MSNBC is taking flak about the role that one of the channel’s on-air personalities played in setting up a meeting between EPA head Scott Pruitt and lawyers representing a California Superfund site. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Saturday morning host Hugh Hewitt had a hand in brokering the meeting.
“The lawyers, who work for the same firm as Hewitt, Larson O’Brien, met with Pruitt in October and were successful in lobbying the EPA to put the Orange County North Basin site they represent on a list of locations targeted for ‘immediate and intense’ action,” THR reports. “Hewitt’s role in setting up the meeting was revealed in a cache of emails released after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from environmental advocacy group The Sierra Club.”
THR adds: “When asked if MSNBC was aware of Hewitt’s involvement, a spokesman said Tuesday afternoon, ‘We’ll get back to you.’ By press time Tuesday evening, the network had not provided any response or statement on the matter.”
Hewitt reportedly called the incident a “nonstory” on Twitter after Politico published a story about it Monday night.
“I think it is quite a reach to try and turn my and my law firm’s role in advocating the clean-up of an Orange County Superfund site pursuant to an agreement with Obama’s @EPA into a headline, but @Politico did it,” Hewitt tweeted.
Politico reported: “The previously unreported meeting … showed Pruitt’s staff reacting quickly to the request last September by Hewitt, who has been one of Pruitt’s staunchest defenders amid a raft of ethics controversies around his expensive travel, security team spending and a cheap Washington condo rental from a lobbyist.”
THR adds: “Hewitt, a longtime conservative radio host, was hired by MSNBC last summer to host a 30-minute show Saturday mornings that some said was incongruent with the network’s left-leaning programming and opinion hosts.”