See update at bottom: Scarborough nails Shuster on Huck/Obama double-standard.
If a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, does Mike Huckabee's sweet way with a word make tolerable views that would be rejected as extreme in the mouths of others less verbally gifted?
That's Willie Geist's view of the matter. The genius of the Morning Joe panelist normally resides in his ability to avoid the controversial while remaining interesting. But the anodyne-if-endearing Geist went out of character in today's opening segment on the subject of Mike Huckabee. And he did so in a manner the former Baptist preacher might not find so fetching.
The subject was a speech Huckabee gave yesterday in which he advocated changing the Constitution to adapt to the word of God.
See updates for Huckabee, Thompson responses to this story at bottom.
Scratch Joe Scarborough from the list of those praising the performance of Fred Thompson at last night's South Carolina debate hosted by Fox News. With panelists Willie Geist and Mika Brzezinski in supporting roles, the Morning Joe host went off on Thompson today with stunning vitriol, deriding him as "Freddie boy" "pathetic," a "lapdog" and a "hatchet man" for John McCain.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Last night it was so painfully obvious that Fred Thompson went to John McCain yesterday morning [affecting deep Thompsonesque voice] "if I can stay awake through this debate, I'll attack Huckabee for you."
See Update at Foot: Matthews suggests MSM pushing Mike because he's a sure loser.
Should we call him Mike "Huck-a-unbeatable"?
As noted here, on Monday David Shuster predicted that Mike Huckabee would win the White House if matched up against Hillary Clinton. Appearing on Morning Joe today at 6:05 AM ET, the MSNBC correspondent took his optimism about Huckabee's prospects a quantum leap further, saying the former Arkansas governor would defeat any Dem opponent.
Don't confuse Mika Brzezinski with the facts. She's anti-gun and is not about to let some stunning counter-evidence change her mind.
If ever there was an illustration of how an armed citizen can make a difference, it is the case of Jeanne Assam, the brave woman who took out the killer at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. And yet . . .
On today's Morning Joe, Mika -- in newsreader mode -- dutifully reported the incident. But when Joe Scarborough sought to draw the logical inference, Mika put her anti-gun foot down.
On Tuesday's "Morning Joe," hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist skewered the morally relative, anti-American comments made by the women of "The View" on last Friday's edition of the ABC program. As reported on NewsBusters, hosts Sherri Sheppard and Whoopi Goldberg assigned blame to a British schoolteacher who was being persecuted in the Sudan for naming a teddy bear Muhammad.
After playing a clip of the discussion, Scarborough disgustedly asked, "And I do wonder why these people who are so quick to defend extremism like this-- I do wonder if they have any idea what they are talking about, about these cultures that abuse women."Geist asserted that some violent societies aren't "worth understanding." That prompted Scarborough to retort, "Or if we do understand them, we'll understand how evil they are and they'll need to be neutralized. Possibly killed. I'm sorry. That's just the way it is."
A conservative comedian [yes, there are some], appears at a venue in a heavily-white suburb at a campaign event for a white candidate and tells his audience composed overwhelmingly of people of pallor they'd be embarrassed if they supported a black candidate and the white candidate won, saying "Oh no. I can't call him now. I had that black guy. What was I thinking?"
What are the odds the MSM would laugh it off?
But when Chris Rock does the equivalent on behalf of Barack Obama, the MSM raises nary an eyebrow. Rock appeared last night at an event for Barack Obama at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater and said:
"You'd be real embarrassed if he won and you wasn't down with it. You'd say, 'aw man, I can't call him now. I had that white lady. What was I thinking?'"
The President's escalation strategy has failed. We need to stop refereeing this civil war, and start getting out now. -- Hillary Clinton, statement of August 23, 2007
As many had foreseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results. -- letter to Pres. Bush from Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, June 12, 2007
That's not a cement mixer you hear. It's the collective Dem gnashing of teeth. Things have gotten so bad -- meaning good -- in Iraq that now even the New York Times is reporting it. Have a look at Willie Geist -- sitting in for Joe Scarborough -- opening today's "Morning Joe" by holding up the paper's front page to display its headline: "Baghdad Starts to Exhale as Security Improves."
