Morning Joe


MSNBC Screen Capture


Morning Joe’s namesake is a very busy and important man who can’t be bothered to get things right the first time

Last week, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough went on TV and said something false. Reacting to the inflammatory (and often dubious) allegations in Peter Schweizer’s new book, Clinton Cash, Scarborough posited that the government of Algeria made donations to the Clinton Foundation as a way to buy its way off the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. “The Clinton Foundation takes the check, and then just, out of nowhere the State Department then decides, well, they are going to take Algeria off the list,” Scarborough said. As Politifact and (my former employer) Media Matters pointed out, such an arrangement would have been impossible, given that Algeria has never been on the State Department’s list of terrorism sponsors.

So Scarborough was wrong. And today on Morning Joe, he offered a sneering, sarcastic “apology” to Politifact for having the temerity to point out how wrong he was.

I’m struggling to recall an instance in which a pundit has so self-indulgently wallowed in his own arrogance and sense of entitlement. Everyone gets something wrong every now and then, and the proper thing to do when those things happen is to correct the record, apologize, and move on. For Scarborough, though, the act of correction is an assault on the misbegotten pride he feels in hosting a low-rated and unwatchable morning news program.

First things first: Joe Scarborough seems to believe that because he puts on an “ad-libbed” show that lasts many hours, he enjoys some leeway when it comes to just making shit up. “Last week, in the course of this three-hour, ad-libbed show, I suggested Algeria may have been giving unreported donations to the Clinton Foundation in an effort to change their status on the State Department’s terror list.” Here’s a thought: maybe put a little more planning into what you say on cable news every day. “I do a long show that I put little to no forethought into” is not a justification for getting things wrong: it’s an admission that your show’s format is bad and should be changed to minimize these sorts of errors.

Scarborough also faulted Politifact for not noting that before he launched into this made-up nonsense about Algeria, he offered a disclaimer that he didn’t know what he was talking about. “Now, never mind that I prefaced my statement by saying that all the specifics may not be perfectly lined up. These are the realities, after all, of all of us doing a three-hour rolling conversation without teleprompters or scripts, the very things that every other news show in America is chained to but we aren’t. But still I prefaced my remark, but that prefaced remark mattered little to the Clinton arm of Politifact.” Yes, how dare Politifact not do Joe Scarborough the courtesy of highlighting his admission that he was talking out his ass.

Having begged off any sort of responsibility for the things he says on his own program, Scarborough then lashed out at Politifact, claiming that they were just picking nits (which, of course, absolves Scarborough from any blame).


SCARBOROUGH: So Politifact, let me get this straight. The Clinton Foundation was taking the money, hold on, not to get off the terror list. They were throwing them money at the same time they wanted to the State Department to get them off a list for their gross human rights abuses towards women. I hope I’ve cleared that up. Because I’ve got more. Have I cleared that part up? Because I don’t want to get it wrong! And any time Politifact calls me out on a footnote, I promise I’m going to come out here and let you know that instead of talking about the Clinton Foundation getting money to possibly get Algeria off the terror list, it would possibly be to whitewash gross human rights violations against women. I’m glad I got that off my chest.

Politifact actually noted all of that in their correction of Scarborough – they had a whole section of the fact-check headlined “Human rights violations hamper relations.” But this isn’t a dispute over a “footnote,” as Scarborough’s weaselly, sarcastic rebuttal put it. Inclusion on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror is not a small thing. Once the U.S. government identifies a country as a sponsor of terrorism, they’re immediately subject to a whole host of economic sanctions. If, as Scarborough had posited, the Clinton Foundation had been part of a quid pro quo scheme to let Algeria buy its way off that list and out of those sanctions, that would have been a massive scandal.

But whatever, Scarborough was just “ad-libbing,” so it’s no big deal. It’s not Joe Scarborough’s responsibility to be right the first time; it’s Politifact’s responsibility to cut him as much slack as he needs because “Morning Joe” isn’t about facts, it’s about “conversation.”

And that leads to the most important question: why does “Morning Joe” still exist? Scarborough is clearly very proud of the ad-libbed, thrown-together format that permits him and his pundit pals to make stuff up in a consequence-free environment, but nobody actually watches the show. Its ratings are abysmal, and yet it soldiers on as a monument to Joe Scarborough’s insufferable arrogance.


Abdul-Jabbar: ‘Islamic State’ Is As Islamic As The KKK Is Christian (VIDEO)


That is one analogy I can agree with.  Definitely spot-on…

TPM LiveWire

“You can make parallels to things that have happened here in America,” Abdul-Jabbar said of ISIL to co-host Joe Scarborough. “Like the Ku Klux Klan saying they are the Christian knights of the Ku Klux Klan.”

“They do not practice Christianity,” he added.

Abdul-Jabbar then brought up the Crusaders, specifically Christian warriors of the First Crusade in the eleventh century.

“The first people that they sacked were Jews living in Europe,” he said. “They devastated them, took all their wealth, and kept on their way to the Holy Land.”

Co-host Mika Brzezinski changed the subject to Abdul-Jabbar’s new book.

