Green Room

Joe Scarborough: Boycott me

posted at 8:10 am on October 1, 2012 by

The blog and Twitter universes will surely cover this today, but, since I saw it live as it happened, I have to jump in. My hackles have been raised, my ire stoked, my irritation ignited. Joe Scarborough, of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, made a fool of himself again while trying to prove he’d not done it last week.

Here’s the back story: MSNBC ran a clip of a Romney-Ryan event in which Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney supposedly instructed the crowd to chant “Romney-Ryan.” (Jazz Shaw has the clip here in a post about how too much was made of the whole incident.)

MSNBC’s piece, introduced by co-host Mika Brzezinski, was tied to a narrative about how vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is more popular than Romney himself, and that the crowd was chanting Ryan’s name when Romney instructed them to add his own. Subtitles on the MSNBC screen indicated the chant was “Ryan!” at first. But subsequent pieces have pretty convincingly pointed out that those subtitles were a stretch; the chant sounded like “Romney, Romney” to many observers, when the candidate urged the crowd to include “Ryan” to it. At best, the chant was murky.

And that leads to the controversy. Some suggest MSNBC deliberately edited the tape to make it appear as if Romney had to plead for inclusion in the chant. But that’s not the problem, folks. The problem is that MSNBC leaped to an interpretation of an audio to portray Romney as awkwardly beseeching the crowd to pay attention to him, too. They used that interpretation in introducing the tape. And they included subtitles on the screen that fit that interpretation.

Put me in the category of folks who don’t think MSNBC deliberately edited the tape itself but, rather, offered a false interpretation of the whole event to portray Romney as bumbling and unpopular with his own crowd.

So, this brings us to today. After a weekend of Tweets mocking Joe Scarborough’s reaction to the clip when it was shown (a double face-palm, accompanied by a murmured “Sweet Jesus” and followed by a condescending declaration about what a great guy Romney is in so many ways except as a politician), Scarborough felt the need to defend himself. My quotes below are from memory. I’ve not yet reviewed the transcript of this morning’s show.

On this a.m.’s show, Scarborough claims his reaction when the clip was shown was due to the fact that Mitt Romney sometimes looks “goofy”  and that those who suggest MSNBC edited the tape to “throw the election” to Obama should stop eating “Cheetos” and get “out of the basement.”

Nice straw man arguments there, Joe, but they don’t wash. You were being criticized by many respected writers who happen to write for blogs, some of which are associated with well-known magazines. Hardly the demeaning Cheetos-eating basement dwellers picture you paint (perhaps if they were Starbucks-sipping bloggers, you’d give them more respect?). Second, you claim this morning that the story was about Romney looking “goofy,” and that was why you had the reaction you did. If candidates acting goofy was criteria for news, MSNBC would be running wall-to-wall clips of Joe Biden.

No, the premise of the clip, as demonstrated by Brzezinski’s intro and the subtitles on the screen, was that Romney was being overshadowed by his running-mate and was reduced to asking a crowd to include his name in their cheerleading. That narrative proved to be false. A simple apology for that false interpretation would have sufficed.

Finally, in addressing his audience about this controversy, Scarborough boasted that some folks had threatened to boycott his show in the past and it only led to better ratings. He then urged viewers who didn’t like him to go ahead and boycott him.

Good advice, Joe. Maybe lots of those basement-dwellers and their families will start taking it.

Libby Sternberg is a novelist.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Joe Scarborough is extremely dishonest. He should have apologized.

Second, you claim this morning that the story was about Romney looking “goofy,” and that was why you had the reaction you did. If candidates acting goofy was criteria for news, MSNBC would be running wall-to-wall clips of Joe Biden.

Very good point.

bluegill on October 1, 2012 at 8:43 AM

How do you boycott someone you already don’t watch on a network that’s irrelevant?

Oh, and I’ll be in my basement — because that’s where my wood shop is. You know, actually making things that are real.

rbj on October 1, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Put me in the category of folks who don’t think MSNBC deliberately edited the tape itself. Libby Sternberg is a novelist.
Now we have 2 fiction writers at Hot Gas. Libby and Jazz.

RickinNH on October 1, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Saw it live as well

Talk about whiny

Pathetic

Jazz… kudos to you good buddy

cmsinaz on October 1, 2012 at 9:24 AM

I’m completely willing to boycott Scarborough and have been since 2007 so…Good luck with those ratings Joe.

magicbeans on October 1, 2012 at 9:33 AM

How do you boycott someone you already don’t watch on a network that’s irrelevant?

