Scarborough, Bashir In MSNBC Bash-up Over Hacking Scandal

Keith Olbermann was infamous for his in-house feuds during his MSNBC tenure.  But Keith's clearing-off has manifestly failed to transform the network into a land of milk and honey.  Witness the nasty little spat on today's Morning Joe between Joe Scarborough and Martin Bashir, host of an MSNBC afternoon show.

At hand was the hacking scandal, and in particular Piers Morgan's possible involvement.  Scarborough referenced a Morgan statement indicating that at the time he was editor of a British newspaper, he was aware of a phone-hacking technique. Joe asked Bashir if he was surprised that more hadn't been made of it.  Bashir condescendingly responded that he wasn't surprised since, "if you read it carefully, Joe" the statement contained no admission by Morgan of having used the technique.  For more on the matter, including the suggestion that Morgan's paper in fact used the hacking technique to break a sex scoop, click here.

That set Scarborough off and the two continued to exchange barbs till the end of the segment.

View video after the jump.



Watch the flare-up and imagine the collegial times rolling in the MSNBC cafeteria.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Are you surprised that more questions haven't been raised about the passage from Piers Morgan's book where he talks about phone hacking and brags about how you can do it?

MARTIN BASHIR: No, I'm not surprised because he doesn't actually say that he does it.  What he said was in the book if you read it carefully, Joe, and this is important, he actually said he'd heard about this phenomena and that he therefore personally changed his own cell phone numbers in order to prevent that from happening.  But he never asserted that he would do that.

SCARBOROUGH: I did read it carefully, Martin.  Not as carefully as you, of course, because I can't do anything as carefully as you.  But I will tell you --

BASHIR: Oh, don't be ridiculous.  Now you're being self-pitying.

SCARBOROUGH: I'm just a dumb country lawyer.

BASHIR: Oh, right.

SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much for being with us.  We greatly appreciate it.

BASHIR: It's a great pleasure to be with you, Joe.  Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH: Yes, and have fun following Parliament there.  How fascinating.  You know, I've got to say, I have read Piers Morgan's quote and it's pretty damning.  You look at the tone, and there's almost a braggadocio like, hey, let me tell you, this is how--this is a trick of the trade.


Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.