Although yours truly emphatically does not approve of the stunt, I have to acknowledge that whoever pranked MSNBC's "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist Friday by pretending to be Team USA hockey goalie Ryan Miller (pictured at right) did the nation two small favors:
First, he embarrassed a network that seems incapable of being embarrassed by much of what its hosts and guests say on a daily basis.
Second, he kept Chris Matthews off the air for a precious few minutes, as Geist interrupted "Hardball" to conduct a brief make-up interview with the real Ryan Miller.
Chris Ariens has a brief story about the incident and Geist's real Miller time at Media Bistro's TV Newser site:
There was an embarrassing turn of events in Vancouver tonight.
Shortly after 8:00 a.m. on Monday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, noting that it was Presidents Day, host Joe Scarborough asked the day’s panel members who was their favorite President. After the first two guests named Abraham Lincoln, to which co-host Mika Brzezinski agreed, she then announced her admiration for Jimmy Carter’s post-presidential activities calling him her "favorite former President." She went on to call him the "best former President we’ve ever had," prompting Scarborough to quip, "You should be paid."
After Willie Geist poked fun at Brzezinski by declaring that Jimmy Carter was the best President because of "his bravery against that killer rabbit in Plains, Georgia," Brzezinski sulked: "Stop mocking him."
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, February 15, Morning Joe on MSNBC:
"These bank bonuses, I would say, are a sin of Biblical proportions," Wallis said. "But to pick on the banks alone misses the point. It's a symptom, I think of a real erosion of societal values because new maxims have taken us over - ‘greed is good,' ‘it's all about me and I want it now.'"
Overcompensation: (psychiatry) an attempt to overcome a real or imagined defect or unwanted trait by overly exaggerating its opposite.
Today brings a prime example of the phenomenon in the person of Brian Williams, overcompensating for his image as a pampered straight arrow by joking about having a vast staff of servants, looking forward to the prospect of watching some nude male swimming, and, yes, doing meth to get going in the morning.
Here’s a shocking statement about the behavior of the White House Press Corps at the Correspondent’s Dinner: “What I saw the other night was like a bunch of teenage girls waiting for a Bay City Rollers concert, ready to scream at their the top of their lungs.”
The content of this statement is not nearly so shocking, however, as who said it – a member of the media, one Joe Scarborough of MSNBC. That’s right, a member of the media is actually talking about media bias. And even more bewildering, he wasn’t the only one. Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, agreed:
BRZEZINSKI: I definitely agree with you, I saw that there, Joe, and even the people running the behind the scenes trying to figure out what shots to put on the air, were like, ooh look at Michelle Obama, she looks so good. Go to him, go to him! What? [...] They were in love. It was weird.
The Fox News Channel has another huge hit on its hands with "The Glenn Beck Show," and the media can't stand it.
As news of Beck's success spreads, his competitors -- especially the liberal wannabes -- are foaming at the mouth.
A fine example occurred on Tuesday's "Morning Joe" when co-host Willie Geist showed a video clip of Beck getting emotional during his monologues which evoked nothing but disgust from fellow co-host Mika Brzezinski and the Daily Beast's Tina Brown.
Even co-host Joe Scarborough couldn't hold back the laughter (video below the fold courtesy our friend Ms Underestimated with transcribed lowlights, file photo):
My therapist told me to take two shots at Chris Matthews and call him in the morning . . .
Mike Barnicle is back to looking down his nose at bloggers. After Mika Brzezinski claimed on today's Morning Joe that "blogging isn't journalism," the former Boston Globe columnist declared that "95%, 99% of blogging isn't journalism. It's therapy for the blogger."
The predicate was a provocative one. Willie Geist read from an Esquire interview of Sarah Palin in which she said that—long after the issue had been put to rest—the Anchorage Daily News called her—based on allegations in blogs—to ask whether she was indeed the mother of Trig, her youngest child. Palin took that as evidence of continuing problems in the world of "journalism," prompting Mika and Mike to go off on us members of the pajamahadeen.
