Bozell Column: The Incredible Shrinking Joe Scarborough

I don’t know when or where or even if Joe Scarborough’s radio show airs in my area, nor do I care. The other night a friend caught this clip from his radio show and sent it to me. It’s about a blog which is published by the organization I head.

"NewsBusters, which just loves writing negative articles about me, I don’t know why, a lot of really false ones and I don’t know what’s actually gotten into Brent Bozell, but he actually goes out of his way to write false articles about me now…They just distort the news for their own purposes."

Now I know why MSNBC hired Joe Scarborough. He’s about as accurate and honest as everyone else there.

False articles? Here’s something Joe knows, because he and I have had this conversation privately already: I’ve never written a bloody article about him. Ever.

As for conservative bloggers at NewsBusters writing false articles about him, that is equally untrue. Have they sometimes been negative? Guilty as charged – and for good reason. Increasingly he’s making statements that are stupid, or reckless, or provocative, or insulting, or a combination of all the above.

Scarborough regularly blasts the Republican Party as having betrayed its commitment to fiscal responsibility, limited government and anti-Wilsonian foreign policy. I can and do applaud him for that. But why go on a non-stop rant against George W. Bush for the audacity to launch the military surge in Iraq (yup, the one that won the war) and conclude it by declaring, "Is it not a stretch to say that many Republicans would have considered impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton if this situation were identical?"

When Scarborough proudly proclaims that "I have been bashing my party more than the Democratic Party because I want to make sure that am fair and down the middle," conservatives scratch their heads in disbelief. How does "bashing" your party make you "fair"? Joe, meet Non Sequitur.

That’s Scarborough’s problem. He bashes everyone, and then whines when anyone complains.

Last October 9, Scarborough was chatting with columnist Kathleen Parker and MSNBC loudmouth Lawrence O’Donnell. Parker jokingly asked if he was running for President. Scarborough replied that if he was, he wouldn’t have Rush Limbaugh’s vote.

"I think it’s fascinating," he said. "You’ve got all these people [read: conservative talk show hosts Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity, O’Reilly, etc.] that sat there and said nothing while Republicans darted recklessly left with their spending, and suddenly they are the arbiters of who’s conservative. And you can only be conservative by being intolerant, by waving your arms around, by screaming, by calling the President a racist or a Nazi or a communist. Come on!"

From beginning to end, that statement is demonstrably false, a rather pathetic cheap shot, more and more resembling something custom-made for MSNBC. And Scarborough wonders why conservatives grow weary of him.

Scarborough apparently liked what he said because he repeated the ad hominem attacks in the February 1 edition of Newsweek, where he was commissioned to write an article trashing the Tea Party movement. The title: "Is the Tea Party Over?" A snippet: "And in those throngs I also saw the faces of talk-show fans, pushed into action by the apocalyptic warnings of personalities like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Those two right-wing talkers had spent the past year telling listeners that the Democratic president was a racist who somehow managed to find the time also to be a Nazi and a communist."

And then there’s Sarah Palin. He’s repeatedly insulted her, then publicly whined about conservatives being upset with him. Try this nugget: "It is such a disservice to compare Sarah Palin in any aspect to Howard Dean. Yes, because that is an insult to Howard Dean’s intelligence."

Last week, he publicly bashed Fox’s Bill Sammon for saying the media "hate" Sarah Palin with a rambling, condescending diatribe about how "they don’t hate her," only to conclude that "they hated her in the press early on without knowing her because she was a pro-life woman," thus making Sammon’s point.

Last week was the topper. He analyzed Fox News Sunday’s interview with Palin: "Look at the end of Chris Wallace’s interview where he rolls his eyes, embarrassed. There’s no doubt he is… Chris is sending a message to all his friends: yes, I know. She is not a serious thinker."

Wallace had a message, alright. Asked if he’d rolled his eyes, he shot back: "No is the quick answer to that. Secondly, let me just say that Joe Scarborough lives out where the trolleys don’t run at night. The last time I heard of somebody getting that kind of secret message, it was Son of Sam hearing from a Labrador retriever that he should go out and shoot people. And I think that Morning Joe definitely needs to switch to decaf."

Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center