MSNBC Asks ‘What The Hell Is Wrong With’ GOP, Alleges Violence Fetish

News & Politics

In the wake the assault on Paul Pelosi, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and The Bulwark’s Charlie Sykes took time on the latter’s Tuesday show to ask “What the hell is wrong with these people.” “These people” referring to Republicans to highlight their “fetishization of violence,” which is MSNBC’s way of saying support for the Second Amendment in their campaign ads.

Mitchell began by crediting Sykes for the observation, “And Charlie, I just also want to shout out your piece, What the Hell is Wrong With These People, your Morning Shot on thebulwark.com. And I haven’t even raised the subject of some of the political ads where people are pulling out shotguns.”

The article contains no mention of ads with gun-wielding politicians, but Mitchell nevertheless continued, “You know, candidates, that the Republican head of the Republican campaign — Congressional Campaign Committee, in his re-election ad, pulling out guns and validating and exploiting violence in their ads against their opponents.”

Mitchell is referring to a tweet, not an ad, that as of Tuesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports had less than 20,000 views, from Rep. Tom Emmer with a four second video with the caption, “Enjoyed exercising my Second Amendment rights with @KellyCooperAZ & General @JackBergman_MI1. 13 days to make history. Let’s #FirePelosi.”

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That’s it. He didn’t shoot use a print out of Pelosi’s face as a target or even a piece of Democratic legislation. He didn’t say anything in the video. He simply tweeted “Fire Pelosi” while highlighting his support for the Second Amendment.

Using guns in ads is also something red state Democrats do to argue that they are a different sort of Democrat. The trend was so common in the last midterm that Business Insider ran a whole article on it.

Yet, Sykes still found room to condemn, “the fetishization of violence and you do have the congressman who will have a picture of himself firing a gun saying fire Nancy Pelosi. That has consequences.”

Sykes also condemned “The number of candidates who have bedecked their Christmas cards with AR-15s, but also, just the increasing celebration of people like Kyle Rittenhouse.”

Continuing, Sykes declared:

And, you know, it doesn’t take a lot of disturbed individuals to act on all of this, which is one of the reasons why there’s always been an assumption that there would be some sort of restraint and responsibility in the use of rhetoric, because you know there might be a disturbed individual who will take it too far after you demonize, dehumanize the other side, that they might act on it and the risks just keep rising with no indication whatsoever that anyone is prepared to dial this down, this rhetoric down. 

One can hope, but shouldn’t hold their breath, that MSNBC will dial down the rhetoric that accuses the most basic sort of campaigning with a “fetishization of violence.”

This segment was sponsored by Humana.

Here is a transcript for the November 1 show:

MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports

11/1/2022

12:31 PE ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: And Charlie, I just also want to shout out your piece, What the Hell is Wrong With These People, your Morning Shot on thebulwark.com

And I haven’t even raised the subject of some of the political ads where people are pulling out shotguns. You know, candidates, that the Republican head of the Republican campaign — Congressional Campaign Committee, in his re-election ad, pulling out guns and validating and exploiting violence in their ads against their opponents. 

CHARLIE SYKES: Well it is the fetishization of violence and you do have the congressman who will have a picture of himself firing a gun saying fire Nancy Pelosi. That has consequences. The number of candidates who have bedecked their Christmas cards with AR-15s, but also, just the increasing celebration of people like Kyle Rittenhouse. 

I mean, how can Kyle Rittenhouse become a hero among Republicans and on the right? I mean, he shot and killed two people. He shot another person. And yet, there is this sense that somehow he was heroic. The retrofitting of the assault on January 6 into a patriot uprising. 

And you heard that rhetoric from the man who tried to assassinate Nancy Pelosi. All of these ideas have real consequences. And, you know, it doesn’t take a lot of disturbed individuals to act on all of this, which is one of the reasons why there’s always been an assumption that there would be some sort of restraint and responsibility in the use of rhetoric, because you know there might be a disturbed individual who will take it too far after you demonize, dehumanize the other side, that they might act on it and the risks just keep rising with no indication whatsoever that anyone is prepared to dial this down, this rhetoric down.  

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