Andrea Mitchell: “MSNBC Is Helping Preserve The NBC News Brand”

By Alissa Krinsky Comment

5 Questions For…Andrea Mitchell

Alissa Krinsky
TVNewser Contributor

andrea_mitchell05 (2).jpgAndrea Mitchell is NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent and the anchor of MSNBC’s 1pmET hour. Since joining NBC thirty years ago her beats have included energy, the White House, Congress, and presidential politics. Mitchell has covered every presidential election since 1972 and hosted MSNBC’s The Mitchell Report during the 2000 campaign.

Over the years, Mitchell has also appeared frequently on Meet the Press as a panelist and substitute host. Her name is among those discussed as speculation continues over who will be named the program’s permanent host. She discusses MTP‘s future with TVNewser, and shares her views on the mutual co-existence of NBC News and MSNBC.

1. TVNewser: If the Meet The Press anchor job were offered to me…
Mitchell: Meet the Press is, as Tim [Russert] used to say, a national treasure, and I know that whatever NBC decides to do in the future will preserve the integrity and the traditions of the program.

Fortunately, despite losing our leader and my friend and mentor, Meet the Press has continuity with Executive Producer Betsy Fischer in charge, and with Tom Brokaw’s willingness to take over the show until after the election.

2. TVNewser: As one of the longest-serving correspondents for NBC News, my response to critics who say MSNBC’s infusion of opinion during news broadcasts is damaging to the NBC News brand:
Mitchell: MSNBC is helping preserve the NBC News brand by making us the only broadcast network with a worldwide cable organization. It permits us to go live at any time with breaking news, gives us the ability to carry non-stop political coverage, including debates and convention proceedings, and — best of all — merges a new cadre of correspondents, anchors and producers with the NBC News team.

Nothing could be more important to our future. There are plenty of firewalls between the opinion during MSNBC’s prime time shows and the NBC News broadcasts.

3. TVNewser: Returning to the anchor desk has been…
Mitchell: I love being on MSNBC and am having a lot of fun with my show. Anchoring is a way to stretch some muscles I can’t exercise when I’m doing shorter spots for our regular broadcasts. It’s also been fun to take the program to all the primary election states and interview people in the field. The show has great producers who are incredibly flexible about staying on top of the latest breaking news. Sure, it’s hectic — but I’ve spent my career thriving on “hectic.”

4. TVNewser: Compared to past presidential campaigns, covering this 2008 election year is:
Mitchell: There’s no question that this is the most exciting campaign ever — not only because of the candidates, but because of the velocity of the news cycle, given the blogs and all the other sources of attack and counter-attack.

We had the longest, most interesting primary campaign in U.S. history — and a strong field of candidates in both political parties — unprecedented! It’s exactly why I’m loving having access to MSNBC along with the Today program and Nightly News with Brian Williams for our stories. Who would have imagined traveling to Iraq, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Berlin, Paris and London with a presidential campaign? And being live in all cities for all programs, on both cable and the network?

5. TVNewser: The biggest scoop of my career:
Mitchell: Probably the biggest scoop that was completely unexpected was in 1988, when I reported that Dan Quayle was George H.W. Bush’s choice to be Vice President. People said: ‘Dan who?’ When we went on the air, everyone was stunned, and the premature announcement on NBC did impact the subsequent difficulty the Bush campaign had in controlling the roll-out of Quayle.

We matched that four years ago with the scoop that John Edwards was John Kerry’s pick, although that choice was more predictable. Over the years, there have been lots of scoops covering the White House and the hill — but the vice presidential sweepstakes is always fun.