately.

SOBOROFF: He’s the head of the Intelligence Committee for the Republicans, so he’s in charge of the Russia investigation.

WOMAN: That’s right, yes. It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B [VOTER]: Got a lot of fake news.

SOBOROFF: A lot of fake news.

JANZ: Yeah, Absolutely.

SOBOROFF: I work for MSNBC, you think we’re fake news?

WOMAN B: A little bit.

[LAUGHTER]

JANZ: It’s almost as if we’re really running two campaigns. I mean, we gotta focus on the issues. I mean, at the end of the day, that’s what the people care about the most. You know, the national attention is good because, you know, we’re going to need to raise the resources to be able to tell my story.

SOBOROFF: And you’ve raised a lot of money, how much have you raised so far?

JANZ: You know, $500,000 since the memo dropped. You know, one of the things that I’ve been criticized for is really only talking about Russia. Which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

SOBOROFF: Why Russia? Why is everybody talking about Andrew Janz and Russia?

JANZ: Yeah, no offense, but you folks in the media only talk about the Russia thing. So when I’m out there talking about water and infrastructure, that’s not covered or that’s not played on – on cable news.

SOBOROFF: So I do not take it personally. His point is very well taken actually. He’s got to run two campaigns, one on a national level to raise money, the other on local issues like water, they went through the drought there. And immigration, Kristen, things local people care about that. There’s a big and surging Latino population in that district.

WELKER: Fascinating to hear from those voters, undoubtedly it will be a referendum on Devin Nunes, and also, President Trump.


Please support NewsBusters today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)

DONATE
CyberAlerts Campaigns & Elections 2018 Congressional Russia Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Video Jacob Soboroff Devin Nunes