One of the best things about watching The Beat with Ari Melber is when his guests come on and assume that because Melber is such a friendly guy that the interview will be similar to other friendly interviews they have on other shows. You know, softball questions, no real follow up, lies allowed to stand and few receipts to refute obvious lies.
Well, if you watch The Beat you know that Melber may be friendly, but his interviews are more akin to a legal cross examination than a softball interview. Tonight's interview Acting CBP Director, Mark Morgan, is a perfect example. Not only did Melber refuse to let him squirm out of answering direct questions, but he had receipts to prove that he was lying when he actually did choose to answer a question (with a lie).
When Ari Melber looks down, sticks up his pen and his smile turns up, wait for the cross exam to start. He knows how to interview.
Here is a bit of the back and forth:
MELBER: Is that death avoidable and is it acceptable?
MORGAN: Acceptable. I mean, I think we could all agree, but I do think it's avoidable. And the way it's avoidable is for Congress to do what we've been asking them to do for a very long time. It's not complicated. You address the Flores Settlement agreement which says we have to release kids and families in 20 days, TVPRA, which tells us we have to let kids into this country and fix the beginning part of the asylum process. If Congress does that, then you deincentivize and fix the loopholes in the system, you will see the numbers go down.
MELBER: To make sure I understand your response though, are you saying that death is not the fault of the people in charge of the facility, it's the fault of the policymakers in Congress or no one's fault in your viewed.
MORGAN: That's part of the challenge. I'm glad you're asking that question. This isn't about fault. This is looking at this from a holistic approach and seeing the tragedies. I'm glad we're talking about it. What i'm saying if Congress passes meaningful legislation to address the loopholes in our current asylum process, you will see these individuals stop making this perilous trek, stop making the cartels a multibillion dollar industry, stop risking their lives.
MELBER: That goes to the multiple reasons that people make this trek as you know. I want to dig into some of the facts. It's your first time on the show and I appreciate you coming on and you have a big job. The President said there would be these mass raids. Described as thousands of arrests. Were there mass raids, yes or no?
MORGAN: First of all, I don't actually call this a raid. I think words matter.
MELBER: Words matter so I'm going to get to your response. Were there mass raids as promised?
MORGAN: Again, these are not raids. These are targeted enforcement operations. And you know.
MELBER: Okay let me play for you, let me play for you people did say about numbers. The president tweeted about millions, then the administration said thousands and this is what your boss, the president, said.
(CUE THE RECEIPTS)
MORGAN: (flustered) No, that's not what I said. You're putting words in my mouth. Everything that you just played is absolutely correct. There are over a million individuals here illegally with an order of removal. ICE does this every single day. Yes, there was an operation that which they do every single day that makes.
MELBER: Was it in the thousands?
MORGAN: Removing people here illegally.
MELBER: Was it in the thousands?
MORGAN: This is what ICE does every single day.
MELBER: Was it in the thousands? I know you can hear me.
Then Morgan started to get visibly flustered, eyes squinting. He knew he was caught. Ari had the receipts.
MORGAN: You're putting words in my mouth.
MELBER: I'm not, sir. I'm not putting words in your mouth.
MORGAN: You are.
MELBER: I am cross examining.
Then Morgan said the one sentence that his boss always needs to hear: "I did not disagree with the President."
Even when the facts say otherwise, confidently look into the camera and lie. For an audience of one.