A technical mishap at MSNBC on Sunday evening offered viewers a rare glimpse into the network’s less than scrupulous practices when a reporter got caught rigging a post-debate interview on behalf of 2016 Democrat presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.
“And I’m going to ask you about Flint,” reporter Kristen Welker could be heard saying to a Clinton aid worker after host Ari Melber threw the segment to her, according to Breitbart.
Apparently, a delayed signal caused her to be unaware that Melber had passed the segment to her. When at last she realized she was live on air, she proceeded to question the aide worker, communications director Jen Palmieri, about her reaction to the just finished debate between Clinton and her challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“So Jen, your initial reaction to tonight’s debate?” she asked.
A bit later in the segment, Welker finally asked Palmieri the question she had warned her about.
“Let’s start with the issue of Flint — the Sanders campaign is saying that Secretary Clinton flip-flopped to some extent,” she said. “Tonight she came out for the first time calling for the resignation of the governor.”
“Why tonight, and was that a last-minute decision to flip-flop?” Welker then asked.
— christopher m (@cmmcmmcmmcmm) March 7, 2016
MSNBC had an awkward moment while trying to conduct a post-debate interview Sunday night, as reporter Kristen Welker appeared not to know she was live and told a Hillary Clinton aide what she would be asking her during their segment.
She then interrupted the guest, Jen Palmieri, when she heard a delayed prompt from the studio.
Ari Melber threw to Welker to speak with Palmieri, a flack for Hillary Clinton, but Welker was in mid-conversation with Palmieri and was telling her she would ask a question about Flint, Michigan, the site of Sunday night’s debate, because of the water crisis there.
“And I’m going to ask you about Flint,” Welker said.
“Kristen, go ahead, you’re live,” Melber said. “You know, we have Kristen Welker. We’re looking at her. She couldn’t quite hear me before. Can you hear me now? If you can, go ahead.”
Welker appeared to be receiving a delayed signal. Finally, she began the interview.
“So Jen, your initial reaction to tonight’s debate? Very fiery,” Welker said.
“Very fiery. Also very substantive,” Palmieri said. “I think it was probably the most substantive exchange that we’ve had. Also, there were a little bit of fireworks, but I think that it was useful because we think–”
Welker then cut over her when she apparently finally heard Melber’s words about starting the interview.
“Ari, I can hear you,” Welker said. “I’m here with communications director Jen Palmeri. Can you guys hear me back in the studio?”
“Yes, we’re on a delay, but go ahead,” Melber said.
“Can you guys hear what we’re saying here?” Welker asked.
“Yes!” Melber said.
The interview started again, and Palmieri again mispronounced the word “substantive” as she praised the tenor of the debate.
MSNBC has had its share of awkward on-air moments recently. In Nevada last month, a reporter did a live segment from a shooting range but his voice was drowned out by gunfire.