Oh, and I’ll be in my basement — because that’s where my wood shop is. You know, actually making things that are real.

rbj on October 1, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Very well said. I don’t have a basement but would dig one out by hand before I watched that high dollar but kissing show. There’s more reality to reality tv than MSLSD.
I mean come on! Who in their right mind? The slobbering arrogance. Makes me thankful for the sloping forehead and flyover address, I’m the last they’ll come for-too clingy-too well armed, thank God ;)
But seriously reality tv schlock is better written than this state led propaganda posing as news-a teasonous endeavor if I were king for a day, uhm under my administration. Cheetohs in a jar at every cabinet meeting :)

onomo on October 1, 2012 at 9:49 AM

What’s this MSNBC you make reference?

Fuquay Steve on October 1, 2012 at 9:50 AM

I have been since 2004. I found his reporting on Bush during the debates despicable, unprofessional, and drug fueled. It was ugly. Scarborough was ugly. Haven’t watched him or read him since.

Blake on October 1, 2012 at 10:05 AM

What is wrong with the people at HA? Seriously?

Jazz Shaw is an old idiot? Can we clear that up? This is not his background. He had no f’ing business stepping in on this.

You don’t have to edit “tape”.

You channel one feed, which is what Scarby indirectly admitted to this morning.

He said it was what the MSNBC team picked up, then had to admit the NYT heard something else.

Your freaking sister site has a dub to prove this!

budfox on October 1, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Scarborough? I think I’ve been boycotting him since forever cuz I don’t recall having ever watched him. Now I know why.

stukinIL4now on October 1, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Boycotting something I have never watched isn’t very helpful.

Cindy Munford on October 1, 2012 at 10:26 AM

First, my wife was at that rally and they were definitely chanting “Romney”.

Second, I never watch Scarborough, so does that count as a boycott?

Bitter Clinger on October 1, 2012 at 10:34 AM

How do you boycott someone you already don’t watch on a network that’s irrelevant?

Oh, and I’ll be in my basement — because that’s where my wood shop is. You know, actually making things that are real.

rbj on October 1, 2012 at 8:56 AM

exactly! i don’t pay for cable or dish anyway!

i think scab-bourogh and peggy nooner have come upon a great business model for themselves. they went out and got republican credentials and have been selling out for thier 30 pieces of silver ever since!

Dr. Demento on October 1, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Joe’s twelve viewers will support him on this.

Joe Mama on October 1, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Have been enjoying the comments.

I did want to point out that when I say I don’t think MSNBC “edited” the tape, what I mean is I don’t think they DOCTORED it. They put a misleading subtitle on it that did not reflect what people were chanting at the rally, and they based their inaccurate interpretation of the event on that mistake.

Is that clear…as mud? :)

Libby Sternberg on October 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Joe “Dead Intern in My Lobby” Scarborough your 12 viewers are gonna stay with you but your political career as an R is as dead as your intern.

harlekwin15 on October 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

At best, the chant was murky.

No, it wasn’t murky. As a few minutes of Google research would have shown. Or just listening to the clip; listen to the emphasis on his words: he was clearly imploring the audience to add RYAN onto the existing Romney. (As in Romney-RYAN, Romney-RYAN).

It wasn’t even close.

And that leads to the controversy. Some suggest MSNBC deliberately edited the tape to make it appear as if Romney had to plead for inclusion in the chant. But that’s not the problem, folks. The problem is that MSNBC leaped to an interpretation of an audio to portray Romney as awkwardly beseeching the crowd to pay attention to him, too. They used that interpretation in introducing the tape. And they included subtitles on the screen that fit that interpretation.

The majority of people I know don’t think the tape was edited. We think it was deceptively subtitled. If you put subtitles that don’t match what’s on the tape, that’s deception, pure and simple. Four pinocchios, pants on fire type stuff, especially since it fundamentally changes the narrative. It’s not a little thing, Libby.

Put me in the category of folks who don’t think MSNBC deliberately edited the tape itself but, rather, offered a false interpretation of the whole event to portray Romney as bumbling and unpopular with his own crowd.

It wasn’t edited, but regardless the intent was to change the narrative from a humble man asking for support for his running mate to a dangerously narcissistic loser begging for attention (you know, kind of like his opponent). And that’s the only way the Left will be able to get Romney to appear that way, because by all accounts public and private, he’s an honestly good person.

