Matt Welch, an editor-at-large at the libertarian magazine Reason, said MSNBC hosts have routinely complained to him about their viewers when he has been a guest on the network.
Welch said on Thursday’s episode of his podcast “The Fifth Column,” that hosts have told him during commercial breaks that they were fed up with complaints they get from viewers whenever they ask Democrats tough questions or engage in debate with “the bad people.” Welch said:
I’m starting to hear more and more — and this happened this week and it happened probably every week that I’ve been on MSNBC recently — in commercial breaks the hosts lean over and say “God I’m sick of our viewers. Not sick of our viewers but I’m tired of getting dragged on Twitter every time I ask a Democrat a tough question. And I am also tired of people who are intolerant of there even being questions asked to the bad people.”
You can listen to the moment yourself, starting around the 24-minute mark, above.
Welch is indeed a regular on MSNBC, and his most recent appearance was a 9 a.m. hit with Stephanie Ruhle on Friday. A rep for MSNBC declined to comment.
Welch, however, told TheWrap that he may have been too harsh in his initial clarification, though his broader point was accurate.
“Oh, I think ‘sick’ of their audiences is too strong,” he said. “[They] have said things to me complaining about the pushback they’ve gotten on Twitter from viewers who get mad when they cross-examine Democrats too strong or are too nice to non-Democrats is more accurate.”
He declined to name which hosts he said had complained to him.
MSNBC hosts have previously made news for colorful hot-mic chatter, or when they thought the cameras weren’t rolling.
In 2016, Mika Brzezinski was caught on mic seeming to agree with Donald Trump not to ask him questions that were “too hard.” (Brzezinski later denied she was speaking to Trump in the audio.) And last September, network host Lawrence O’Donnell melted down over an earpiece malfunction in video that swiftly went viral.