MSNBC Mourns ‘Tragedy’ of Katie Hill Resigning Over Sex Scandal

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On Monday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell and her liberal journalist guests lamented the resignation of Democratic Party “rising star” and California Congresswoman Katie Hill amid a bizarre sex scandal. The discussion portrayed the liberal lawmaker as the victim of a “double standard” and even a “crime.”

After MSNBC spent weeks initially ignoring the controversy, Mitchell told viewers: “California Congresswoman Katie Hill resigned on Sunday after scandalous allegations that she had an affair with a congressional staff member.” Turning to left-wing Daily Beast columnist Margaret Carlson, Mitchell regretted the “pretty shocking turn of events” and labeled Hill “such a star.”

 

 

Carlson commiserated: “Yeah, she was a rising star. There’s no doubt she was one of the named ones that we know about.” Mitchell chimed in: “For the big blue wave.” Carlson continued: “Yes. And it’s a loss...”

The columnist then ranted:

I think there’s a double, double standard on the Hill, which is one is that women are treated more strictly than a man. And Democrats are following the strictures of the Ethics Committee and others on sexual misconduct more strongly than Republicans are....I mean, our president gets away with so much more than Katie Hill. And here we have a really, really abusive husband calling her to account. I mean, the – Nancy Pelosi is doing the right thing, but it’s still something of a tragedy.

“And it’s a sacrifice for her, but she did it,” Carlson concluded of Hill.

Mitchell sympathized: “I mean, she could have hung in there...until the ethics investigation, but the humiliation, the fact that pictures of her were out on the internet, thanks to her husband apparently.”

NPR’s Kimberly Atkins joined in painting Hill as the victim:

...under the laws of the 46 states and the District of Columbia, the leaking of these photographs and publishing of these photographs of her would be considered a crime. So while yes, on the one hand, she is the subject of this ethics investigation. She’s also purportedly a victim of a crime.

Earlier in the day, NBCNews.com national political reporter Jonathan Allen similarly complained:

...you’ve got a member of Congress being forced out essentially because someone leaked explicit photos of them....she really wasn’t given a due process that we’ve seen so many other members of Congress have in various cases. You’ve had other members of Congress admit to various affairs. And so you’ve got this standard now where revenge porn can essentially knock a member out of Congress, and obviously I think there are a lot of women who are looking at this and saying this is, you know, sort of a double standard.

If compromising photos were released of a Republican engaged in a sex scandal involving a subordinate, does anyone really think MSNBC’s first reaction would be to profess that elected official was the victim?

Here is a transcript of the exchange on the October 28 Andrea Mitchell Reports:

12:43 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: California Congresswoman Katie Hill resigned on Sunday after scandalous allegations that she had an affair with a congressional staff member. Her resignation coming after the Ethics Committee launched an investigation. Hill is the first woman member to have to resign other sex charges in the Me Too era. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement, saying in part, the Congresswoman “has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued service as a member untenable.”

Joining us now for the inside scoop, Kimberly Atkins, senior Washington news correspondent for WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, also an MSNBC contributor. And Margaret Carlson, columnist for The Daily Beast. Margaret, this is a pretty shocking turn of events. She was such a star. She was on House Oversight, she was on leadership in the conference.

MARGARET CARLSON: Yeah, she was a rising star. There’s no doubt she was one of the named ones that we know about.

MITCHELL: For the big blue wave.

CARLSON: Yes. And it’s a loss, but you know, I think there’s a double, double standard on the Hill, which is one is that women are treated more strictly than a man. And Democrats are following the strictures of the Ethics Committee and others on sexual misconduct more strongly than Republicans are.

MITCHELL: I think it’s more Democrats than Republicans –  

CARLSON: More Democrats, but I – I mean, our president gets away with so much more than Katie Hill. And here we have a really, really abusive husband calling her to account. I mean, the – Nancy Pelosi is doing the right thing, but it’s still something of a tragedy. And I’m sure that she also feels, as Al Franken did at the time, which is if you’re losing the support of the leadership, the best thing you can do is get out of the way. And it’s a sacrifice for her, but she did it.

MITCHELL: I mean, she could have hung in there, Kimberly, until the ethics investigation, but the humiliation, the fact that pictures of her were out on the internet, thanks to her husband apparently. This is a contested divorce, so we’re not taking sides here, but it’s a mess.

KIMBERLY ATKINS: It is, and I think that’s one of the biggest differences here between this situation and one like Al Franken is under the laws of the 46 states and the District of Columbia, the leaking of these photographs and publishing of these photographs of her would be considered a crime. So while yes, on the one hand, she is the subject of this ethics investigation. She’s also purportedly a victim of a crime. There is bipartisan legislation to federalize revenge porn, make that a federal crime as well. And she says that she’s going to focus now on the work of that. But yes, I think it definitely shows the difference between how Republicans and Democrats have handled – you have other Republicans like Duncan Hunter who have been accused of impropriety and he refused to step down.

CARLSON: And spending money – spending campaign money on his affairs.

MITCHELL: To defend himself.

CARLSON: Yes.

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