And it’s the job of those who CHOOSE to represent the Conservative side (and that would include everybody who blogs on this or any Conservative site) to immediately, aggressively challenge all such false narratives.

It’s very simple. We have five weeks. No more kumbaya. MSNBC was purposely deceptive and anybody who does not call them on it is a collaborationist.

We didn’t ask those who blog on Hot Air to speak for Conservatives, the bloggers took that mantle on all by themselves. But those that did now have a responsibility. I hope you and everybody else on this site take that responsibility seriously. Why do I care so much? Because you’re endangering AJ’s future if you don’t.

AJsDaddie on October 1, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Have been enjoying the comments.

I did want to point out that when I say I don’t think MSNBC “edited” the tape, what I mean is I don’t think they DOCTORED it. They put a misleading deceptive subtitle on it that did not reflect what people were chanting at the rally, and they based their inaccurate interpretation of the event on that mistakedeliberate distortion.

Is that clear…as mud? :)

Libby Sternberg on October 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Glad to see you’re halfway there, Libby! Just stop using soft words like “mistake”. This wasn’t an “oops”. This was active disinformation.

“Misleading” and “mistake” are far too benign to describe MSNBC’s unrelenting bias. “Deceptive” and “distortion” fit much better, don’t you think?

:)

AJsDaddie on October 1, 2012 at 11:09 AM

It must be close to $$ contract time for Mourning Bloe- and he needs to impress the politburo at Comcast/GE all he can.

FlaMurph on October 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Put me in the category of folks who don’t think MSNBC deliberately edited the tape itself but, rather, offered a false interpretation of the whole event to portray Romney as bumbling and unpopular with his own crowd.

Um, superimposing “Ryan! Ryan!” over the clip is editing. That’s all.

Fallon on October 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Oops, didn’t see the “clear as mud” comment.

Fallon on October 1, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Scarborough boasted that some folks had threatened to boycott his show in the past and it only led to better ratings. He then urged viewers who didn’t like him to go ahead and boycott him.

Alternate healine: Attention Whore Hits New Low.

logis on October 1, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Glad to see you’re halfway there, Libby! Just stop using soft words like “mistake”. This wasn’t an “oops”. This was active disinformation.

“Misleading” and “mistake” are far too benign to describe MSNBC’s unrelenting bias. “Deceptive” and “distortion” fit much better, don’t you think?

AJsDaddie, I see your point, but…using a word like “deceptive” means you’re interpreting their motivations instead of presenting “just the facts, ma’am.” I’d rather stick to a dispassionate description of the facts, which is bad enough for them.

Libby Sternberg on October 1, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Here’s a thought.

What do you think Breitbart would have said about this latest MSNBC travesty? Do you think he would have characterized it as an innocuous mistake? Not a chance. He would have scorned MSNBC, vilified Brzezinski and excoriated Scarborough.

Five weeks left.

We must ALL be Breitbart.

AJsDaddie on October 1, 2012 at 11:20 AM

AJsDaddie, I see your point, but…using a word like “deceptive” means you’re interpreting their motivations instead of presenting “just the facts, ma’am.” I’d rather stick to a dispassionate description of the facts, which is bad enough for them.

Libby Sternberg on October 1, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Well, yes I am interpreting their motivations. I think they are actively engaged in a disinformation campaign designed to re-elect Barack Obama as President of the United States. What do you think MSNBC’s motivations are, Libby? Fair and unbiased reporting?

This is not the 50s, and none of us are Joe Friday. We’re not trying to catch a bad guy in a 30 minute TV show, we’re fighting for the life of the country and the other side isn’t playing fair.

Five weeks.

After that you can be as pleasant and magnanimous as you want, but only if we win. Because I guarantee the other side won’t be anywhere near as accommodating if they win.

AJsDaddie on October 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Five weeks.
After that you can be as pleasant and magnanimous as you want, but only if we win. Because I guarantee the other side won’t be anywhere near as accommodating if they win.

I’m not trying to be “pleasant or magnanimous.” I’m trying to be accurate and effective. Conservatives have a legitimate complaint with this MSNBC incident. I was trying to focus on what I think are the most legitimate complaints, stripped of motivational analyses.

It’s a given that MSNBC is left-leaning. I’m not disputing that.

I was/am a big fan of Breitbart, btw.

Libby Sternberg on October 1, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Sorry, I would have to start watching before I could boycott.
Not going to happen.

