Here's MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, interviewing Time's Karen Tumulty moments ago:
Karen, let me ask you one other thing. There was an event with doctors at the White House at the Rose Garden yesterday. And I have to pursue this more, in more depth, but do you know anything about this photo opportunity when they were told to bring their white lab coats, and those who forgot and came in, in business attire were handed lab coats by White House staff members so they would look like doctors for the photo op?
After Tumulty noted that this is "not such a huge deal" because the people were in fact doctors and do in fact "support the basic bill," Mitchell haltingly replied:
Well, again, it is an interest group, Doctors for America, but it was certainly, uh, assisted by White House staff. It just seems like a lot of choreography for a White House which claims to be doing things authentically. [Smirking, shaking head] It just, you know.
It just, you know.
Well, no, I don't.
Here's a free tip: When you're unable to articulate what's wrong with an action more eloquently than saying "It just, you know" while scrunching up your nose and shaking your head, its probably because there's nothing wrong with it.
Look: These were actual doctors. If they were not doctors, and the White House dressed them up to look like they were, that would be problematic.
But that isn't what happened. They were doctors. There was nothing misleading about asking them to wear lab coats so people would know they were doctors rather than, say, insurance company executives.
(By the way: handing someone a lab coat is not "a lot of choreography." It takes about two seconds.)
Now, why did Mitchell feel she had to ask Tumulty about this? Why does she think she has to "pursue this more, in depth"? How much "depth" is there to pursue?
Mitchell can't articulate a reason why it matters, but the right-wing is up in arms, so she thinks she has to "pursue" the Great Doctors Wearing Lab Coats Scandal of Ought-Nine in more depth.
UPDATE: According to Tommy Christopher at Mediaite, the controversy is not only dumb -- it isn't true. Under the header "Why Was The NY Post Alone in Reporting 'White Coat-gate? Because It's Not True," Christopher writes:
The picture bothered me, because I didn't recognize the staffer who was handing out the white coats.
I checked on it, and a White House source told me that the White house did not provide the extra lab coats. Doctors for America paid for and brought the extras. OOPS!
I wonder if Mitchell's in-depth pursuit of this crucial story has turned up that little detail yet.
Some conservative media figures are spoiling the celebration for others who have taken joy in the International Olympic Committee's decision to award the 2016 Olympic Games to Rio de Janeiro rather than Chicago, whose bid for the games was supported by President Obama. While Glenn Beck crowed that the IOC's decision was "so sweet," and Rush Limbaugh stated, "I don't deny it. I'm happy," Joe Scarborough argued that "middle Americans that swing elections" will see conservatives celebrating Chicago's defeat and say, "My God, the Republicans have gone off the deep end."
Recently, the right-wing media have engaged in relentless attacks on President Obama and his administration and progressive organizations. Those attacks have repeatedly turned out to be based on demonstrably false claims -- such as the claim that Education Department official Kevin Jennings "cover[ed] up statutory rape."
Fox News and its websites Fox Nation and FoxNews.com repeatedly advanced the falsehood that Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, in the words of Fox News host Bill Hemmer, knew of a "statutory rape" and "never reported it." While pushing this attack on Jennings, Fox News ignored evidence that the student who told Jennings about his relationship with an older man was of legal age, and Media Matters for America has since confirmed that the student was of legal age and that Fox News' smears of Jennings were scurrilous and false.
Conservative media figures have celebrated the International Olympic Committee's elimination of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics and used the event to bash President Obama, who flew to Copenhagen to lobby IOC members on behalf of Chicago's bid. For instance, Glenn Beck called the news that Chicago's bid had failed "so sweet," Rush Limbaugh declared himself "happy" and "gleeful" with the results, and Matt Drudge proclaimed: "World rejects Obama."
Led by Fox News, the conservative media have opened a new front from which to attack President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama's support of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics: smearing the city as unfit to host the Olympic Games, often by citing individual instances of violence. For example, Sean Hannity, after citing a recent murder and an assault, asked whether Chicago is "a city where we want the Olympics," and Glenn Beck said, "Chicago is good at ... organized Mafi -- oops, did I say that out loud?"
