TV Critic Gail Shister Compares Joe Scarborough to Chris Matthews

TVNewser's Gail Shister had some harsh words for MSNBC's Joe Scarborough Sunday.

Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, the TV critic said, "Joe Scarborough talks when he inhales. I've never seen anybody this side of Chris Matthews who interrupts as much as he does" (video follows with CNN transcript and commentary):

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are good friends, as well as colleagues on MSNBC's morning show. I've seen them off camera, and there's no question about that. But on Thursday morning, during a discussion about President Obama's cabinet, whether it was becoming something of a boys' club, Mika pushed back against Joe's argument, and things heated up from there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, CO-HOST, "MORNING JOE": I am afraid to use the word because it will not be good for you, OK, because you're being chauvinistic right now, and you need to stop.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, CO-HOST, "MORNING JOE": On, am I really? Oh!

BRZEZINSKI: All right? Because I'm sorry, this is not funny.

SCARBOROUGH: No, it's not funny. You're calling the wrong guy a chauvinist. You're calling the wrong guy a chauvinist. And seriously -- hold on -- you want to call me a chauvinist...

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH: ... right here.

BRZEZINSKI: Stop! Let me help you.

SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no, no, no, let me help you!

BRZEZINSKI: OK.

SCARBOROUGH: Do you really, knowing me and seeing me work around here for five years -- you want to call me a chauvinist on television?

BRZEZINSKI: No, I'm...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Gail Shister, was that riveting television or a little hard to watch?

GAIL SHISTER, COLUMNIST, TVNEWSER.COM: Well, I don't know about you, but my thighs were quivering. No, I don't -- I don't think it was riveting television. This drives me crazy. Joe Scarborough talks when he inhales. I've never seen anybody this side of Chris Matthews who interrupts as much as he does. And Mika sits there, since the beginning, like a school girl and makes faces and doesn't fight back.

And when she said, I have a word for you and you're not going to like it, I thought, Oh, boy, Mika's grown a pair. She's finally going to stand up to this verbal bully and finish a complete sentence. And when she says chauvinist, you would have thought she was calling the guy a pederast, that that was the best she could come up with.

Ouch. That's going to leave a mark. No conservative ever wants to be compared to Chris Matthews.

KURTZ: Well, it's a strong thing to say.

SHISTER: It's just -- the whole thing was disappointing.

KURTZ: It is called "Morning Joe," after all. He's the star of the show. And Adam, we're used to televised combat, but -- and these people work so closely together. But they both seemed really mad. They never quite lightened it up.

ADAM BUCKMAN, TV COLUMNIST, XFINITY: First of all, I found it entertaining, not that I'm, you know, sadistic or wish anybody to have a poor day at the office. But you know, it made for riveting television, and as a result, we're talking about "Morning Joe" today, and we don't talk about "Morning Joe" all that often.

To me, they came across as two co-workers who work very closely with each other every day at the office, and as we do sometimes with co-workers who we like genuinely and work closely with, we sometimes have a bad day with them. And I think that's what that was like. I think it was very relatable in that way.

I think the male/female give-and-take was relatable to a lot of viewers, and that -- what I just said before about, you know, two co- workers having a bad day together, where maybe they didn't speak for the rest of the day. I think that's relatable, too, to most people.

KURTZ: Let me come back to Gail...


SHISTER: No, see, Howie, I totally -- I totally disagree. I think that she was so restrained, I wanted to jump through the screen and just choke her and say, Man up, Mika.

BUCKMAN: Well, is she supposed to jump up...

SHISTER: You know, if that's her being really, really angry...

BUCKMAN: ... and just strangle Joe? I mean, really. I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

SHISTER: No, she's supposed to be a little more -- she's supposed to raise the decibel level a little bit, the way he does, and show her anger, instead of discussing her anger and repressing it. I think, in some ways, it was very gender-like.

KURTZ: Strangling...

SHISTER: That's the way girls express anger.

KURTZ: Strangling, I believe, is still against the law, even on television. After a break, Mika Brzezinski did come back, kind of apologized, saying she was using "chauvinist" as an adjective, she doesn't believe Joe to be a chauvinist, and they seem to have made up.

Thank you very much, Adam Buckman...

SHISTER: Oh, please!

KURTZ: ... and Gail Shister.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.