As the lone conservative host on the nation's most liberal news network, Joe Scarborough is used to taking heat from folks on both sides of the political aisle.
Despite NewsBusters at times being one of his program's critics, the host of MSNBC's Morning Joe spent over an hour with us on the phone Thursday discussing his show, how the media have been covering recent events like the Republican presidential race, and finishing by offering an optimistic vision of America's future that is sorely needed at this dark time in our history (video follows with transcript):
"Memories, light the corners of my mind. Misty watercolor memories of the way we were." -- Barbra Streisand, The Way We Were
Sober political analysis, or merely an MSMer pining for the good old days of Speaker Pelosi? On Morning Joe today, touting a Politico Pelosi puff piece about her "golden touch,"Mike Allen claimed it was "very possible" that Democrats would retake the House majority in 2012. Video after the jump.
Herman Cain has been taking heat for his response to questions about Politico's story on alleged sexual harassment. But today on Morning Joe, it was Politico's own Jonathan Martin, lead author of the story, who was being evasive about the details of the allegations against Cain.
Incredibly, when Willie Geist asked him to describe specifically what Politico is accusing Cain of having done, Martin hemmed, hawed then ultimately said "we're just not going to get into the details of exactly what happened with these women," beyond the sketchy generalities in the Politico story. Video after the jump.
As reported on Thursday by Newsbusters' Mark Finkelstein, Joe Scarborough and some members of his MSNBC Morning Joe crew shot their mouths off about what Mike Barnicle described as a "police riot" at the Occupy Oakland protests before waiting for all the facts. And now it appears that the Morning Joe folks have shot themselves in the foot as well since reports from the scene show that it was the police who were clearly provoked by the Occupy Oakland demonstrators.
So were these reports from the usual "rightwing" suspects? Nope. The reports confirming the provocations from the demonstrators came from the leftwing Mother Jones magazine and were supported by the very liberal San Francisco Chronicle. Here is the initial report from the scene by James West of Mother Jones:
Today, some members of the Morning Joe panel piously preached the importance of not jumping to conclusions regarding the clash between "Occupy" demonstrators and police in Oakland, California that left one man seriously injured.
But that didn't prevent Mike Barnicle from describing the event as a "police riot" or Joe Scarborough from speaking of police "brutality." H/t NB reader Ray R. Interestingly, Mika Brzezinski was the voice of reason, declining to condemn the police, saying she'd "hold back" and "wait"--presumably to get all the facts. Video after the jump.
While their colleagues at MSNBC spend hours of airtime mercilessly bashing Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, the folks on Morning Joe took a different position Wednesday.
Much to the surprise of this author, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist claimed that if Cain were a Democrat, the media would be "swooning over" him just like they did Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Barely a week ago, we noted that the Morning Joe crew was blowing off the Solyndra scandal. "There's no there, there," they sniffed. But facts are pesky things. A devastating email, which Mika Brzezinski read on the air today, has turned up, indicating that top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett was warned about Solyndra's possibly impending bankruptcy before PBO made his photo-op visit to the company. That compelled Joe Scarborough & Co. to acknowledge that the Solyndra story has legs.
Perhaps even more significant was a clip Morning Joe played of President Obama defending his administration's decision to fund the soon-to-go-belly-up solar panel maker. In stating his case, Obama revealed his fundamentally socialist mind-set. According to the prez, unless the government funds something, it's not going to happen. Video after the jump.
Mika Brzezinski gave quite a cold shoulder to author Ron Suskind Tuesday whose new book "Confidence Men" paints an unflattering picture of the Obama White House.
Doing her best Clarence Darrow, Brzezinski grilled her "Morning Joe" guest leading Joe Scarborough to smartly observe, "She didn't cross-examine Ron when he wrote books about Bush like this" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Want incisive news analysis and perspicacious probing of the people and events of the day? Then Mike Barnicle is your man—not.
On today's Morning Joe, reacting to Jon Huntsman's criticism of Republicans who reputedly reject science, the former Boston Globe columnist inanely asked former RNC Chairman Michael Steele: "what percentage of Republican delegates who go to the convention do you figure are total nutcases?" Video after the jump.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Tuesday mourned the "absolutely dreadful" behavior of journalists and politicians who have compared Tea Party Republicans to "terrorists," among other things. But as NewsBusters previously reported, the "Morning Joe" co-host repeatedly ignored such transgressions when they occurred on his own show.
The following post was based on a misunderstanding of the conversation described. Please see our retraction here.
Tuesday's Morning Joe treated the conviction of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich as a relatively minor affair, and gave it little to no coverage save a brief discussion about the supposed injustice of the process. "It's any other day and that's any other news story," said Mika Brzezinski, who appeared annoyed at being asked to cover the story at all. Later, she insisted "We're not going to waste the first block on this."
