This morning, over a plate of coddled eggs and scrapple, I flipped on the television and watched some of Morning Joe. (There goes the quote for the first twenty comments…) At around the 6:30 mark, they broke into a short bit of coverage of Jesse Jackson jr. and his current legal woes. (Which I wrote about last weekend.) What happened next sent me into a bit of a rant on Twitter, declaring that I would certainly have to save that portion of the show and write something about it.
One of the nice things about Morning Joe is that they upload their show segments to their website each day so you can watch them later, and even clip and share portions of them on the web. But when I went back this afternoon to find it, lo and behold, it somehow didn’t make it into the archive. But thanks to my friend Noel Sheppard of Newsbusters, it has risen again on YouTube. Here’s the Morning Joe crew discussing the downfall of Jackson, complete with a clip from NBC’s coverage.
Scarborough: Former congressman Jesse Jackson’s facing jail time after pleading guilty to misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds. A tearful Jackson apologized to his family and friends. NBC’s justice correspondent Pete Wlliams takes us through this sad case.
[Video clip of Williams is played]
Mika: That was NBC’s Pete Williams reporting.
Scarborough: It’s a sad story. Harold, you served with Jesse. As did I.
Harold Ford: I know Jesse. It’s sad. I know the family well. My prayers go out to his kids and to the entire family. And I hope there is another chapter in his life.
Mika: I hope they can turn it around.
That’s about the moment when my head exploded, ruining what was otherwise a perfectly nice, Thursday morning breakfast. At what point did this become a “sad story” exactly? The criminal was caught and brought to justice. The system worked. Aren’t we generally happy about that? To reiterate what I was ranting about on Twitter, this guy stole nearly a million dollars from the people of his district, many of whom live below the poverty level! Was anybody “sad” when Bernie Madoff got caught? Was anyone praying for “a new chapter” in Madoff’s life where he would “turn things around?”
And before any of you Jackson loving sycophants get all up in arms over the comparison, there is virtually zero difference between Bernie Madoff and Jesse Jackson jr. except in terms of scale. Madoff stole money from innocent people looking to invest in the future for their retirement. Jackson stole money from working class people willing to invest in the future of their state and country by supporting somebody promising to make their future better. They are the same. Madoff was just better at it.
And while we’re on the topic, what prompted Joe to choose the word “misused” regarding the missing funds? They weren’t “misused,” Joe. They were stolen and spent on Rolex watches, stuffed animal heads, Michael Jackson’s guitar and a huge list of additional swag. Misusing campaign funds is when you authorize a payment to a consultant or pollster who isn’t registered properly. This was theft to finance his own lifestyle above and beyond his means, plain and simple.
As I said on Twitter, there is only one reason Jackson was getting the soft sell here and that’s the fact that he’s a Democrat. If he were a Republican this would have been bigger news than Dillinger getting gunned down. But because of his name and his famous father, he’s now some sort of sympathetic figure who has fallen from grace. Sorry, but I’m not buying it. He’s a crook and he’s going to jail. Good riddance.