MSNBC's Hayes on Hill's Resignation: 'The Bad Guys Won Here'

October 30th, 2019 3:23 PM

Weighing in on the resignation of Democratic California Congresswoman Katie Hill Monday, MSNBC host Chris Hayes complained that her departure from Congress is proof that “the bad guys won here.” Hayes also accused The Daily Mail and Red State, two publications that published intimate photos of Hill, of committing a crime.

Hayes began the segment by expressing his disappointment that the House Ethics Committee’s investigation of an alleged relationship Hill had with a congressional staffer, in addition to the publication of the intimate photos, “appears to have successfully forced Katie Hill, a very promising young member of Congress, from office.” It looks like Hayes agrees with Daily Beast columnist Margaret Carlson that Hill’s departure from office is a “tragedy.”



While Hayes admitted that the relationships Hill had with a campaign staffer and a Congressional staffer were “problematic,” he issued a complaint that “it really seems like the bad guys won here.” When Hayes’s guest for the segment, Fordham University Professor Christina Greer, said that she put the blame for Hill’s resignation at “the feet of certain journalistic outlets,” Hayes jumped in and called into question the integrity of The Daily Mail and Red State by quipping: “if you can call them that.”

Shortly after Greer accused the two publications of committing “technological domestic violence” by publishing nude photos of Hill, Hayes indicated that he agreed with her analysis. According to Hayes, “Red State and Daily Mail, I think, are the two outlets that published this and like, that decision to me is just utterly and completely indefensible. You are essentially complicit in a...crime and a statutory violation.”

Greer proceeded to recycle the talking points recited by other talking heads about the supposed double standard Hill has to face because of her gender. Greer whined that similar scandals have not brought down male politicians; citing Newt Gingrich as an example, despite the fact that Gingrich resigned from his position as Speaker of the House.

Hilariously, Greer attempted to make the case that men implicated in sex scandals “get a pass from the press,” listing Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter as an example. Maybe Greer forgot that the media covered the Hunter scandal, which also had a campaign finance component, extensively when it first broke last summer.

Perhaps Greer might have had a point if she claimed that there was a double standard when it came to the coverage of Democratic politicians implicated in scandals versus their Republican counterparts. After all, the Hunter scandal received more than four times the amount of coverage of scandals involving Democrats.

As for the idea that the media have ruthlessly gone after Hill, that’s preposterous. It took the resignation of Hill for MSNBC to even begin reporting on the complex sex scandal surrounding Hill in the first place.

A transcript of the relevant portion of Monday’s edition of All In is below. Click “expand” to read more.

All In With Chris Hayes


08:31 PM


CHRIS HAYES: California freshman Democrat Katie Hill announced this past weekend that she is resigning from Congress and the reasons for that decision are both complicated and unnerving. Last week, the House Ethics Committee initiated an investigation into Congresswoman Hill because of an allegation that she had a romantic relationship with a congressional staffer. She has denied that allegation. She has admitted, however, to a romantic relationship with a campaign staffer. But the reason that we know all of this, the reason this has all come to a head, is that Congresswoman Hill is in the middle of an acrimonious divorce from her husband, Kenny Heslep, who she alleges, was both abusive to her and also the source of the images of her; the intimate images of her that have been posted to several sites now, which Hill notes, in her statement, is illegal.


REP. KATIE HILL: I will fight to ensure that no one else has to live through what I just experienced. Some people call this electronic assault digital exploitation. Others call it revenge porn. As the victim of it, I call it one of the worst things that we can do to our sisters and our daughters. I am grateful for all of you who have spoken out about this in recent days. As I have before, I will stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves because there is one thing that I know for sure. I will not allow my experience to scare off other young women or girls from running for office. For the sake of all of us, we cannot let that happen.


HAYES: The rattering reality is that this appears to have successfully forced Katie Hill, a very pomising young member of Congress, from office. Here with me now, someone who has studied public opinion and American politics; Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University Christina Greer. We…we don’t know what we don’t know in terms of relationships with staffers. She’s denied the relationship with the staff in Congress and she acknowledged one with the campaign staffer. So, sort of putting aside that as…

GREER: Right.

HAYES: …not great and problematic and maybe there’s more of that. But it really seems like the bad guys won here, to oversimplify.

CHRISTINA GREER: Yeah, well, and I…I put it at the feet of certain journalistic outlets or…Yeah. Journalists.

