What was supposed to be a discussion on MSNBC Tuesday over the effects of the government shutdown on military veterans’ families became a tense argument about the news media’s coverage on Obamacare, and even left the news anchor speechless.
The back and forth took place between Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and Andrea Mitchell.
“You need Jon Stewart on Comedy Central to ask [Health and Human Services Kathleen] Sebilius, ‘Hey, why won’t you treat these two equally,’ and she can’t answer it,” Duffy said. “That’s how pathetic I think news reporting has become when we won’t ask tough questions to the administration.”
Stewart, host of “The Daily Show,” asked Sebelius Monday whether it’s a “legitimate concern” that individuals are being forced to pay into Obamacare while big businesses have been given a year-long delay.
Mitchell rebutted the charge that MSNBC hasn’t challenged administration officials on the efficiency and fairness of Obamacare. (It’s noteworthy that an online search of Mitchell herself asking a question similar to Stewart’s renders no matches.)
“The response,” Mitchell said, “that Kathleen Sebelius gave to Jon Stewart was, ‘If we got what we wanted, which was a single-payer plan, this wouldn’t be a problem.” (A single-payer health care system did come up in the Stewart interview, but Sebelius’s response to Stewart’s specific question was to say that “nothing that helps an individual get health insurance has been delayed at all.”)
Duffy went on to say that the President and officials in the administration should also be made to sign up under Obamacare. “They have their own gold-plated health care plan that they’re in,” Duffy said.
“So do you,” Mitchell asserted.
Duffy shot back: “No, I’m not. I’m in Obamacare. I’m in Obamacare, Andrea. All members of Congress are and my family.”
Mitchell said nothing.
At the end of the segment, Duffy gave a final dig at Mitchell: “I think the media should start doing its job.”
“Thanks for your advice,” Mitchell said.
Follow Eddie Scarry (@eScarry) on Twitter.