UPDATE: MSNBC responds (read below).
On Wednesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough pointed out the cover of the latest edition of Newsweek magazine, which proclaimed "Victory At Last; The Emergence of A Democratic Iraq" and featured a picture of President George W. Bush walking the deck of an aircraft carrier. However, the image of Newsweek that appeared on screen cropped out President Bush's face entirely (h/t George Miller).
The magazine cover showed Bush on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in 2003, after making his "Mission Accomplished" speech following the successful invasion of Iraq. While Newsweek cropped the picture to include half of Bush's body and face, MSNBC further cropped the image to leave only the arm of the former president visible (See original Newsweek cover below).
One of Scarborough's guests, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, reacted to Newsweek's declaration of victory in Iraq: "Too positive....For sure. We're going to take months to see a new government formed and we don't know how well the new government's going to operate....Too soon to take out the champagne, if ever." Show co-host Mika Brzezinski added: "Still a lot of controversy as to why we went in."
Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace was also on the program and pushed back against Haass's pessimism: "The point, though, was to create a democracy and I think a lot of people feel like that mission was accomplished." Haass still insisted it was "premature" to claim victory in Iraq.
Haass was actually brought on discuss his own Newsweek article about weak nations threatening global stability. In that piece, he pointed to Iraq as an example:
A principal rationale for the Iraq War was to create a model democracy that other Arab countries would be forced to emulate. Iraq has become a model, certainly, but of a different sort: it is the epitome of a weak state, one that cannot defend itself, maintain internal peace, or address many of its most pressing challenges without outside help. As such, it is a harbinger of the kind of national-security challenge the United States will confront this century.
NewsBusters' Tim Graham earlier reported on Newsweek's sudden proclamation of success in Iraq.
UPDATE: MSNBC's Lauren Skowronski contacted NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard and pointed out that on Tuesday's Morning Joe, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham was on the program to discuss the latest issue and a non-cropped image of the cover was displayed on screen. Skowronski described it as "a technical error" and an "unintentional mistake and will be corrected for future use."