Guess I won't be calling Mika Brzezinski a "newsreader" again anytime soon. The "Morning Joe" panelist went to Iowa over the weekend and scored an in-depth interview with Michelle Obama that elicited a highly-controversial suggestion from the candidate's wife. According to Mrs. Obama, her husband isn't polling better among African-Americans because in the back of their minds, many blacks think "others" are better.
My October 20th item, "Obama: No Hand on Heart for National Anthem," focused on a "Time" photo of Barack Obama in Iowa in September at Sen. Tom Harkin's steak fry. In contrast with the other candidates, Obama was shown not placing his hand over his heart during the playing of the national anthem. A reproduction of the photo is seen here, as displayed on today's "Morning Joe." Video from November 5 "Morning Joe" (2:02):Real (1.50 MB) and Windows (1.26 MB), plus MP3 audio (952 kB).
I believe I may have been the first person in the blogosphere to discuss the story. Fox News subsequently made reference to the matter on a couple shows, but to my knowledge no other major news shows picked it up. Yet the story took on a life of its own. The item here continued to attract thousands of new readers every day [over 107,000 hits at last count], dozens of other sites picked it up, and emails began circulating that included the photo. I've received far more email about it than for any other item I've posted. Although some people have written to criticize the item, the great majority of the messages are critical of Sen. Obama. This story has clearly touched a nerve with many Americans.
Yesterday we were griping about the way NBC's "Green Week" crusade had infiltrated a perfectly good NFL football game. Today brings news that not even the presumably politics-free "Dancing With the Stars" is immune from BDS.
"Morning Joe" today twice rolled tape from last night's "Dancing with the Stars" in which Len Goodman, a Brit who is the head judge, managed to sneak in a shot at President Bush. He was speaking to a dancing pair, apparently after their performance.
Will Joe Scarborough be sent to NBC's environmentalist re-education camp and subjected to an endless loop of "An Inconvenient Truth"? The "Morning Joe" host gave a number of hints today that he is less-than-thrilled by the doctrinaire environmentalism the network is imposing on viewers and employees alike during its "Green Week."
Scarborough's show-opening line was a not-overly-subtle dig at the seemingly endless greenery.
Obama, goner? Joe Scarborough seems to think so. Here's what the MSNBC host had to say on today's "Morning Joe":
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yesterday, way too late in the afternoon, I did an hour on "Super Tuesday" [MSNBC's weekly Election 2008 special] and was interviewing A.B. Stoddard, journalist of "The Hill," and I asked her about Barack Obama, was he going to step forward? And she gave a great answer, and she said what a lot of people are not saying right now, she said, "you know what, Joe? He just doesn't have it in him."
Sure, Rosie O'Donnell's a 9-11 conspiracy nut. But she's also a big-time liberal and ardent Republican critic. That makes her our 9-11 conspiracy nut. So let's literally [see screencap] turn the page on her lunacy.
That seemed to be Mika Brzezinski's operative logic on today's "Morning Joe." During the opening 6 AM schmoozefest, talk turned to the confrontation between Rosie and an "O'Reilly Factor" staffer [identified by NewsBuster Ian Schwartz as likely being producer Jesse Watters] that recently occured at an O'Donnell book-signing. Rosie had apparently declined to return phone calls from the "Factor" inviting her on, so Bill dispatched a producer to offer the invitation in person. "Morning Joe" rolled a clip of the incident in which the "Factor" producer invited Rosie to recant her 9-11 conspiracy theory.
For a moment, let's put aside minor matters like Iraq, Iran and $1 trillion Dem tax proposals and focus on something important . . .
Appearing on today's "Morning Joe," CNBC's John Harwood made a strong defense of Rudy Giuliani's announcement that the avid Yankee fan is rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series. And by the end, he even got University of Alabama alum Joe Scarborough to admit that under certain circumstances he would root for Auburn -- the Tide's arch in-state rival. Then again, Harwood failed to persuade at least one Bronx native . . .
The issue arose in the context of Hillary's campaigning.
