The only thing more disturbing than Kristen Welker’s softball, borderline cheerleading interview with Donald Trump during her Meet The Press debut? The near-total lack of pushback against her from almost anyone in the world of political journalism. As I’ve pointed out before, the most broken aspect of this industry is that nearly everyone working in it is trying to get booked on MSNBC (or its equivalent) in order to get free publicity, and therefore no one is willing to ever go against the network. Put another way: if your meal ticket depended on periodically landing MSNBC guest spots, would you dare criticize an MSNBC/NBC regular like Kristen Welker?
Even worse than the lack of criticism is the manner in which so many folks in the political journalism and pundit arena are bending over backward to try to give Welker credit for the interview. The suggestion is that because Trump screwed up and incriminated himself during the interview, Welker must have done something right. But this is nonsense.
Welker was soft on Trump from start to finish, with her “toughest” questions sounding like something a guidance counselor might ask an eight year old. She was even trying to hand him a trial defense strategy when she asked him if he was merely relying on the advice of his lawyers when he took the actions that he’s under indictment for. It was Trump who couldn’t pick up on the lifeline that Welker was trying to hand him, and idiotically blurted out a confession instead.
Let’s put it another way. Imagine I’m outside a bank, witnessing a bank robbery, actively cheerleading in favor of the bank robber. But when the bank robber leaves the bank, he accidentally trips over me and falls down, leading to his arrest. Would anyone give me credit for foiling the bank robber? Of course not. I was on Team Bank Robber!
So let’s push back against this attempt by the mainstream media at rewriting the history of what we all had the misfortune to watch this past Sunday morning. Kristen Welker spent that entire interview being on Team Bank Robber. The fact that Donald Trump tripped over a softball question is not a reason to give Welker any credit whatsoever. Her performance was atrocious, abominable, and unconscionable. And it wasn’t through incompetence, because we’ve seen her be extremely hard when interviewing other people. Welker made an unethical choice to go soft on Trump. She doesn’t get credit for the fact that he tripped and fell down.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report