MSNBC's Joe Scarborough Believes 'Certain Networks' Would Have Trashed Bush if He Echoed Obama's 'We're Buying Shrimp'

Once again, the co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Joe Scarborough hinted that "certain networks," (ahem, MSNBC) hold quite the double standard between Democrats and Republicans. When the subject matter was President Obama's snub of an Iraq War question during his vacation at Martha's Vineyard – he remarked "We're buying shrimp, guys" – Scarborough pointed out that network coverage of Bush would have been far more negative.

As NewsBusters reported last week, Scarborough also believes "certain networks" will "maul" Haley Barbour if he runs for President in 2012.

The show's co-host Willie Geist first opined that news coverage might have been different with President Bush. "I hate to make this point too often," he said, "but imagine for a moment George W. Bush were on his sixth vacation, and he was asked about Iraq, and he said 'I'm buying shrimp.' You think that wouldn't be a headline everywhere?"

"You're implying there's a double-standard, Willie," conservative guest Pat Buchanan snickered.

Scarborough made it quite clear. "Can you imagine if someone asked [Bush] about shrimp – about Iraq, and he goes 'We're buying some shrimp here,'" he asked. " I mean, they would, they would...they would kill him."

"It would be running on a loop. On certain networks," Scarborough quickly added. Co-host and self-proclaimed Democrat Mika Brzezinski immediately changed the subject.

Later in the segment, Joe and Willie were at it again. Joe and Mika entered a brief spat over whether the networks would have treated Obama and Bush differently on the matter. Mika, ever endeared to the Democratic talking points, dismissed any notion of a double-standard.

When Pat Buchanan remarked that "they really would rip [Bush] to shreds here, I think," Mika kindly retorted "I think you're suffering from a very bad case of selective memory. I'm sorry."

A transcript of the segments, which aired on August 26 at 6:33 a.m. EDT and 7:12 a.m. EDT, respectively, is as follows:

6:33 a.m.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The President is avoiding questions about Iraq this week, while vacationing on Martha's Vineyard. Here he is yesterday, being asked about Iraq while placing his lunch order at Nancy's.

(Video Clip)

President BARACK OBAMA: We're buying shrimp, guys.

(End Video Clip)

WILLIE GEIST: Said "We're buying shrimp, guys."

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Okay. We'll talk more about this later. Moving on with news. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il made a surprise –

(Crosstalk)

SCARBOROUGH: That's just kind of strange, isn't it? We're buying shrimp now, guys?

GEIST: I hate to make this point too often, but imagine for a moment George W. Bush were on his sixth vacation, and he was asked about Iraq, and he said "I'm buying shrimp." You think that wouldn't be a headline everywhere?

BRZEZINSKI: No, he was. In a golf cart.

SCARBOROUGH: He actually said –

GEIST: That's my point. And noone's lambasting President Obama for doing the –

SCARBOROUGH: And George Bush said "Now watch me" – he answered the question, and said "Now watch me hit this drive." In this case, of course, Barack Obama didn't answer the question about Iraq. He said "We're buying shrimp." So your point is –

PAT BUCHANAN: You're implying there's a double-standard, Willie.

GEIST: Perhaps.

(Laughter)

SCARBOROUGH: Can you imagine –

BUCHANAN: Isn't that a bit of a stretch, Willie?

SCARBOROUGH: Can you imagine if someone asked him about shrimp – about Iraq, and he goes "We're buying some shrimp here." I mean, they would, they would –

BUCHANAN: It'd be on all the networks every night. (Crosstalk)

SCARBOROUGH: They would kill him. It would be running on a loop. On certain networks.

(...)

7:12 a.m.

GEIST: We hate to go to this argument too often, because we say – imagine if this had been George W. Bush, the media would have treated him differently. But I mean, that would have been a –

SCARBOROUGH: He would have been killed.

GEIST: A signature moment. He would have been torn to shreds.

(Crosstalk)

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, New York Times columnist: That was a Michael Moore moment. Remember, that was actually in the Michael Moore movie, sort of the iconic –

GEIST: You're asked about Iraq, talk about shrimp, you're already criticized by some for being on vacation too much. It fits into this narrative.

BRZEZINSKI: He gave a speech on Iraq on Tuesday.

SCARBOROUGH: George W. Bush made speeches on Iraq all the time. Of course, what would happen is that they would have that response, and then they would cut immediately. News cast would cut immediately to dead Iraqi bodies in the street. We saw –

BRZEZINSKI: Wait a second. You're also taking out of context – it's not like President Obama brought us in there. And there wasn't the whole WMD –

SCARBOROUGH: He's commander – he's Commander-in-Chief.

BRZEZINSKI: A huge disgrace. I mean, there were a lot of reasons –

SCAROROUGH: That's all you got? That's all you got?

(...)

SCARBOROUGH: You're telling me that the left-wing wouldn't shred this guy in a million pieces?

BUCHANAN: They shredded even the ol' man. Remember back there, when the ol' man went out in his golf cart out there in Maine, during the build-up to Desert Storm?

SCARBOROUGH: Tore him to shreds.

(...)

BUCHANAN: They really would rip him to shreds here, I think.

BRZEZINSKI: I think you're suffering from a very bad case of selective memory. I'm sorry.
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014