Rick Warren had a surprisingly candid response to Ann Curry's question as to whether he would change his views on homosexuality if it were established that people are born gay. The pastor of the Saddleback Church, explaining why such a finding wouldn't cause him to change his position, observed that he is inclined to want to have sex with every beautiful woman he sees, but that that doesn't make it right.
Curry interviewed Warren for a Dateline segment that will be aired tonight on NBC. As noteworthy as Warren's candor was Curry's ostentatious display of righteous liberal anger, captured in the screengrab, while asking Warren whether he is homophobic.
It's said that to work, humor must contain a kernel of truth. No wonder David Letterman's effort to wring humor out of the shoe-throwing incident fell so flat. The Late Show host joked that Muntadhar al-Zeidi had been offered a show on . . . Fox News. Letterman was playing off the report that al-Zeidi is reported to be hot-tempered and possess poor journalistic skills.
How lame was Letterman? After airing the "joke" on Morning Joe today, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist gave it a double thumbs-down.
Why does Sarah Palin continue to receive so much media coverage? Peggy Noonan has a theory. The Wall Street Journal columnist believes the MSM is up to what she considers "mischief": attempting to make Sarah Palin the face of the Republican party.
Noonan propounded her premise during an appearance today on Morning Joe.
Amidst all the sanctimonious do-gooderism and global-warming alarmism that is NBC/Universal's "Green Week," it's good to see that at least one network minion has managed to maintain his sense of humor.
Morning Joe's Willie Geist became something of a sensation with his spoof electioneering for John McCain on the sidewalks of Manhattan's ultra-blue Upper West Side. In that same spirit, Willie ventured onto the streets of midtown yesterday, asking folks how they were celebrating Green Week, and posing provocative questions. Sample: "Do you think global warming is kinda hogwash? I mean, look how cold it is today." He got some amusing answers and met some colorful characters, including one dazed and confused fellow who turned out to be none other than Mike Barnicle.
Breaking down the front door of a suspected al-Qaeda stronghold in Fallujah took great courage. But even that fearless feat pales in comparison to the dangerous mission that Willie Geist undertook. The intrepid member of the Morning Joe crew ventured out onto the sidewalks of Manhattan's Upper West Side wearing . . . a McCain-Palin T-shirt, trying to drum up support for the Republican ticket. (h/t readers BondPlainBond and Steve.)
As Willie explained, it was all a good-natured goof. But the West Siders for the most part lived up to their stereotype of, as Willie described it, "a monolithic block of elitists," scorning Geist for his gall.
Between 6 a.m. and 12 noon on Monday, MSNBC featured six segments which replayed bits from Tina Fey's Saturday Night Live parody of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's performance in Thursday's debate. The SNL parody of Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden was only played twice, and both times were during Morning Joe.
This continues a trend that was also seen last Monday morning when MSNBC replayed Tina Fey's parody of Palin's interview with Katie Couric seven times while avoiding Saturday Night Live's parody of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Along with the free airtime given to Fey's impersonation of Palin came some commentary by the various hosts of both Morning Joe and MSNBC News Live. First, Willie Geist commented that, "Sometimes you watch [Tina Fey] and forget what Sarah Palin actually looks like. She's so dead on."
H/t Doug T. It was all in good fun, but the Morning Joe gang staged a bit of business today suggesting there's something a mite stronger than half-and-half in Mika Brzezinski's cup of, well, morning joe.
After signing off with NBC reporter Tom Costello, Joe Scarborough made much of Mika's absence from the set. Cut to a shot of Brzezinski at the coffee counter, where she is seen . . . emptying a blue mini-bottle into her coffee mug. Mika accommodatingly turns the bottle toward the camera so that all can see it is . . . Skyy vodka.
