Is Joe Scarborough turning on MSNBC? On Tuesday’s Morning Joe, the host mocked the “total obsession” of “the media on the left” in their coverage of Chris Christie’s bridge scandal since early January.
Naturally, however, he failed to directly call out his own network for being at the forefront of the effort to destroy Christie.
Scarborough was amused that Christie currently has a higher approval rating in New Jersey than Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) has in Maryland. He remarked, “So Chris Christie’s actually still more popular... after being hammered nonstop by people who have been obsessing in a very entertaining way over the past several months.”
Obsessing in a very entertaining way? That could be a description of several different MSNBC personalities: Rachel Maddow, Alex Wagner, and Chris Hayes, among others.
Scarborough went on to mock left-wing bloggers who are obsessed with the Christie saga. Addressing Willie Geist, who had recently returned from a few weeks in Sochi, Russia, Scarborough said, “While you were gone, every day the bloggers would be, you know, scandal, Chris Christie, eating the Cheetohs.”
The host used his hands to mimic a blogger typing on a typewriter and eating Cheetohs. He continued, “And at night, you know, just nonstop: ‘This is the worst thing ever.’”
It was refreshing mockery from a man on a network that has embodied the spirit of an obsessive liberal blogger for the duration of the Christie scandal. But of course, Scarborough never mentioned that MSNBC has its cheese-dust fingerprints all over the Bridgegate hype. Instead, he vaguely condemned “the obsession of the media on the left going after Chris Christie.”
Mika Brzezinski, the dutiful liberal, objected to the word “obsession,” but Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace pointed out that even liberal comedian Bill Maher has used that word to describe the hoopla around Christie. Wallace said, “I mean, Bill Maher, who is aligned with a lot of the places that have been focused on this story, called it an obsession.”
That was some artful wording by Wallace. She didn’t mention that Maher was referring specifically to MSNBC when he wrote in a blog post that the network was “obsessed” with Christie.
Scarborough agreed with Maher and Wallace, doubling down on his own network without saying so: “It's been a total obsession. Let's not pretend. It's been a total obsession.”
Obviously, Scarborough can’t attack his employer without suffering serious consequences. But his condemnation of “the media on the left” still seems disingenuous considering where he works.
Below is a transcript of the segment:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I thought I heard someone on the news yesterday going, like, nuts about ‘bad news for Chris Christie.’ I sat up straight. I’m like, what’s going on? Must be something new with Bridgegate, like some big, you know, elusive potentially connected thing.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So 45 percent, Martin O'Malley. So Chris Christie’s actually still more popular as a Republican in a Democratic state that went for Barack Obama by double digits after being hammered nonstop by people who have been obsessing in a very entertaining way over the past several months. He still has a higher approval rating than Martin O'Malley. And as a Wall Street Journal article pointed out this month, Connecticut's governor Dannel Malloy’s approval ratings have never been that high.
BRZEZINSKI: I like Dannel.
SCARBOROUGH: And – I like Dannel too, but Dannel’s been hammering Chris Christie nonstop. And, you know, he's at 47 percent in an old Quinnipiac poll. But isn't this interesting?
NICOLLE WALLACE: In Connecticut!
SCARBOROUGH: In Connecticut!
WALLACE: He’s not the governor of Arkansas, for Christ's sake!
SCARBOROUGH: It’s what I’m saying!
SCARBOROUGH: In Connecticut! And in Maryland –
WALLACE: Let me tell you, all you have to do to be in the 80s in Connecticut is let it rain and keep the lights on, and you could be like an 80 percent governor.
BRZEZINSKI: That’s hard to do, Nicolle.
WALLACE: I mean, if it rains and my lights stay on, I'm going to, you know, walk – knock on doors for the guy.
WALLACE: So it's not hard to be popular in Connecticut.
SCARBOROUGH: So here’s the bigger point, though. Willie, while you were gone --
BRZEZINSKI: We missed you!
SCARBOROUGH: -- it’s sort of like this old Sandra Bullock movie, While You Were –
WALLACE: While You Were Sleeping.
SCARBOROUGH: While you were gone, every day the bloggers would be, you know, scandal, Chris Christie, eating the Cheetohs. And at night –
BRZEZINSKI: There’s some bad things that came out.
SCARBOROUGH: And at night, you know, just nonstop. ‘This is the worst thing ever.’ Chris Christie’s –
WALLACE: No, but Willie didn't miss anything, Mika. I mean, that’s the point.
WILLIE GEIST: As you were going through that story, I was going to say: I left almost a month ago and I thought we were sort of on the back end of it.
SCARBOROUGH: It’s been nonstop obsession.
WALLACE: Well, nothing has happened since you left.
SCARBOROUGH: Except for the obsession of the media on the left going after Chris Christie. And he’s sitting there with higher approval ratings from his two biggest critics.
GEIST: Falling 20 points is not nothing, but if you're falling from 70, that's a pretty good place to be.
BRZEZINSKI: I take issue with ‘obsession’ because I think a story is a story is a story and you're going to cover it –
WALLACE: Yeah, but Bill Maher called it an obsession.
BRZEZINSKI: – he can get interest in this story, so I –
WALLACE: I mean, Bill Maher, who is aligned with a lot of the places that have been focused on this story, called it an obsession, so –
SCARBOROUGH: It's been a total obsession. Let's not pretend. It's been a total obsession.