On three separate occasions during Attorney General William Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, MSNBC interrupted its live, supposedly “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of the hearing. The one thing all those moments had in common was that Republican lawmakers were the ones talking when anchor Brian Williams chose to cut them off to “correct the record.”
The first interruption came just minutes into the day-long hearing, in the 10:00 a.m. ET hour, during Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s opening statement. As Williams jumped in to call the Republican Senator a liar, he claimed: “We’re reluctant to do this, we rarely do, but the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee just said that Mueller found there was no collusion. That is not correct.”
As he rejoined the coverage, Williams lectured: “Again, we try to offer just gavel-to-gavel coverage, but that phrase, or the lack of it, it’s absence from federal code.”
Just over an hour later, in the 11:00 a.m. ET hour, the notorious liar Williams again decided that it was time to “correct the record,” and again when a Republican was speaking:
Again, our intention always is to bring as much of this uninterrupted to you as possible. Dick Durbin is coming up after Republican Senator Cornyn of Texas. But so much has been said here and placed on the record by the Attorney General that starting with Nicolle Wallace we want to correct some of the record against of all things what it says in the Mueller report.
Similar to the first interruption, he made a point of justifying the move: “Again, we do this reluctantly, but sometimes in the back and forth and verbiage and word salad that we hear exchanged, it is helpful to know exactly what it is we’re hearing.”
After a lengthy discussion with Wallace and other analysts, Williams conveniently turned back to the hearing room just as Cornyn was finishing his questioning and Durbin was about to begin: “We’re gonna go back in the room, finish up with Senator Cornyn of Texas and then we’ll go to Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois.”
Later in the 1:00 p.m. ET hour, Williams couldn’t resist censoring one more Republican, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst: “Senator Ernst of Iowa continuing the questioning for the Republican side, but their was a moment during the Blumenthal questioning of the Attorney General that we want to circle back to.”
So that time, Williams actually interrupted a Republican so he and his panel could tout what Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal had said just moments earlier.
As he returned to hearing after that final interruption of the day, the anchor again timed it perfectly: “Back into the hearing room we go, Joni Ernst finishing her round with the Attorney General.” Just as the audio of hearing came back, viewers could watch Democratic Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono blast Barr: “Mr. Barr, now the American people know that you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway or any of the other people who sacrificed their once decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office.”
The message from MSNBC on Wednesday was clear: Who cares what Republicans have to say, our biased commentary is more important that their questions to the Attorney General.