With the vice presidential debate only a few days away, MSNBC gave a lot of attention on Monday to what Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin are doing to prepare for their one and only debate. Along with this, MSNBC also gave a lot of airtime to Tina Fey's "Saturday Night Live" parody of Palin's interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, showing clips of the skit seven times between 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. However, only Morning Joe featured "Saturday Night Live's" parody of Senator Barack Obama, and even then the focus was on the portion of the skit which parodied Senator John McCain's "gimmicks."
Of the seven times that MSNBC showed clips from Tina Fey's Palin impersonation, many of them lead into discussion about Palin's lack of foreign policy expertise and comments about how Fey's impersonation could lead to negative effects for McCain's campaign.
"Shovel your ratings" appears to be Morning Joe's subliminal message to Keith Olbermann today. With the latest ratings showing Rachel Maddow's new MSNBC show beating Olbermann's Countdown, the MJ panel went out of its way to congratulate Maddow on her success, repeatedly mentioning what a "good person" she is and how nice it is to see such people do well.
The crew was riffing off the Drudge headline "Move Over, Olbermann, Rachel Maddow Tops MSNBC Ratings." As seen in the Drudge screencap [after the jump], on Tuesday Maddow beat Olbermann--the perennial MSNBC ratings leader--by a count of 1.8 million to 1.63 million. She also bested CNN's Larry King, among others. Scarborough & Co. never mentioned Olbermann by name. But the invidious-comparison-by-omission in their pointed praise of Maddow's good-personhood left little doubt that the wounds opened by Olbermann's open-mic slap at Scarborough, in which, during the Dem convention, he told Joe to "get a shovel" for remarks too GOP-friendly for Keith's liking, have yet to heal.
View the video, and be sure to stay tuned to the end. Mika tries to move the show along, but Scarborough pointedly persists, basking in the times when "good people do well." Got, it, Keith?
Decimate: 1. to destroy a great number or proportion of: the population was decimated by a plague. 2. to select by lot and kill every tenth person of.
Is that the definition of the post-partisan politics Barack Obama claims to be preaching? You know, the kind where there's no blue-state America or red-state America: just the United States of America? Maybe Chevy Chase didn't get the email. Appearing on Morning Joe today, Chase expressed his disappointment that Tina Fey didn't go after Sarah Palin harder in her SNL impersonation. Chase wanted to see Fey "decimate" the Republican VP candidate.
Chase was appearing to tout a charity auction he and wife Jayni are conducting to fund environmental education in the schools. See Bonus Coverage for a disturbing factoid Jayni let slip. Chase's call for blood came in response to Willie Geist's very first question.
Thanks to Sarah Palin, the culture war has become a civil war—on the left. Mika Brzezinski bravely opened a new front in the conflict during today's "Morning Joe," repeatedly going after two female MSMers for suggesting Palin is taking the working-mom thing too far.
And, mirabile dictu, Mika even admitted to sensing MSM unfairness to Republicans.
"This is an argument Joe and I have about fairness and whether or not there are some sort of underlying unfairness when it comes to Republicans. And I just, you know, I feel it here," Brzezinski said referring to a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Full text and commentary after the jump. View video here.
Keith Olbermann has forgotten the figure-skating judge's cardinal rule: be sparing in the marks you award early contestants, to leave room for the favorites who perform at the end. After his gushing appraisals of Michelle Obama's and Hillary's convention speeches, how can Olbermann possibly top it in his praise of Biden's and Obama's to come?
Mixing metaphors here, let's compare the baseball scoring the Morning Joe crew gave Hillary's speech at show-opening today with Olbermann's assessment of last night. As you'll see, they range from solid single to Keith's grand slam. As for utility infielder Mark Warner's "keynote": has he considered giving up baseball and taking up knitting?
Could the NBC honchos be a tad touchy about criticism of the Beijing Olympics—especially when it comes from its own talent pool? Was there a kernel of truth in Mika Brzezinski's light-hearted warning that MSNBC's Morning Joe crew would "get a call" if it persisted in its mocking of the games for whose broadcast rights the Peacock Network has over the years paid billions?