The President made similar remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 5,
saying that, “during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

“In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ,” Obama added.

Watch the video, courtesy of MSNBC…HERE.

Chris Christie’s Bromance With Joe Scarborough Is Over



TPM LiveWire

Now, as the New York Times Magazine’s Mark Leibovich reported this week, there really is trouble in paradise for the chummy clique of politician and pundits:

He used to be a regular on “Morning Joe,” the MSNBC morning show, and was pals with the co-hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. But after bridge-gate, it became a feeding frenzy. “There’s an agenda at the network level at MSNBC,” Christie told me. “All these folks have to march in line in order to keep their jobs.” I asked Christie if he thought Scarborough and Brzezinski were taking orders from corporate bosses. “I don’t know,” he said. “But it seems to me there is a completely different approach to me than they were approaching me in the past.” (When I asked Scarborough if this was true, he said: “We saw him at the Vanity Fair-Bloomberg party last spring, and he stormed right past us. Mika and I just looked at each other and laughed. It’s a question of temperament with him.”) Yet Christie did not seem entirely displeased with this turn of events, either. Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said, “A lot of people who vote in our primaries think that if MSNBC attacks you for a month, you must be better than I thought you were.”

There have been signs of a fractured relationship on recent editions of “Morning Joe.”

In July, Scarborough called Christie a “chicken” for refusing to meet with the families of Sandy Hook victims. And last month, after long serving as Christie’s biggest booster in the media, Scarborough was dismissive of the New Jersey governor’s chances in 2016.

“We ought to do what we do around here and say on the air what everybody says off the air in Republican circles… nobody thinks Chris Christie can win,” Scarborough said.

The Daily Show Pays Homage To Morning Joe (Comedy)


TPM LiveWire

Bee gave the morning show the performance art treatment, showing how “Daddy Joe” Scarborough and “Mother Mika” Brzezinski gave birth to a cast of “boy pundits” who naturally always agree with their “dad” at Brzezinski’s expense.

Then she turned her attention to the co-hosts’ bevy of high-powered friends, from former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to Bono and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), because “if they’re not friends with Joe and Mika, they don’t exist! They’re nothing!”

Of course, those famous friends are part of the “Morning Joe” family, too — so when the media tried to pin the scandal around the George Washington Bridge lane closures on “Uncle Chris” Christie, Bee said, the family rallied behind him.

“Oh sure, my ‘Morning Joe’ family may fight and bicker and starf*ck like nobody’s business, but when the chips are down for one of our powerful friends, we pull together to attack anyone who questions them,” she said. “Because that’s what morning news shows do.”

Watch below, courtesy of Comedy Central:

MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ Slams GOP Chair For Insinuating Obama Is Involved In IRS Scandal

Think Progress

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe Thursday morning, panelist John Heilemann got into a heated argument with GOP Chairman Reince Priebus over President Obama’s role in the targeting of conservative groups applying for 501(c)4 status. Priebus offered a series of comments trying to tie Obama to the scandal — which Republicans haveattempted to frame the IRS scandal as Obama’s ‘Watergate’ moment — leading Heilemann to shout “that’s an assertion that’s not actually borne out by any of the facts”:

HEILEMANN: Okay. You used two phrases just now saying we have to wait for the facts but I’m entitled to my opinion and before we have the facts just wait. You then said it’s lawlessness and guerrilla warfare and Obama is in the middle of. You say we need to have all of the facts before we can determine whether President Obama is in the middle of it and now you’re asserting the fact he’s in the middle of it. That is your public tweet.

PRIEBUS: I would say it is consistent. When I start out an investigation and say it’s low level employees in Cincinnati and then you find out there are senior level people in Washington. Then Pfeiffer goes on five Sunday morning shows and says the White House didn’t know anything about this and two days later you figure out that the chief of staff actually knew about it. You have a hundred and, what? 15 visits from Shulman to the White House and 132 Democratic senators pleading with the IRS to investigate this. And the Chief of Staff of the White House is now involved or at least knew about it when — two days earlier Pfeiffer said they didn’t know about it.

HEILEMANN: I thought you said you have the facts you need. If you don’t have the facts you need why are you saying he’s in the middle of it?

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has also tried to tie Obama’s name to the IRS scandal, though unsuccessfully. An Investigator General’s report on the case found no indication that the targeting of certain 501(c)4 groups was part of a larger political strategy.

Obama widens lead over Romney in Ohio, Pa., Fla.

This race is far from over but so far it’s looking good for the POTUS.  Yet complacency is not an option.



Courtesy Morning Joe

Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS Poll

Both presidential candidates are campaigning in Ohio Wednesday, but it’s President Obama who now holds a 10 point lead (53% to 43%) over Mitt Romney in the Buckeye State, according to the latest Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS News poll.

The new poll represents a three point improvement for the president in Ohio and a one percentage point decline for Romney compared to last month’s results.

The president also holds a nine percentage point lead over Romney in Florida (53% to 44%), the poll found. Compared to last month, this represents a four point improvement for Obama in the Sunshine State and a two point decline for Romney.