HAYES: I mean, if you can call them that.

GREER: Journalists. Yeah, exactly. Who published these…these photos. I mean, this is a form of like technological domestic violence in some ways…

HAYES: Yeah.

GREER: …especially if the soon to be ex-husband is behind this. I mean, we know that there is persistent gender bias in the workplace. I mean, you can ask almost every single woman who’s been in the workplace and we know that there are some serious differences between…

HAYES: Yeah.

GREER: …how women and men are treated. But we know in…in the House, as of January 2019, there are 102 women out of 435; the largest class ever. There are 25 Senators out of 100; the largest class ever. We know that we have a long way to go for gender parity and gender equity on a whole host of levels and so this is yet another example of…we’ve seen men time and time again be able to ride this out. We have men who are currently in her own state who are waiting just, you know, we’ll see if it passes over. They didn’t resign. I’m thinking of Duncan Hunter.

HAYES: Duncan Hunter, who…

GREER: I’m thinking of Newton Levoy Gingrich, who had multiple affairs…

HAYES: Right.

GREER: …on his first wife and multiple affairs with his second wife; both with staffers and…

HAYES: Right.

GREER: …campaign aides. Right? And so, these are ways that men in some…in so many ways, get a pass by the press, they get a press by their colleagues, they get a pass by their party, and I know with Katie Hill, we’re dealing with multiple issues simultaneously.


GREER: …ethically and also legally. But something doesn’t sit right with a lot of…


GREER: …Democrats and something doesn’t sit right with a lot of women this evening with how this all…

HAYES: And I should…

GREER: …sort of shook out.

HAYES: …Matt Gaetz, who’s obviously a very conservative member of Congress and very polarizing and polemical figure, defended her a few days ago. And I think there’s…I mean, we should say for apples to apples, Joe Barton, who’s a Republican Texas Congressman, did have images…intimate images of him posted and published. He did not resign but he announced he was retiring. So, that…that is a thing that has happened…

GREER: Right.

HAYES: …recently; which, again, I felt at the time that it was messed up for people to publish that.

GREER: Right.

HAYES: Like…

GREER: Right.

HAYES: Like, we should say, Red State and Daily Mail, I think, are the two outlets that published this and like that decision to me is just utterly and completely indefensible. You are essentially complicit in a…in a crime, in a statutory violation.

GREER: But not just complicit in it. You are making it now a story and it’s a…it’s a titillating story. It’s a story…

HAYES: That’s the other thing…

GREER: …beyond the story.

HAYES: …you can’t get around. Exactly.

GREER: And it’s…this is something that…it’s not appropriate. It has nothing to do with the other part that we should be addressing.

HAYES: You can also report on that without posting the…

GREER: You can definitely…

HAYES: …images, which seems to be like part of it. The other thing that someone on…on the All In staff raised today that I thought was a great point is that like Katie Hill, I think, is around 34.

GREER: 32.

HAYES: 32. Right. There is an entire generation of…


HAYES: …Americans…


HAYES: …who have been taking selfies and images of themselves in various contexts, whether at parties or in intimate relationships with consenting adults and those images…like there’s going to be a generation of members of Congress and politicians…

GREER: Right.

HAYES: …where there are thousands of images just around and it’s like, we’re going to have to decide as a society…

GREER: Right.

HAYES: …if we’re going to let that be some permanent like source of blackmail that every person that has a grudge out for you for the rest of your life…

GREER: Yeah.

HAYES: …that you dated in college and then you go on to be a Democrat and they’re a Republican, is going to be able to like bring you down with.

GREER: These are real questions that I have with my students. Right? I mean, we talk about…they are a generation where…to be on their phone, to take pictures and to share them with sometimes total strangers is a very normal process.

HAYES: Right.

GREER: And I walked them through; Gary Hart being one who…called the monkey business, without even doing monkey business to, you know, Bill Clinton with sort of phone calls before he became the President.

HAYES: Right.

GREER: With Anthony Weiner and, you know, DMs on Twitter.

HAYES: Yeah.

GREER: And now, we see sort of running to the full…it’s not even the extreme of the line because we don’t even know what’s beyond this…

HAYES: Yeah.

GREER: …going forward; which is quite worrisome because we don’t want to lose a future generation…

HAYES: Exactly.

GREER: …of leaders to this type of nonsense.