Jessica Alba received an overwhelmingly positive reception on "Morning Joe" today while lobbying for legislation that would give the EPA broad-sweeping powers to regulate chemicals in consumer products.
Despite her cheerful demeanor, the Hollywood starlet made a spate of damning claims against the chemical industry that she failed to substantiate, while the MSNBC panel nodded in approval.
While the morning show hosts on NBC and CBS showcased the looming political threat of high gas prices for Barack Obama, ABC, Friday, simply repeated White House talking points and explained how the President will try and blame Republicans.
Reporter Bianna Golodryga noted that Obama "wasted no time" in going after the GOP. She parroted, "During his speech in Reno, President Obama argued that budget cuts proposed by Republicans would keep the country from making critical investments in new alternative technologies that could wean our dependence on foreign oil."
Golodryga offered no hint of political danger for the President, instead highlighting his claim to expose "speculators." She touted, "President Obama told a crowd here he's going to go after anybody who gouges." CBS, on the other hand, painted a different picture.
Many here at home may have criticized President Obama's speech last night on Libya. But abroad, there was at least one man who dug PBO's remarks: Muammar Gaddafi . . .
That was the educated estimation of NBC's Jim Maceda, reporting from Libya on Morning Joe today. It was PBO's failure to call for regime change that would have buoyed Gaddafi, says Maceda. He reported that regime officials are acting much more "bellicose" and "defiant" in the wake of the president's speech.
Of all the Obama sycophants in the press, could the president possibly have a more abject apologist than Jonathan Alter?
The MNSBC analyst gave a groveling demonstration of his devotion in an interview with Willie Geist, guest-hosting on The Daily Rundown this morning. Beyond the predictable swipes at W, notable was the essential incoherence of Alter's defense of PBO's foreign policy. At one point, as you'll see, Alter contradicts himself in the very same breath.
Meanwhile, Geist, best known as the amiable host of Way Too Early and sidekick on Morning Joe, showed that he has a serious side, putting Alter on the spot with a couple incisive observations.
All you need to know about why people on the right were dissatisfied with Kathleen Parker as the supposedly conservative counterweight to Eliot Spitzer on the pair's recently-canned CNN show was crystallized on Morning Joe today. The panel unleashed an absolute gush-a-thon over Parker, Mika Brzezinski declaring her "one of my favorite people" and Willie Geist describing her as "a great writer."
For good measure, the MSNBC folks delighted in dumping on rival CNN. Mike Barnicle took top trash-talking honors, claiming Parker had been "brutalized" at the network.
That was the image in Joe Scarborough's mind this morning. The Morning Joe host repeatedly made the point that whereas Dems continue to control the White House and massive congressional majorities, they now are looking at the Bush tax cuts, which for years they vilified, as their last best hope.
When it comes to Republican and Dem support for the tax cut deal, Joe—concerned about the $1 trillion being added to the deficit—has been in pox-on-both-their-houses mode. He seems to side with opponents of the bill including Jim DeMint, Rand Paul. . . and even Bernie Sanders. But Scarborough took particular delight today in skewering the Dems. As he put it, they are still in charge, and thus "own" the bill. Summed up Scarborough: "George Bush has won."
Sometimes the bias is extremely clear: A MSNBC graphic on Monday mocked GOP senatorial candidates with the headline, "American Freakshow [sic] Angle, Paul, O'Donnell: New Faces in Politics." American Freak Show is also the title of guest Willie Geist's new book on politics, but all the apparent "freaks" discussed in the piece were Republicans.
Geist complained to Jansing and Co. host Chris Jansing, "The frustration about this is, you have to hand in a book so early that all these people have come out of nowhere. They sprout up like weeds. Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, Linda McMahon." [MP3 audio here. Click on article for video.]
NBC's Willie Geist, substitute hosting for Matt Lauer on Friday's Today show, invited on CNBC's Maria Bartiromo to talk about the new jobs report and the two had a startling message for those in its audience who may be unemployed right now - just get "used to it." Geist, citing the liberal economist Joseph Stiglitz, asked the CNBC anchor if "higher unemployment may just be the new normal in this country. Do you agree with that? We just have to get used to this?" Bartiromo, eschewing any sort of American "can do" optimism, actually agreed as she responded: "Well I definitely think we are in a new normal. I think you have to have expectations of much lower growth levels in the United States, relative to the rest of the world." Bartiromo added that business aren't likely to hire in 2011 because they are expecting higher health care expenses, expecting higher taxes" but didn't blame Obama administration policies for those fears.
MSNBC’s Morning Joe seemed to be trying very hard to avoid the Discovery Channel hostage incident on Thursday morning -- even though NBC had the exclusive of speaking with hostage-taker James Jay Lee before he was shot. With Willie Geist and Chris Jansing guest-hosting the show, they talked a lot about Middle East peace negotiations, and Hurricane Earl, and sinking Democratic midterm prospects, and even anonymously sourced hit jobs against alleged serial liar Sarah Palin in Vanity Fair. In the whole three hours, they never blabbed with guests about James Lee’s inspirational figures or his ultra-left website weirdness.