CableDude on October 1, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I’m not trying to be “pleasant or magnanimous.” I’m trying to be accurate and effective. Conservatives have a legitimate complaint with this MSNBC incident. I was trying to focus on what I think are the most legitimate complaints, stripped of motivational analyses.

I understand your point. But consider this: by using innocuous terms like “mistake” and “misleading” you are in a way imputing motivations – benign motivations, at that – to MSNBC and it’s representative. Really, there’s no way to not do that, unless you do something like this:

“MSNBC presented incorrect subtitles to a Romney campaign event which significantly altered the narrative. Observers disagree as to whether this was an innocent mistake or a deliberate distortion.”

Anything short of that imputes a lack of bias which common sense says is incorrect. Not only that, but any article that even mildly covers for MSNBC’s actions can then be linked, emailed and tweeted by the Left.

I realize this is a lot of work and even something of a scorched earth policy, but the future of the nation is at stake.

It’s a given that MSNBC is left-leaning. I’m not disputing that.

I didn’t think you were. But it doesn’t hurt to reiterate that fact on a regular basis. And putting it side by side with this obvious doctoring helps to hammer the point home.

I was/am a big fan of Breitbart, btw.

Libby Sternberg on October 1, 2012 at 11:34 AM

I’m sure you are, Libby. You’re definitely on the side of the angels, and I hope I don’t imply otherwise. But now is NOT the time to start “reaching across the aisle” in any way, shape or form. Now is the time to err on the side of aggressiveness. I’d rather alienate a few people while trying to save the country than lose it because I was trying to be fair.

Again, I’m thinking about AJ. I will not be the one that has to tell him I lost his country through inaction or faintheartedness.

AJsDaddie on October 1, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Joe who?

Midas on October 1, 2012 at 11:58 AM

I’m trying to be accurate

Libby Sternberg on October 1, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Were the MSNBC folks who placed the subtitles trying for the same goal? Eyewitness accounts seem to argue that, no they were not.

This naturally leads us to question their motivations in placing the subtitles. Would placing such subtitles get them more ad revenue somehow? After all MSNBC is a business.

I think not. The motivation must have been something else, now if we could only think of what that might be…

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on October 1, 2012 at 12:01 PM

“MSNBC presented incorrect subtitles to a Romney campaign event which significantly altered the narrative. Observers disagree as to whether this was an innocent mistake or a deliberate distortion.”

Okay. That’s a good, accurate assessment. I didn’t think of that wording, but it works for me.

now is NOT the time to start “reaching across the aisle” in any way,

That’s not what I was trying to do (in addition to not trying to be “magnanimous or pleasant.”).

Libby Sternberg on October 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM

That’s not what I was trying to do (in addition to not trying to be “magnanimous or pleasant.”).

Libby Sternberg on October 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Got it. But you see the danger. Don’t let your words look like you believe their spin.

While I agree that a journalist shouldn’t impute motive, I believe it’s their duty to question motives, especially when there’s a reason for concern. And I’d say that right now there’s a lot of reason for concern.

AJsDaddie on October 1, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Newsbusters also has the story here.

Libby Sternberg on October 1, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Scarborough boasted that some folks had threatened to boycott his show in the past and it only led to better ratings. He then urged viewers who didn’t like him to go ahead and boycott him.

Careful what you wish for, Joe. Sometimes, these things have a nasty way of coming back around to bite you on the butt.
Now, a really popular TV “personality” might be able to get away with that. You…not so much. Thin ice, buddy.

Solaratov on October 1, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Scarborough has dropped his RINO mask, he is a full blown progressive democrat no matter what he may claim.

SpiderMike on October 1, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Well dang. I went to all the trouble of climbing the basement steps, brushed the orangey Cheetos dust off my hands and face, and then I remembered: I can’t boycott you Joey. I never watch your show anyway. *sad face*

coppertop on October 1, 2012 at 1:11 PM

he made himself look worse by acting like a little boy about this morning. He just proved he isn’t serious enough to listen to if he is going to spend this much time digging that deep to defend himself.

earlgrey133 on October 1, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Scarborough? Isn’t he the congressman from Florida who’s female aide died mysteriously, followed shortly by him deciding not to seek re-election?

jan3 on October 1, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I dropped Morning Joe months ago. But MSNBC has jumped the shark- leading every show with handpicked polls to show O lead. The more lopsided the poll- thats the lead poll of the morning.

I don’t like the Doocy at Fox as I think their bias isn’t even attempted to be hidden anymore. So until 9:00 am their really isn’t much unbiased news in the morning.

