NBC’s Jay Barbree interviews Gus Grissom
NBC’s Jay Barbree is the only reporter to have covered every manned NASA Launch from the beginning of the space program. So, as a bit of a living legend, NBC has to put up with him when he does not toe the party line—and that includes occasionally flustered MSNBC anchors.
Thursday, Barbree called out Obama’s hypocrisy on NASA campaign stops and press conferences to a flustered Alex Witt, who leapt to the President’s defense to close the segment: (Newsbusters has the video and a complete transcript of the exchange)
BARBREE: But I’m a little disturbed right now, Alex. I just found out some very disturbing news. The President came down here in his campaign and told these 15,000 workers here at the Space Center that if they would vote for him, that he would protect their jobs. 9,000 of them are about to lose their jobs. He is speaking before 200… It’s invitation only. He has not invited a single space worker from this space port to attend. It’s only academics and other high officials from outside of the country. Not one of them is invited to hear the President of the United States, on their own space port, speak today. Back to you Alex.
WITT: Alright Jay I can understand why that would certainly get you a bit upset. I will say, on behalf of the Obama administration, they contend that 2500 new jobs will be created, even more, they say, than the 2012 Constellation would have created, that program. ..
Barbree apparently hasn’t gotten the word that Obama’s staged events are to be taken at face value on the network. It wasn’t the first time an MSNBC anchor defended Obama to Barbree as the clock ran out on a segment…
On February 8, Barbree appeared on Chuck Todd’s Rundown to talk about the Obama NASA budget proposal. Barbree stated that if it passed, the U.S. would instantly be a “third rate nation in space,” which didn’t sit well with at least one of his MSNBC colleagues.
One specific cut to manned space flight which included a return to the moon just made no sense to the veteran reporter:
BARBREE: What they are telling me here, is that they have already spent over 10 billion dollars on the space program that will return to the moon and go to other flexible missions… and he’s going commercial at this point and going with this other unproven rocket that has never flown…they are only 4 billion away from finishing the project—and here’s the point, Chuck, they are going to spend in this budget 2.5 billion just to shut it down. So that leaves only a billion and a half away from doing the total job.
… America will instantly become the third rate nation in space behind Russia and China.
Todd’s sidekick on the program, an anchorette I don’t recognize jumped in as the segment was ending and Barbree would have no chance to respond
MSNBC ANCHOR: Yeah, but they got a budget increase overall…
Chuck Todd was a little more circumspect, commenting only “Strong words.”
No word on whether White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has complained to the Mouthpiece Union over this encroachment on his job security.