The subject only came up about six minutes into the 6 am hour, before a Tom Costello news report. Jansing relayed: “Disturbing details are emerging about that gunman who was shot and killed yesterday after holding three people hostage at the Discovery Channel’s headquarters in Maryland. Court records show the 43-year-old, identified as James Jay Lee, was a radical environmentalist who said he experienced quote, 'an awakening' when he watched former Vice President Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth. In a manifesto Lee wrote, he also railed against shows like Kate Plus Eight for encouraging the birth rate [of] quote, “parasitic human infants.”
At 7:30, after another airing of the Costello report, Geist and Jansing talked to NBC News producer Rob Rivas, but even as Rivas vaguely mentioned the Lee manifesto, the hosts stepped right around any loose talk about Lee’s eco-inspirations:
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.
More in sorrow than in anger, I'm about to record a personal blogging first: airing a gripe about Willie Geist. When writing of the Morning Joe sidekick, my habit is to append adjectives such as "affable." Willie is indeed a likable guy, patently comfortable in his own skin. And while I don't suspect him of being a closet conservative, neither is he anything of a raging liberal, typically striking a regular-guy's middle ground on most issues.
All of which makes his comment of today that much more surprising—and regrettable. Geist was commenting on an ad by an anti-Ground Zero mosque group to be displayed on NYC buses, which shows a plane flying into one of the WTC towers. Although defending the anti-mosque group's rights, Willieopined that it's "always in bad taste to show the plane flying into the building." Really?
The ad was illuminating for another, chilling, reason . . .
Striking a blow for her sex, Mika Brzezinski today claimed that the Wall Street meltdown "simply would not have happened" if more women had been in charge.
The Morning Joe co-host was reacting to news that the Dems managed to slip into the recently enacted financial regulation bill a provision--authored by Rep. Maxine Waters--that would create "at least 20 new Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion" with the power to kill government contracts with financial firms not meeting new "diversity standards."
Tina Brown seconded her sister's sentiment, blaming the financial industry's woes on "all this phallic obsession."
What's good for Wall Street is presumably good for Washington, too. Mika Brzezinski--founder of Feminists For Palin, perhaps?
Jonathan Capehart is the early frontrunner to win my Obama Parrot of the Week, the dubious award I hand out on my local TV show to the media member most wantonly toeing the White House line.
On today's Morning Joe, the Washington Post editorialist, trying to suggest the White House was not involved in the firing of Shirley Sherrod, offered a strained theory of how Sherrod misunderstood what she was being told by a USDA official about the White House wanting her gone.
But when Willie Geist asked the obvious question, Capehart's house of cards largely crumbled, forcing Jonathan to beat a hasty tactical retreat. It's actually quite amusing: do check out the video.
The morning programs of the Big Three networks all sang the praises of CNN host Larry King after he announced on Tuesday his upcoming retirement from his program, while overlooking his liberal bent at times. Both Willie Geist on NBC's Today show and CBS's Harry Smith labeled King "legendary," while ABC's George Stephanopoulos heralded how he was "on top of his game" for most of his career.
NBC correspondent Peter Alexander reused Geist's "legendary" label, and chronicled the CNN personality's "perch in prime time" during his 25 years on his Larry King Live program, spotlighting how he "has interviewed nearly 50,000 people over more than 50 years in broadcasting." Alexander underlined this with clips from King's interviews of Frank Sinatra, Ross Perot, and Paris Hilton, noting that "if you wanted the country to listen, you sat down with Larry King." The correspondent also included a clip from Ken Baker of E! News, who stated that "whoever is going to replace Larry King has obviously very big shoes to fill."
Guess Mike could always get a gig with the Vienna Boys Choir . . .
If MSNBC libs like Olbermann and Matthews were surprisingly critical of Pres. Obama's speech last night, PBO can apparently count on one defender at the network: Mika Brzezinski.
So fiercely did Brzezinski go after Mike Barnicle on Morning Joe today for his criticism of the speech, that the panel agreed poor Mike had been "emasculated." Joe Scarborough took it a graphic step further, saying Mika had "castrated" the former Boston Globe columnist.
Has Pres. Obama's ass-kickin' line given license to MSM members to offer cruder commentary? Could be, judging from Mika Brzezinski's Morning Joe performance today, in which she suggested that House Republican leader John Boehner should "just bend over."
Mika normally plays the role of Morning Joe hall monitor, keeping the rambunctious trio of Joe Scarborough, Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist in line. But with Joe away today, it was Mika who indulged in some off-color imagery. Prompting Mika's remark was a clip of Boehner wondering why Pres. Obama isn't looking for someone's "ass to kick" on the subject of unrestrained federal spending.