JOHN HARWOOD: You notice she got in a little dig about Giuliani and the whole Red Sox thing.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, I like that. Tell our viewers about that.
Sure, we know when we're being used. The folks at "Morning Joe" are well aware that if baring some liberal leg is likely to cause us to cover them, mentioning NewsBusters by name virtually guarantees that an item will follow here in short order. But if the MSNBC show wants to play the homely-if-roundheeled high school girl striving for attention, NB is happy, as the popular QB of liberal-media busting, to oblige.
And so it was that on this morning's episode, newsreader Mika Brzezinski, much like the girl at the beach who "accidentally" lets the bikini strap slip, made a transparently intentional "mistake," confusing Dick Cheney with Darth Vader. That in turn prompted host Joe Scarborough, in mock horror at Mika's exposure of too much liberal skin, to call for NewsBusters. The incident occurred during Mika's 6:11 A.M. EDT newsreading of an otherwise innocuous item.
Oh sure, sometimes they love to hate us, but one thing is clear: NewsBusters is must reading for MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
As I noted here, Scarborough and panelist Willie Geist blasted Media Matters on today's "Morning Joe" for using a "phony story" to go after Rush for his "phony soldiers" comment. Joe and Willie recognized the truth of the matter: that Rush had been speaking of one phony soldier indeed, Jesse Macbeth, and not of anti-war soldiers in general.
Later, at 8:03 A.M. EDT, in the context of the Media Matters-inspired attack on Rush, Joe and Mika made clear that they have NewsBusters on the noggin.
As Brent Baker of MRC/NB has documented, MSNBC has been among the worst MSM offenders in propagating the falsehood that Rush Limbaugh had accused all anti-war military members of being "phony soldiers."
A point of light at that same network this morning, however, as Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist combined to debunk the Media Matters allegation, accusing the organization of using a "phony story about a phony soldier" to go after Rush.
It began at 6:04 A.M. EDT today, during the "Morning Joe" opening coffee klatsch.
Joe Scarborough is still trying to wring mileage out of bashing Bill O'Reilly over his Sylvia's comments. After calling the "Factor" host a "moron" yesterday, the "Morning Joe" host was back at it today.
This could be a first: Al Sharpton criticized for being insufficiently inflammatory; faulted for not shooting from the hip.
At the opening of today's "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough panned the Rev's "O'Reilly Factor" performance last evening, in which the normally obstreperous one was relatively subdued on the subject of his host's comments on Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem. Scarborough later escalated his criticism, calling O'Reilly a "moron," and accusing him of making "racist" comments.
Figures. Who else would Mika Brzezinski's ink-stained doppelganger be but Maureen Dowd?
"Morning Joe" has apparently introduced a new feature, "Three Things to Read Today," in which each of the panelists recommends an item from that morning's newspaper crop. Willie Geist went first today, and being the pop-culture maven he is, suggested the New York Post's coverage of the sexual harrassment lawsuit that a former female New York Knicks employee has brought against coach Isiah Thomas.
Less than a half-hour after Kiran Chetry and Roland Martin speculated whether O’Reilly’s recent comments on race would be the next "Imus Moment," the cast of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" mocked the Fox News host. Co-host Mika Brzezinski put on her best Meryl Streep imitation after a clip of O’Reilly’s comments were played. "Oh, my God.... Wow... That's attractive," and also made an audible Al Gore-style sigh. Guest host Willie Geist went further. "Also, using the term 'blacks.’ I don't think anybody's said that since like 1973." Come again?
Brzezinski, Geist, and host Joe Scarborough discussed O’Reilly at the top of the 8 am Eastern hour on Tuesday’s "Morning Joe." While the cast played the O’Reilly clip for the first time, a caption spun O’Reilly’s words: "O’Reilly Shocked That Harlem Restaurant is ‘Normal’ (see above picture). The three were so "overwhelmed" by the clip that they played it again.
"I'm a Dan Man myself, so I tend to look at this from his viewpoints [sic]." -- WaPo media critic Tom Shales, on today's "Morning Joe."
