This is a must-watch video clip, mainly because it features Joe Scarborough laying out exactly why the current GOP’s pee-pants-dance in response the so-called “liberal media’s” treatment of the Republican presidential field is absolutely not lopsided, and nor is it unfair. Morning Joe guest and conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, meanwhile, disagrees and seriously believes the press has been too lenient on Hillary Clinton.
The notion that the media has been unevenly critical of the Republican field, while praising or ignoring the Democratic field is nonsense. Especially in the case of Clinton and Obama, who have been relentlessly criticized since forever. To wit: Dr. Ben Carson’s gripe about the press failing to vet Obama’s connection to Jeremiah Wright is as phony as his West Point scholarship. Anyone who remembers the 2008 election when videos of Rev. Wright were aired on a continuous loop by MSNBC and Fox News Channel alike knows Hewitt and Carson are deliberately deceiving their people. And Clinton’s email story has been an almost exclusively press-driven hobby-horse since March.
But going father back in time, the Clintons, and particularly Hillary, have been almost constantly watch-dogged by the press for decades. We can start with Whitewater and go from there. For nearly a quarter-century, the press has been vetting Clinton in every way. Furthermore, candidates like Carson and Trump are new to the presidential scene, so naturally the press might seem like it’s asking more questions, but it’s entirely based on newness, as well as each candidates series of outlandish remarks. Hillary, on the other hand, has been vetted while helping to run her husband’s campaigns; while running her own senatorial campaign; and while being confirmed as Secretary of State. So, if there’s a hands-off approach at work here, it’s only because the Clintons have already been repeatedly jammed through the meat grinder.
Yet that won’t stop the GOP from shrieking about the press’s unfair scrutinizing of its candidates. The party, as well as its base, suffers from selective memory — strictly choosing to remember what’s convenient, while failing to note verifiable history.
Scarborough, to his credit, is at least being honest about the vetting record of his colleagues in the news media. Furthermore, he’s exactly correct in wanting to see the sideshow candidates shed from the pack as quickly as possible. Hewitt, on the other hand, is counting on the base to misremember or entirely ignore the press’s obsession with the Clintons and instead focus on the alleged “Hindenburg Debate” (Hewitt’s phrase) when reporters from an objectively conservative network (CNBC) attempted to do its own vetting.
Here’s the transcript of the key moments of the discussion, with the video to follow.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: In terms of Ben Carson. These stories do not add up. The conservative media knows they do not add up. How long do we sit back quiety and pretend that they do add up because we don’t want to offend our audience?
HUGH HEWITT: I don’t think that is what is going on here at all, we do not want to encourage the media to unify against Republicans and protect Democrats. We do not want to engage in the knifing of our candidates, and ignore over here [Hillary Clinton’s] NDA that [was recently recovered by the Washington Free Beacon], a whole set of questions that haven’t been answered yet, 18 USC1924 which Mrs. Clinton almost certainly violated. We do not want to be part of that gang.
JOE: My god, Hugh, my god. We have sat around this table… every day for six months digging in as deeply as we can into Hillary Clinton… Day in and day out.
MIKA: More than anybody.
HEWITT: Have you covered the Teneo letter?
JOE: No I haven’t, that happened last week, I know you have your two little talking points that happened last week. What I’m saying is put it into perspective. If your only argument is that the media is covering Ben Carson for a day and a half but they haven’t covered Hillary Clinton’s problems long enough, that is not a very strong argument.
HEWITT: It is an incredibly strong argument with the Republican base.
MIKA: That doesn’t make it correct.
JOE: You’re just proving my point. If you are more interested in pleasing the Repubclian base, than winning the presidency, then keep that up.
HEWITT: You’re so wrong, the Hindenburg Debate of two weeks ago, was good for the Republican party general by exposing completely to Democrats, Republicans and Independents, that Republicans face a headwind…
And it is very useful for me to come on a show like this and say: “Hey folks, look over here there are two major Hillary stories that no one is covering while we’re trying to find Ben Carson’s friend from 40 years ago. Eventually it adds up into a narrative…
You folks in the Manhattan-Beltway media, you elite–
JOE: You know better than that Hugh. “You Manhattan people?” I put my neck on the line every single day here. Hugh, please don’t embarrass yourself… you owe me an apology on the air right now because you know better than to say that about me.