On Wednesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – the team talked with FOX 17 and Nashville In Focus Reporter, Harriet Wallace, regarding her recent sit down interview with Mark Brown, Tennessee’s Democratic spokesperson. On the Friday evening broadcast of Fox 17 News, Wallace questioned Brown about the recent Project Veritas video which showed people with the Bredesen campaign and whether or not they were actually paid staffers or just volunteers.
Gill: Now you went out and interviewed Mark Brown. He’s the spokesman for the Democratic party after this Project Veritas video came out, where you had various Bredesen staffers saying oh yeah, he hates president Trump. Of course and now he’s saying he wants to meet President Trump. He’s going to be a lock-step vote for the Democrats, yadda yadda yadda. And the Bredesen team and the Tennessee Democratic party claim, yeah those are just volunteers and interns. Well, you followed up and found out that noooo, they’re actually being paid. They were paid staffers. And you went and confronted Mark Brown the Democratic party spokesman here in Tennessee, and he had to backtrack. Tell us how this came about.
Wallace: Absolutely. So here’s how it all started. Obviously, this is a huge election in the midterms it’s a very big deal, especially with the race we have here in Tennessee. And so at Fox 17, you know we’re really looking into everything the voters need to know and the video came up. And then, you know, the Kavanaugh decision that whole issue really kind of shifted things for our elections and so, we are watching this video and we’re like, “Are these actual campaign staffers”? Because if they are they are giving us, we are finding out some inside information that could further shift this race. Also, we wanted to know is this a video in a cafe or is this actually in the campaign headquarters so you know I was given that assignment and went out to find that information.
And so, of course, I reached out first to the Bredesen campaign I was told absolutely not, not only do we not have a statement, we are not addressing it because those are not our folks they are not on our official campaign team. And I was sent over to the Democratic Party and told to speak with Mark Brown, which is what I did. One of my managers was also in contact with Mark Brown so we had some communication happening at the same time. And so when I spoke with Mark Brown, you know said you know that someone had been planted there. And as he characterized it as this plant took advantage of some young as he called it “young impressionable volunteers” betrayed their trust with this fake volunteer posed as a journalist asking questions and really betrayed them. And also in communication with one of our managers, Brown sent an email. He did say in all fairness, he did say in the body of the email, “they’re not Bredesen employees, their employees of the Democratic party.”
Gill: So he was inconsistent even at that point when he was saying they were volunteers and interns and then was also saying their not paid by them they’re paid by us. Well if they’re paid then they’re not volunteers.
Wallace and Gill continued to discuss the email from Mark Brown regarding his verbiage where he put in quotes referring to the staffers as “interns”. Wallace was determined to figure this out and continued her investigations and it was correct, that they were not Bredesen campaign staffers but were indeed official Democratic party staffers paid as far back as June of this year. Wallace went immediately back to Mark Brown to questions him about this discovery and he stated that I didn’t mean to mislead you. There are some people in those videos that are interns. Wallace clarified that she was referring to those that are actually speaking in the video. Brown did admit that they are paid, but they are not at the table where a strategy is crafted for the campaign.
Gill: Hey Mark, quit digging. When you’re in the hole, quit digging. By the way, Tennesee Star, Harriett, has discovered that not only are they paid staffers of the Tennesee Democratic party but that Chuck Schumer’s Democrat senatorial committee provided a million dollars to the state party when they only had about forty-eight thousand dollars in their budget. They provided a million dollars to hire these sixty-one paid staffers. So it isn’t just Tennesee Democratic money it’s Chuck Schumer money that Phil Bredesen is claiming I don’t have any relationship I don’t know anything about Chuck Schumer, I don’t support Chuck Schumer. So again there’s more to the story as you continue to pull the threads. You know one of the things that struck me Harriett, in what these paid staffers said though, was and again it hasn’t got much attention I think in the media. That one of them said Phil Bredesen is only going to run this one term he’s not going to have to answer to voters, he’ll never have to run for re-election again he’s basically a one and done. Has the Bredesen campaign commented on that piece and is that accurate?
Wallace: No. And I did ask, at least twice for them to respond to comments that were made in that video and the Bredesen campaign is really saying that they are not going to go on record to address that. And they also said, like Mark Brown said in his interview, you know look, they’re allowed to have their opinion they can say whatever they want but at the end of the day, they’re still on staff and they’re still you know, pushing for their candidate who is Phil Bredesen. And so, there has not been an official address to those comments and I mentioned that in my news story. Because whether they’re employees or volunteers or not, they’re inside the party and they have some opinions about their candidate. But no they’ve not addressed that and for those that watch our show, Nashville in Focus on Sunday morning, gotta put a plug in there another one, on Sunday mornings.
In closing, Wallace questioned whether or not comments made on the videos and in general were actually strategy talk or water cooler talk. However, Mark Brown made it clear that the staffers don’t know anything on the inside. Leahy interjected into the conversation to ask Wallace what it was like to have Mark Brown say that he didn’t intend to mislead anybody. As a journalist, Wallace expressed that she is there to advocate for the people and to give him a fair chance to speak. She went on to relay that this is really a charged political time, campaign time, and that she needed to remove her emotions from the situation. Wallace advocated to receive information, report it, and let the people decide.
Listen to the full segment:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio. Image “Harriet Wallace” by Fox News 17