It's a morning for candor on "Morning Joe." Earlier, Mika "Bubbles" Brzezinski had admitted that "the SATs were not my strong suit." Later in the show, the notoriously tough-on-conservatives [see, e.g., MRC item #3 here] Tom Shales acknowledged that he has a soft spot for Dan Rather, calling himself a "Dan Man."
I'll say. Despite the overwhelming mountain of uncontroverted and incontrovertible evidence, Shales refuses to admit the obvious: that the documents at the heart of Memogate were the most transparent [literally] and amateurish of forgeries.
Substitute anchor Willie Geist interviewed Shales at 8:30 A.M. EDT this morning.
Regular readers of this space know that MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski is one of our favorites, serving up heaps of grist for our mill with her regular injections of liberal opinion into her newsreading on "Morning Joe," as here.
We'd been searching for an apt nickname for Brzezinski, and as of this morning, Mika herself has supplied one. Meet "Bubbles" Brzezinski. Mika was reading headlines from the morning's crop of newspapers, when she came across an item from the Boston Globe.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Boston Globe: "Many colleges ignore SAT writing test." I find this very interesting because SATs were not my strong suit. I probably would never have been allowed to go to college if it was based on just my SAT scores. But apparently hundreds of universities, including several top schools, are ignoring or paying little heed to students' scores on the writing section of the SAT in admissions. I never had a writing section, just bubbles.
Just when you thought the MSM couldn't sink any lower . . .
Could there possibly be an American who doesn't admire the Reverend Billy Graham? Apparently, yes. Have a look at the cover of this week's 'Time.' Of all the ways the editors might have positioned the logo, they managed to do so in a manner in which the 'M' in 'TIME' is transformed into horns protuding from the good reverend's head.
Tucker Carlson and Willie Geist took up the matter on Tucker's MSNBC show this afternoon.
Forget Nurse Ratched. Pat Buchanan and Willie Geist have birthed a new metaphor for Hillary Clinton: the mean schoolmarm.
On "Morning Joe" today at about 6:55 A.M. EDT, the pair were discussing the way in which Clinton has cuffed Barack Obama around for his ill-considered statement that he would invade Pakistan under certain circumstances. Geist has been guest-hosting for Joe Scarborough this week. Buchanan hypothesized a situation in which the U.S. did have intelligence about OBL's location within Pakistan.
Willie Geist's genius as an observer of the political and pop-cultural scenes has been his ability to stay largely above the fray. But guest-hosting for Joe Scarborough on today's "Morning Joe," Geist let the curtain down enough to make clear his pessimism about the Iraq war and desire to have the US exit post-haste. At the same time, retired General Barry McCaffrey made no effort to hide his contempt for Barack Obama's foray into foreign policy regarding Pakistan.
Geist interviewed MSNBC commentator McCaffrey at 6:30 A.M. EDT this morning. McCaffrey at one point opined that he could envision the possibility of reconciliation between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis. Geist was not so sanguine.
MSNBC'S WILLIE GEIST: Could we possibly stay there long enough, though, to see a reconciliation between Sunni and Shia? We're talking years, possibly generations for that to change, aren't we?
Later, looking ahead to tonight's Dem debate, Geist's focus was on which candidate could extricate us from Iraq fastest.
GEIST: Which [candidate] gives you the best sense that they will help us end this war, get us out of there?
Mika Brzezinski is so outraged that people are discussing Hillary's cleavage . . . that she hopes it helps the Dem prez candidate.
The topic arose at 6:18 A.M. EDT on today's "Morning Joe." The affable Willie Geist, a frequent panelist, is serving this morning as guest host for the absent Joe Scarborough. He broached the subject.
MORNING JOE GUEST HOST WILLIE GEIST: One of the other big stories that everybody is talking about is this Hillary Clinton cleavage thing.
MORNING JOE NEWSREADER MIKA BRZEZINSKI [in an exasperated tone]: Oh my gosh.
GEIST: . . . There's a shot of it right now; that's not so bad, I've seen much worse.
BRZEZINSKI: Are you kidding me? That's a great outfit. But what annoys me is that people wrote about it and talked about it. And if has helped her in any way I guess it doesn't bother me because that was ridiculous.