What Next for MSNBC and Wawa-Gate?

by Greg Pollowitz

Yesterday blogger Sooper Mexican caught MSNBC and Andrea Mitchell editing a video of Mitt Romney talking about an innovative ordering touchpad technology at the Northeastern mini-mart chain Wawa. Full disclosure: I love me some Wawa and the ordering system is fantastic. It speeds up the ordering process and eliminates errors. Plus, Wawa always has healthy choices for my young son on roadtrips and the bathrooms are clean. Don’t mess with Wawa.

Back to MSNBC hackery, Dylan Byers of Politico writes:

MSNBC aired footage today that inaccurately portrayed Mitt Romney’s remarks at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.

Discussing how the public sector suffers from a lack of competition, Romney told the audience about an optometrist who wanted to change his address and subsequently received 33 pages of paperwork from the federal government, which begat a months-long bureaucratic nightmare during which the optometrist in question wasn’t receiving his checks. “That’s how government works,” Romney said.

Then, to illustrate the advantages of competition in the private sector, Romney shared an anecdote from his visit to the local WaWa chain store. “I was at WaWas, I went in to order a sandwich. You press a little touchtone keypad – you touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier — there’s your sandwich. It’s amazing. People in the private sector have learned how to compete. It’s time to bring some competition to the federal government.”

But in the MSNBC clip, which first aired on Andrea Mitchell Reports, Romney’s remarks begin with the WaWa anecdote and end at “It’s amazing,” an edit — first noted by conservative blogger Sooper Mexican — that makes it seem as though Romney was expressing amazement at the advent of touchtone screens.

The MSNBC clip feeds into the narrative, beloved by some on the left, that Romney is a 1950′s throwback. After the clip cut, Mitchell and MSNBC contributor Chris Cillizza broke out into laughter — which is understandable, given that they both had been led to believe that Romney was wowed by a simple machine. In fact, what Romney found so “amazing” was the discord between private sector innovation and public sector bureaucracy. 

A spokesperson with MSNBC said she is looking into the matter. I will update here if and when I hear back.

Full video here.

It’s worse than this, however. Mitchell introduces the clip as Mitt’s “scanner” moment in reference to the debunked alleged gaffed of Bush 41 during the 1992 election. And two, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post just sits there like a rube letting Mitchell spin the “gaffe.” 

Based on this, three things need to happen. One, whoever put together the video for Mitchell needs to be fired. Two, Mitchell needs to apologize for both airing the edited video and for her propagation of the Bush 41 supermarket nonsense. And more important: Three, MSNBC needs to review all of their recent edited clips to ensure they are being used in the proper context.

It should be noted, and this could go down as one of the strangest tweets ever, David Shuster has jumped in and is asking Mitchell to apologize:

Yes, thank you Sooper Mexican!

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