When the subject of the Olympics arose during the opening segment of today's show, the panel went into an extended coughing fit, coupled with cracks about tanks in Tiananmen Square. Mika joined in the joshing for a while, before finally putting her foot down . . .
Sure, the elite media might overwhelmingly support Barack Obama. But so what? That's apparently Mika Brzezinski's opinion. Check out the exchange between Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe today at 7:50 AM EDT, triggered by Scarborough's insider take on the MSM's adulation of Obama.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: OK, Willie, come on. We've got to call these people out. Because we know people that work in the media, print. I mean seriously, they are, Tucker had it right: they're like ninth-grade girls.
. . .
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I actually, really reject this love affair notion.
SCARBOROUGH: Come on.
BRZEZINSKI: What? I do.
SCARBOROUGH: Because you are absolutely drunk on the Kool-Aid.
Many McCain fans are no doubt bracing for the waves of European adulation that are about to break over Barack Obama, the MSM avidly reporting the scenes. With polls showing Obama with a 50+ percentage-point lead across the Old Continent [the French leading the Obamaphile way at 64-4%], the Dem candidate is assured of ecstatic crowds wherever he goes. Euro-Obamamania begins in Berlin today, with a speech by the candidate at the "Victory Column" in Tiergarten park.
But could all the adoration backfire? That emerging theme has found expression in two very different ways this morning. On the one hand, a scholarly exposition by Prof. Thomas Madden, writing at NRO—who draws parallels to the world of ancient Greco-Roman politics—and in more colloquial fashion by Joe Scarborough.
Here's how the Morning Joe host put it today at 6:34 AM EDT, in an exchange with Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist. Republican strategist Mike Murphy got in a good line at the very end.
Me and Mrs. Jones, we've got a thing going on. We both know that it's wrong, but it's much too strong to let it go now. -- Billy Paul, "Me and Mrs. Jones"
Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting there's anything untoward between Mika Brzezinski and the Dem presidential candidate. But like the star-crossed couple of the song, the two do share a tragic bond, trapped as they are in an inability to admit they were wrong in opposing the surge.
The depths of Obama's denial emerged during a five-minute segment of his recent interview with Katie Couric. Couric tried repeatedly to pin Obama down on why he says he still would have opposed the surge, even knowing as he does know that it has succeeded. As Couric put it: "People may be scratching their heads and saying, 'Why?'" I'd encourage people to view the exchange, which comes at the five-minute mark of the interview. CBS video and transcript here.
And there on today's Morning Joe was the other half of the duo in denial, Mika Brzezinski. With Joe Scarborough playing the role of Couric-like inquisitor, Mika tried to talk about anything but the way Obama was wrong about the surge.
The things people will do for love. Take David Shuster. So eager is the Obama inamorato to cover for his man, he's willing to sacrifice all semblance of reason. Faced with the implacable fact that Obama was wrong in opposing the surge, Shuster has been reduced to claiming that Americans don't care about the surge's success. Shuster made his descent into abject sycophancy on today's Morning Joe. The jumping off point was a clip from an interview of Obama by ABC's Terry Moran [Brent Baker has the full report on the interview here].
TERRY MORAN: If you had to do it over again, knowing what you know now, would you support the surge?
OBAMA: No, because, keep in mind that-
MORAN: You wouldn't?
OBAMA: Well, no, keep in mind, these kinds of hypotheticals are very difficult. You know, hindsight is 20/20. But I think that, what I am absolutely convinced of is that at that time, we had to change the political debate because the view of the Bush administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with.
After a clip was aired of McCain hammering Obama on his opposition to the surge, Shuster slipped on the flippers and goggles.