Bensonofben on October 1, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Scarborough’s favorite prefix: ” I know some high up Republicans who won’t say this on-record but they tell me behind closed doors… (insert made up conservative bashing comment).

Surely any high up republican would have stopped talking to this big mouth years ago.

Bensonofben on October 1, 2012 at 1:40 PM

The msrm (mainstream state run media) I guess is proof of the success of Keynesian economics, at least as far as being able to expand the lamestream into the propaganda leviathan we see today. One we fully fund by the way, well we the 53.
I suppose its much better to be boycotted than exposed as a fraud. Boycotted brings you to the front of the progressive line for praise. Exposed just puts you in the same category with all the other of Barry’s little p**ter boy’s; Jay Carney, Diane Sawyer, George Stephonopooterboy, Chrisy “I wanna have Rafael Maddow’s baby” Mathews.
Again, we have a show like this every weekday morning and we still pretend like America doesn’t torcher. The…horror.

onomo on October 1, 2012 at 2:22 PM

At best, the chant was murky.

Erika, from your own NR writeup:
“Rich received a response from Byron York, who also said, “I was there, at back of crowd. Clear to me then and now crowd began with ‘Rom-ney!’ and Romney said no, ‘Romney-Ryan.’” Buzzfeed seconded Byron’s account; on Twitter, McKay Coppins’s response to Byron and Rich was, “Yep, I was there too and it was pretty obvious.”
====
None of the MSM reporters who were actually there detected any “murkiness” at all.

Some suggest MSNBC deliberately edited the tape to make it appear as if Romney had to plead for inclusion in the chant.

They quite obviously edited the video, I don’t know of any camera that automatically transcribes incoming audio and displays it onscreen as written words. And it’s certainly not as if MSNBC is above editing audio to fit it’s bias – just ask George Zimmerman.

Their news division (such as it is) already had a long history of concocting falsehoods to fit it’s bias, it’s just graduated from rigging trucks to rigging videos (in hopes of rigging an election).

whatcat on October 1, 2012 at 3:45 PM

HotAir.com — Guaranteed Soft & Squishy — Or You Money Back™

Truer words were never spoken ever since Malkin sold to the highest bidder.

FlatFoot on October 1, 2012 at 3:58 PM

You = Your

blah

FlatFoot on October 1, 2012 at 3:58 PM

I can’t boycott moron Joe. I would have to start watching his stupid show before I could boycott it.

Gunlock Bill on October 1, 2012 at 4:12 PM

I don’t watch Scarborough or any of the talking heads. They are the end result of writers and producers. I read a great deal and decide what I think for myself.

The opinions on current events, particularly politis, of Scarborough, Frum, Brooks, Noonan, et al , mean nothing to me. I wouldn’t be anymore likely to pay any more attention to anything they might have to say than I would what Chris Matthews has to say, on any given subject.

thatsafactjack on October 1, 2012 at 4:40 PM

I can’t boycott moron Joe. I would have to start watching his stupid show before I could boycott it.

Gunlock Bill on October 1, 2012 at 4:12 PM

It’s like swearing off sour milk. The point being it suddenly makes sour milk relevant. I’m sorry was that too squishy for your?

onomo on October 1, 2012 at 5:51 PM

“Hardly the demeaning Cheetos-eating basement dwellers picture you paint”

This smacks of acting like you have to fit the accepted model in order to have legitimate opinion that the left tried to pull (still does). Even if someone is dwelling in the dark with orange encrusted fingers, if they are right then they are right.

I want to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear when every conservative blogger and commenter was proud to stand up, hit their head on the low floor joists, and proclaim in a loud clear voice “Hell yes I’m in my pajamas and I’m right dammit!”

Power to the orange fingered Morlocks!

Kyle Kiernan on October 1, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Boycott Joe?

That won’t be hard, in fact it will require nothing on my part as I have NEVER watched his show, EVER.

RockyJ. on October 1, 2012 at 10:02 PM

The condescending arrogance displayed by someone with nothing to be arrogant about speaks volumes. He knows more than anyone he was caught doing something underhanded and dishonest. His false outrage betrays his motivation. He’s worse than a Shultz, Maddow or even Andrea Mitchell. If he ever had a conscience he’s evidently prostituted it to such a degree that it no longer bothers him. Contemptible is the appropriate summary adjective.

bluesdoc70 on October 2, 2012 at 1:01 AM

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