The latest target in the Glenn Beck-driven conservative media witch hunt for Obama administration "czars" is Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools director Kevin Jennings. In their attacks on Jennings, numerous conservative media figures have resorted to thinly veiled homophobic appeals to paint Jennings, who is gay, as a "radical" "gay activist" with an "agenda" of "promoting homosexuality in schools," and have misrepresented or distorted Jennings' previous comments about religion and tolerance.
Despite evidence to the contrary, Fox News -- led by Sean Hannity -- and other right-wing media have claimed that Department of Education official Kevin Jennings "cover[ed] up statutory rape" and violated Massachusetts law by not reporting to authorities a 1988 conversation in which a high school student told Jennings about his relationship with an older man. In fact, Jennings' attorney wrote in a 2004 letter that the student was 16 years old, which is -- and was at the time -- the legal age of consent in Massachusetts.
From the September 30 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
Loading the player reg...
Glenn Beck and other conservative media figures are now attacking President Obama's proposal to extend the length of school days and the school year, adding to conservative media's recent penchant for fearmongering about children in order to smear progressives. Beck and Rush Limbaugh claimed government mandates for longer school days would give the government more time to "indoctrinate" kids, and Michelle Malkin said Obama is acting as "school czar."
Conservative media have suggested or claimed that President Obama is advocating for Chicago to host the 2016 Olympics in order to return political favors to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley or forward the financial interests of other "Chicago pals." For instance, Glenn Beck advanced baseless speculation that Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett "may personally benefit" from the Olympics, and Michelle Malkin wrote that Daley "cronies" in Obama's circle are "returning the favor for their hometown boss" by pushing for the Chicago Olympics.
Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and prominent conservative bloggers followed the lead of conservative website Breitbart.tv after the site falsely claimed that an online video showed community organizers from the Gamaliel Foundation "pray[ing]" to President Obama. Breitbart.tv subsequently updated the original post with an editor's note acknowledging that "there is a debate over what is actually being said" and that the crowd may, in fact, be saying "oh God" rather than "Obama"; the Gamaliel Foundation subsequently stated that "at no time have we prayed to President Obama" and that in the video, the organizers "can be heard saying, 'Hear our cry oh God,' 'Deliver us oh God,' etc."
In recent days, Fox News hosts, contributors and guests have used President Obama's promotion of the United States bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in Chicago as an excuse to attack him, while Michelle Malkin and Matt Drudge have baselessly linked the murder of a teenager in Chicago to the Olympic bid. Attacks on Obama's efforts include Sean Hannity saying that "it sounds" like Obama "is more concerned about bringing the Olympics to Chicago than winning the war in Afghanistan," Brent Bozell claiming Obama's trip to Copenhagen to promote the Chicago bid "is evidence that this man just cannot stay away from the klieg lights," and Bret Baier invoking the "carbon footprint" of Obama's trip to Copenhagen to smear the president.
Taking cues from conservative blogs and the Drudge Report, Fox News and its online properties flogged a YouTube video that purports to show "[s]chool kids taught to praise Obama." Indeed, in discussing the significance of the story, Fox News host Megyn Kelly said that the video, which the school's superintendent has said was unauthorized, "is getting attention on the Drudge Report website this morning."
On September 8, Fox News host Megyn Kelly stated that "more of President Obama's special advisers are now under scrutiny after the resignation of his green jobs czar," Van Jones and described "criticisms" being lodged against Obama science and technology adviser John Holdren and Obama nominee Cass Sunstein. In fact, Fox News personalities have been leading the charge against Jones, Holdren, Sunstein, and other Obama administration officials and nominees they have described as "czars" -- often by unearthing and criticizing statements the officials had made in the past rather than critiquing their job performance or credentials for those positions -- with Sean Hannity, for example, declaring that "my job starting tomorrow night is to get rid of every other ['czar']."