We’ve reported on what the MSNBC reporter said about the interview that she had with Pennsylvania senatorial candidate John Fetterman and she noted that he had to have closed captioning for the interview to help him understand what she said.
I wrote about this previously during his interview with NY Magazine reporter Rebecca Traister in which he also used closed captioning to help process what she was asking him. But that interview wasn’t even in person, as she admitted, “We spoke using Google Meet, because the stroke had made it difficult for him to process what he hears; the video chat has closed-captioning technology that allowed him to read my questions in real time.” That interview was a ridiculous tongue bath of Fetterman.
The MSNBC reporter, Dasha Burns, had a much more honest take, particularly after sitting down with him in person.
Now we have the interview itself, and Burns emphasizes that he had trouble even making “small talk” before the interview started, that it “wasn’t clear he was understanding the conversation.” You can see the whole 30-minute interview here, but here are a couple of clips from that interview.
Pennsylvania Lt. Governor and Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman sat down with @DashaBurns in an exclusive interview using closed captioning.
Fetterman discussed his recovery after suffering a stroke in the primaries and his race against Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz. pic.twitter.com/0fee1cKXgY
You can see his use of the computer and I have a question as well — if he’s using that, could he also even be getting fed responses?
Fetterman stumbled over saying the word “empathetic” and said that was an example of how he had been affected. He tried to turn it around to say that the stroke has made him a more empathetic person.
Burns makes the point that they’ve asked for his medical records, to talk with people from his medical team, or to talk with his physician. Yet all he’s given them is a letter from his doctor six months ago which doesn’t say what condition he is in now. He has refused to let them talk with his medical team. “Don’t voters deserve to know your status now?” Burns asked. Fetterman’s response left out words, “Being in front of thousands and thousands of people, and having interviews, and getting around all across Pennsylvania. That gives everybody and the voters decide. If it’s really the issue.” He’s been in front of small friendly crowds and this was the first in-person interview since his stroke. So even his answer was not exactly honest. But it made clear that they don’t want the public to know what the real story with him is.
You can also see his confusion in these clips.
REPORTER: “Are you committed to showing up on October 25th to debate your opponent?”
Yeah, no, Ian. Not comparable at all. We noted that there was a narrative shift when it came to Fetterman from “there is no problem” to “how dare you attack him for having a problem.” But, incredibly, Democrats would likely put anyone forward with any incapacity if it meant them holding onto power. We already see that they did that with Joe Biden. Yes, failure to understand what is going on is a problem, Democrats.
Even her network notes how other journalists were responding to Burns’ interview, saying they had not had that experience with Fetterman, as though to undercut what she said.
NBC reporter says she found it was “difficult” for Fetterman to engage in “small talk” without use of a closed captioning system.
“Our team was the first to be in the room with Fetterman for an interview rather than via remote video conference.” pic.twitter.com/8rtj2zLj4M
But they also had not interviewed him in person, as she had, as she noted. That’s part of the problem here — his people have previously not had him so such an interview. And maybe the other media wasn’t interested in the truth or doing their job, as the NY Magazine interview showed. Traister — the author of that article — also tried to come to the defense of Fetterman in the wake of what Burns said.
Bottom line? It does matter to voters, as the closing gap shows. Democrats and media like NY Magazine can try to spin all they like. But there’s a problem, voters know it and they’re going to vote based on that as well as his bad policy positions in November.