'Morning Joe' Approach To Oakland 'Occupy': Condemn Police First, Get Facts Later

Today, some members of the Morning Joe panel piously preached the importance of not jumping to conclusions regarding the clash between "Occupy" demonstrators and police in Oakland, California that left one man seriously injured.

But that didn't prevent Mike Barnicle from describing the event as a "police riot" or Joe Scarborough from speaking of police "brutality." H/t NB reader Ray R. Interestingly, Mika Brzezinski was the voice of reason, declining to condemn the police, saying she'd "hold back" and "wait"--presumably to get all the facts.  Video after the jump.



Even Willie Geist eschewed his normal equanimity.  Despite admitting he didn't have the facts, Geist proclaimed the demonstrators "peaceful" and proceeded to accuse police of acting in an "unconscionable" manner.

Watch the Morning Joe crowd condemn first, wait for facts later.

MIKE BARNICLE: You know what you're watching out there?  You were watching a police riot, a police riot. Oakland, the Oakland police department has had a series of problems over the last 10 years.  And that was a police riot you were just watching.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: And by the way, you've had protests across the country; none have broken out like that.  When I first saw the tear gas images yesterday morning, I thought--first of all I thought how stupid it was.  We didn't really understand the extent of the brutality till now. You just sat there: why did they do that? Was it really necessary to fire the tear gas and create a much more difficult scene?  Which is exactly what they've done.

HAROLD FORD, JR.: They created hysteria for no reason.

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah.
 

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: This is the police we're talking about?

FORD: This is the police.

BRZEZINSKI: I'd hold back.

FORD: These people were protesting about jobs and their incomes. They have every right to.  Why the policemen engaged themselves this way is just, um --

BRZEZINSKI: I'd wait.

SCARBOROUGH: I'm just curious: Willie, what are your thoughts on the overreaction by the Oakland police and what it means for the bigger movement?
 

WILLIE GEIST: I'm always careful to hear the whole story first --

SCARBOROUGH: Exactly.

GEIST: -- but to me, using tear gas on peaceful demonstrators is pretty unconscionable.  Again, we don't know the circumstances.  But if you can't contain a group of young kids protesting about jobs by other means, you might want to reevaluate your police work.

SCARBOROUGH: I don't know.  I'm with you, Willie. A lot of times people jump to conclusions without knowing the full story and the police always seem to be the first ones to be pushed around and kicked around when something like--when you have the story show up on the pages of the newspaper. The burden is always on the police department.  But in this case, this just seems so egregious.  It seems like it's an egregious use of force.
 

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.