Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman’s wife slammed the NBC journalist who talked about the Democratic Lt. Gov.’s health issues in a recent interview, calling the NBC reporter “ableist.”
Gisele Barreto Fetterman said Dasha Burns did a disservice to the disabled community with her treatment of her husband’s condition after he suffered a recent stroke.
“I don’t know how there were not consequences. I mean, there are consequences for folks in these positions who are any of the -isms. I mean, she was ableist, and that’s what she was in her interview,” Mrs. Fetterman told Fast Politics host Molly Jong-Fast.
Mrs. Fetterman also demanded an apology over the debacle, calling for better journalism training to handle sensitive matters around health and disabilities.
“It just shows there’s so much work to do. These networks have to take accountability. Like, where is your training? It was appalling to see, and you see that in schools. You see that with young children. You don’t expect to see it at this level. You know, I haven’t heard an apology. It hasn’t come. I am hopeful that they will reflect and see that they did an incredible disservice to all Americans,” Mrs. Fetterman said.
Ms. Burns came under attack by some liberal pundits for her focus on Mr. Fetterman’s health in her interview, which comes less than a month before the midterms.
Mr. Fetterman suffered a stroke earlier this year and has been in recovery while hitting the campaign trail.
The candidate currently has impaired auditory processing due to the stroke and had requested closed captioning for the interview so he could read the questions before responding.
In comments to NBC Nightly News host Lester Holt, Ms. Burns said she believed Mr. Fetterman wasn’t clearly comprehending her when she was speaking to him prior to putting on the closed captioning.
“In small talk before the interview without captioning, it wasn’t clear he was understanding our conversation,” Ms. Burns said.
Her comments were criticized by some other journalists who also shared their experience of interviewing the Democrat.
“Sorry to say but I talked to [John Fetterman] for over an hour without stop or any aides and this is just nonsense,” said Kara Swisher of the New York Times.
Ms. Burns defended her critics by saying that it’s “possible for two different reporters to have two different experiences with a candidate,” adding that they were happy to accomodate with the requested closed captioning.
NBC News also defended their reporter, calling her a “widely respected beat reporter” on the Pennsylvania Senate race.
“We stand behind her extensive coverage of all the important dimensions of this year’s Senate campaigns,” the network said in a statement.
Mr. Fetterman will face Republican Mehmet Oz in November. Recent pollsters have called the race as being a statistical tie for the candidates.