October 3, 2013
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus (Josh Reynolds/AP)
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus (Josh Reynolds/Associated Press)

Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, and MSNBC host Thomas Roberts engaged in about 35 seconds of crosstalk, the lowlight of a contentious MSNBC interview regarding Obamacare and the ongoing government shutdown. What kicked off the simultaneous talking was a question from Roberts. He wondered how the Republicans would have reacted if the Democrats had inserted gun regulations into a budget resolution. “How do you think that would go over? Would you approve that tactic from the left because that’s the tactic from the right?” he asked. Priebus dodged, saying that if the Republicans were in the White House, we “wouldn’t have a president who didn’t pass [a] budget in five years.”

From that point, it was as if we were listening to video feeds from two separate Web sites.

At one point in the exchange, Roberts cited the president’s reference to a “ransom note” delivered by Republicans in pursuit of their interests on Capitol Hill. Priebus snapped back by saying, “Those are some pretty good talking points…It sounds like I’m debating the chairman of the DNC here, Thomas. That’s fine; I’m happy to debate you.” The DNC, of course, is the Democratic National Committee.

Though Thomas insisted he was just presenting Priebus with questions about the president’s position, the interview indeed sounded like a clash between right and left. And that is fine, as Priebus noted. No one is pretending that MSNBC, the “Lean Forward” network, isn’t where liberal hosts come to do battle with the right. It’s a heckuva lot more honest than putting together tilted panel discussions under the false premise of objectivity.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.