MSNBC's Joe Scarborough Predicts 'Certain Networks' Will 'Maul' Haley Barbour If He Runs in 2012

The co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Joe Scarborough, strongly believes certain networks would play the race card big time against southern Republican Haley Barbour, if he runs for President in 2012.

[see related post with video here]

Scarborough predicted on Thursday that if the Mississippi governor is the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012, the media would smear him as a racist white man from the South running against the first black president. He particularly stated that "certain networks" would "maul" Barbour if he runs, resulting in an awkward moment on the set.

Could Scarborough possibly have meant MSNBC in that cast?

When the discussion turned to a possible Barbour-Obama race in 2012, Scarborough put in his two cents. "I like [Barbour] a lot," he said. "I just don't like the optics of him against Barack Obama in 2012."

Scarborough invoked the media's treatment of the Clintons in the 2008 Democratic Primary as an example. "We saw last time, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton were accused of being racists. How will the mainstream media treat an old-time Southern governor from Mississippi who criticizes [Obama]?"

Politico executive editor Jim Vandehei even sounded his agreement with Scarborough. "I think you pinpointed exactly his biggest liability," he told Scarborough of Barbour.

"Before people knew me, they assumed because I was from the South that I was a racist," Scarborough continued. "Ask Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton what the national media did to them because they were running against an African-American."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 19, at 6:25 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I like this guy a lot. I just don't the optics of him against Barack Obama in 2012 as a Republican strategist, the optics.

TINA BROWN, editor-in-chief, The Daily Beast: What do you mean the optics?

JIM VANDEHEI: executive editor, Politico: A Southern, bourbon-drinking, former tobacco lobbyist optics?

SCARBOROUGH: No, seriously, from Mississippi. And let's just get it out on the table now, because nobody else will say it. From Mississippi, running against the first African-American President. It's going to be tough for any Republican, even from Minnesota...to run against an African-American. We saw last time, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton were accused of being racists. Jim, how will the mainstream media treat an old-time Southern governor from Mississippi who criticizes him?

VANDEHEI: I mean, I think you pinpointed exactly his biggest liability.

(...)

6:28 a.m.

BROWN: You say you don't like the optics, and of course that is an enormous thing, Mississippi versus the African-American. But at the same time, if you look at the optics the other way, and say he actually comes off as a kind of grisly, hands-on, experienced – I mean he could be like the un-Barack, in that sense, you know?

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I will tell you, though. I can already write the columns, that will be in the New York Times op-ed pages, and I know this, going on shows, where there's politically correct you-name-it, where before people knew me they assumed because I was from the South that I was a racist. And again, ask Hillary Clinton, or Bill Clinton, what the national media did to them because they were running against an African-American.

BROWN: But we have a different period now. I mean, I think, I think nobody wants that to be said, and I'm sure that there are ways that perhaps he could  –

SCARBOROUGH: They accused Bill Clinton of being a racist.

BROWN: That race was full of the kind of idealism of, you know, of the first African-American President, which it should have been.

SCARBOROUGH: So let's call Bill Clinton a racist. You get the point. If they would do that to the guy that people called "the first black president," what will they do to a Southern governor that looks like Haley.

BROWN: Yeah, it'll be ugly.

SCARBOROUGH: They will maul him, on certain networks.
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014