MSNBC Analyst: 'We in the Media' Failed to Explain Russia Probe in 'Bite-Sized Way' for Public

'It took us too long,' Richard Stengel said

July 25, 2019

MSNBC analyst Richard Stengel said Thursday that "we in the media" hadn't done a good-enough job of explaining the particulars of the Russia investigation to the public in a "bite-sized way."

In the aftermath of former special counsel Robert Mueller's low-key testimony Wednesday on Capitol Hill, the former Obama administration diplomat said on Deadline: White House it was incumbent on the press and Democrats to put significant nuggets from the Russia probe on a "three-by-five card" and repeat it over and over for Americans to understand.

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace, who was among the many members of the media critical of Mueller's performance on Capitol Hill, said nevertheless Mueller had "destroyed" Trump's credibility. In her reading, Mueller had laid bare that Trump would be charged with a crime if he were not president. Mueller said the investigation did not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice but didn't come to a conclusion as to whether he committed a crime.

Many Democrats had hoped Mueller would bring new life to his probe and perhaps spur more members, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), to seek impeachment. However, he contained his answers to the report's information and didn't provide showy sound bites.

Stengel said it was hard for "anybody" to have the opportunity to read Mueller's 448-page report.

"We in the media didn't do a good-enough job of summarizing in kind of a bite-sized way. It took us too long," he said. "The Democrats could have done the same thing, like why not get everything on a three-by-five card that we just say over and over and over?"

"The sorry thing is we put everything on the shoulders of Robert Mueller, and he obviously is not a partisan, and he didn't want to be part of that," he added.

New York Times Magazine writer Mark Leibovich wasn't as dour. He felt there were some "index cards" that came out of Mueller's hearing.

"Crimes committed, Russia still attacking us, would have been charged with crimes if he wasn't president, and still could be when he leaves," Wallace recited, agreeing with him.