Just when I thought Obama lovin' was regulated to the political commentators and reporters at MSNBC, I was sadly mistaken. Even entertainment reporters need to show their support! June Sarpong, took some time on her appearance on "Morning Joe" today to gush about Obama's upcoming stops in Europe and talk about America losing its standing with the international community.
Sarpong was on the show to talk about the movie "Dark Night" setting box office records but who cares about movie records when we have Sen. Obama running for office! Since she's British, interviewer Willie Geist couldn't help but ask her how Obama's perceived in the U.K. Her response was a glowing endorsement of the Illinois senator. (Video below page break)
Andrea Mitchell depicts Wesley Clark's cracks about John McCain's heroism as a gaffe. Bloopers that will cost him any chance of being picked for the Obama veep slot. But surely the seasoned MSM hand knows better than to imagine that Clark was freelancing. Clark's were anything but impromptu remarks, made, say, late at night to a foreign reporter in a hotel cocktail lounge in some far-flung land. To the contrary, Clark took his shots in the brightest of limelights—those of a Sunday morning talk show—speaking with the venerable Bob Schieffer. Clark was explicitly there as an Obama campaign surrogate.
Moreover, Clark had made similar comments before, as a guest on Morning Joe earlier this month [YouTube of earlier appearance]. So the Obama campaign was well aware of his views. If it had any qualms about him expressing them, surely he would have been warned off. Thus, far from representing a gaffe, Clark's comments must be seen as reflecting Barack Obama's calculated strategy—and that is precisely how the McCain campaign has interpreted them.
So why would Andrea Mitchell turn up on Morning Joe today lambasting Clark for his "stupid" and "dumb" remarks? You don't suppose she was trying to inoculate Obama, give him cover, some plausible deniability, so that the remarks get the maximum attention without Obama's fingerprints being seen on them?
See Bonus Video at foot: Mika Victimized by Retching Rover!
In polite liberal circles, Ralph Nader's suggestion that Barack Obama "wants to talk white" and avoid appearing like another Jesse Jackson is infra dig. Take, for example, Joan Walsh's reaction on yesterday's Hardball. Said the editor of Salon.com:
I don't think that racism is too strong a word for what he said.
Added NY Times columnist Bob Herbert:
It's a lousy, reprehensible comment.
But as uncomfortable as Nader's statement might make some people, could there be a kernel of truth to it? Joe Scarborough seems to think so. And even Prof. Michael Dyson—Obama fan and commentator on matters racial—seemed to acknowledge that "ghetto-speak" would hurt Barack, going so far as to imitate the kind of street accent that could damage the candidate's campaign.
Mike Barnicle has some campaign advice for John McCain: don't say anything about Obama's questionable connections. The former Boston Globe columnist, with a heartfelt second from Mika Brzezinski, wants the world to know that he's heard enough about Reverends Wright and Pfleger, not to mention Bill Ayers, and thinks McCain would "win a few points" for staying away from all that stuff and concentrating on the important issues facing Americans—like better batteries.
Barnicle made his suggestion on today's Morning Joe in commenting on an audio clip of Obama warning a crowd this past Friday that the Republicans will, among other misdemeanors, play the race card against him and accuse him of having a "feisty wife."
It's rare to hear an MSM figure flatly suggest that a presidential campaign lied, but Joe Scarborough broke out the the l-word today in wondering whether chief Obama strategist David Axelrod did just that when he emphatically denied, on yesterday's show, that there is a concerted "makeover" of Michelle Obama in the works.
Now her husband’s presidential campaign is giving her image a subtle makeover, with a new speech in the works to emphasize her humble roots and a tough new chief of staff. On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama will do a guest turn on “The View,” the daytime talk show on ABC, with an eye toward softening her reputation.
When Axelrod appeared on Morning Joe yesterday at 7:40 AM EDT, Scarborough quizzed him about the matter [dialogue as per closed-caption transcript]. The senior Obama aide's denial of a makeover plan couldn't have been more categorical: