Trouble in paradise? MSNBC, Politico quibble over Andrea Mitchell’s equal pay for women remark

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Immediately following Tuesday night’s presidential debate, pundits and anchors on MSNBC began criticizing Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” answer to a debate question about gender discrimination in the workplace. However, the network got a taste of its own medicine on Thursday, when Mitt Romney senior adviser Barbara Comstock appeared on “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

Host Andrea Mitchell attempted to push Comstock on Romney’s position on the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made it easier for workers to sue their employers for wage discrimination.

“I mean for Lilly Ledbetter, this was not just a legal issue,” Mitchell said. “This was the fact that she was not permitted to sue for equal pay, because the statute had ran out and the law said that, if you didn’t know that the men you were working with were making more money, which many of us don’t know, we don’t have access to those confidential —”

“We know here at MSNBC, the guys get paid more,” Comstock interrupted, with a laugh. “We know that.”

“We certainly do,” Mitchell replied.

“So this is one of the places where you need to be a little bit more public with it,” Comstock added.

Politico’s Mackenzie Weinger was the first to pick up on Mitchell’s reply, which was posted on Dylan Byers “On Media” blog.

But in an update to the original Politico post, Mitchell claimed her words had been twisted.

“I was referring to the industry as a whole,” Mitchell wrote in the email. “This remark has been taken out of context.”

The update to the story also included a comment from MSNBC spokeswoman Lauren Skowronski, who touted the network’s “gender equality.”

“We take this issue very seriously, and I can tell you that we’re proud of the gender equality at MSNBC,” Skowronski told Politico.

In a tweet, Byers stuck by his colleague, claiming her report was “100% accurate.”

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Jeff Poor