Obama carried both states in 2008, but both are considered swing states, and Florida, in particular, is known to swing red. Both states have Republican governors, and former President George W. Bush carried Ohio and Florida in 2004.

Florida represents a heavy 29 electoral votes, the most of any swing state, and Ohio holds a significant 18 electoral votes.

“He’s not driving a consistent message,” Mark Halperin, a senior political analyst for Time and MSNBC contributor, explained on Morning Joe Wednesday.

Romney is also behind in Pennsylvania by 12 points, the poll found. Pennsylvania, a state Obama also carried in 2008, is worth 20 electoral votes. Bush won the state in 2004.

The political director for the Romney campaign disputed another recent poll in Ohio showing Obama ahead of Romney.

“I kind of hope the Obama campaign is basing their campaign on what the public polls say. We don’t. We have confidence in our data and our metrics,”  Rich Beeson told reporters, according to NBC News.

Our Sadly Lowered Standards for Dickitude

Mother JonesKevin Drum has done it again.  His articles are humorous and smart.

Here’s his take on Mark Halperin’s faux pas on Morning Joe yesterday.  The piece was written yesterday, as well. 

Mother Jones 

Mark Halperin is one of my least-favorite political analysts, a reliably unimaginative weathervane of conventional wisdom. Today, on Morning Joe, he gave his considered opinion of Barack Obama’s press conference performance on Wednesday: “I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday.”

Halperin didn’t quite realize he was on the air when he said this, and when he did he immediately apologized and was later suspended by MSNBC. However, this is of zero interest to me. If Halperin thinks Obama is a dick, it’s fine with me if he says it publicly. In fact, I’d rather he say it publicly. A mild reproach from MSNBC management for offending the delicate sensibilities of Morning Joe viewers would have been sufficient apology.

Needless to say, what’s actually interesting here is that Halperin, in fact, thinks Obama is a dick for getting slightly combative yesterday. And this is interesting precisely because Halperin is an unimaginative weathervane of conventional wisdom. It presumably means that a fair-sized chunk of the DC press corps also thinks Obama was a bit of a dick yesterday.

If this is the case, all I can say is that the standards for dickitude have become alarmingly low in Washington, DC, these days. I mean, Republicans have spent several consecutive months holding the country hostage to their tea-party base, pretending to negotiate a budget deal when they obviously had no intention of ever agreeing to any kind of compromise, all but chortling publicly at their own cleverness, and dressing down Obama in front of the TV cameras at every opportunity. But after putting up with this for months, it’s Obama who’s a dick for finally pushing back a bit against these guys? Seriously?

Continue reading here…

MSNBC suspends Mark Halperin for Obama comments

You wanna know who the real “d**k” is in all of this?  Mark Halperin…

Morning Joe Blog

Statement from MSNBC:
Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable.  We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air.  Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.

Statement from Mark Halperin:
I completely agree with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate.

Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it.

The video showing Halperin’s stupidity:

 A full eleven minute clip of the segment can be seen here…


Morning Joe to run again?

Morning Joe

Image via Wikipedia


Former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough says he would consider running for office again but, for the time being, thinks he’s better off right where he is.

“We have more influence doing the show,” said Scarborough, who hosts MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and is a columnist for POLITICO. “There are 435 members of Congress. There’s one ‘Morning Joe’ show.”

But that could change. “An absence of leadership” could draw him back to elective office, he said in an interview with Parade magazine published Thursday. “The same thing that had me run the first time, in 1994, when I felt the country was veering off dangerously in the wrong direction.”

Scarborough represented Florida in the House from 1995 to 2001 but resigned just months into his fourth term to spend time with his family. His wife “always tells people, ‘He’s not going to be able to run for anything because I’m not going to let him start a campaign,’” he said.

“Look what’s happened to Barack Obama over the last two years or George Bush for eight. It’s a blood sport. But at some point, I may feel the need to run for office again.”   More…

Scarborough: DeMint And Kyl ‘Owe Harry Reid An Apology’ For Questioning His Faith

I’m not a Scarborough fan, but he’s on point with this one…

Think Progress

In their quest to deny Democrats and President Obama any legislative victories in this lame duck session of Congress, Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) have sunk to a new low: questioning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) faith for potentially keeping Congress in session through January 4, 2011. Kyl said Reid is “disrespecting” Christians, while DeMint said it’s “sacrilegious.” Yesterday on the Senate floor, Reid fired back. “I don’t need to hear the sanctimonious lectures of Senators Kyl and DeMint to remind me of what Christmas means,” he said.

Today on MSNBC, the Morning Joe crew ripped into Kyl and DeMint for their remarks. “These are not serious people,” Mike Barnicle said, adding, “Do they really think we’re that stupid?” Co-host Willie Geist said, “This rises to the level of self-parody.” Host and former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough was the most incensed at the senators’ comments, noting that American troops are fighting in Afghanistan during the holidays and that they owe Reid an apology.


Scarborough said later in the show that Vice President Biden’s office called to associate themselves with Scarborough’s remarks and emphasize “how offended the Vice President was at these senators’ questioning the faith of Harry Reid.” Watch the segment: