No adult supervision on “Morning Joe”
posted at 9:42 am on September 12, 2012 by Libby Sternberg
If this morning’s broadcast of MSNBC’s Morning Joe is any indication, we now know that hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough provide the adult supervision. Without them, the show meanders even farther than usual into dangerous territory. Such was the case this morning when neither host was on set.
First up was a discussion of the horrible events in Benghazi where violent Islamists killed the ambassador and several other American staff in reaction to the release of a film critical of Muslims and Mohammed. The film is being promoted by Pastor Terry Jones, the Florida minister who drew attention and notoriety with his burning of the Koran.
Mike Barnacle, regular MSNBC contributor, denounced
the killings the pastor. Yes, the pastor. He’s the one who stirs things up, setting the stage for violent acts. Barnacle said:
“It might be time for the department of justice to start viewing his role as an accessory before or after the fact…”
To which advertising executive and Morning Joe guest Donny Deutsch agreed:
“I was thinking the same thing, yeah.”
This was preceded by a brief discussion of how “technology”—that is, the ability for anyone to put videos ,such as the controversial one promoted by Pastor Jones, up on YouTube—is a “co-conspirator” in acts of violence such as these.
Say what you will about Pastor Jones—in my opinion, he’s no deep thinker, to put it charitably—but in America, he has the “right to be wrong.” That’s what the First Amendment is all about. Shouldn’t these talk show conversationalists be able to spare a few seconds to discuss that, instead of letting killers off the hook for actually killing people?
But, wait, there’s more. Later in the broadcast, Andrea Mitchell was interviewed about the kerfuffle between the White House and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over whether Netanyahu was or was not snubbed by President Obama during the prime minister’s visit to the U.S.
Mitchell covered this with a “comme ci, comme ca” attitude—the White House says they did talk to Netanyahu about a visit, so who’s she to believe?
And then, after reporting on Netanyahu’s strong words about Israel’s posture toward Iran:
“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”
Mitchell went on to say:
“There is a continuing disagreement between Israel and the United States, at least between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House, over how to handle Iran. There is disagreement, I should point out, within Israel itself. So they are not speaking with one voice. But at least as far as the prime minister is concerned, the United States has not been tough enough….”
“They are not speaking with one voice?” “There is disagreement within Israel itself?”
Memo to Andrea Mitchell: When someone holds the title of prime minister, he speaks for his country, even when there is disagreement in the country. Would Mitchell report on something President Obama says with the caveat that there’s disagreement in the U.S. and therefore the country is not “speaking with one voice” despite the president’s statements?
When I heard Mitchell make these inane observations, I thought: who fed her that line—that the prime minister of Israel isn’t legitimately speaking about Israel’s policy? Did she get that from the White House? From J Street talking points? Or in her heart of hearts does she not want to believe that Benjamin Netanyahu is Israel’s legitimate leader right now?
Below are the full segments from which both of these incidents were culled. Watch at your peril—drivel abounds before you get to the relevant segments, and ads usually precede the clips.
Libby Sternberg is a novelist.