On his Friday program, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough lashed out at critics who have chastised his show, “Morning Joe,” for covering the political angle of the BP oil spill. Referring specifically to Twitter users, the MSNBC anchor called them “stupid” and “dumb,” and instructed them to “shut up.”
“The people on Twitter who are whining about us covering a very important part of this story are whiners and beyond that they’re just stupid,” fumed Scarborough.
The rant continued:
They need to shut up, okay. If you’re too stupid to follow this, just turn to SpongeBob, okay, and watch it with your kids, and drool out the left side of your mouth because you’re too dumb. You don’t understand politics and you’re going to hurt yourself watching this show.
Moments earlier, co-host Mika Brzezinski lucidly explained how critics have bemoaned the show for being “overly focused on the communication aspect of” the oil spill. She noted she was worried for the people who are suffering from a delayed government response to the Gulf disaster.
But Scarborough, on the other hand, was incensed by critics who urge his morning show to focus more on the tragedy of the victims and the botched government response than the potential political implications.
Just yesterday, Scarborough touted the government’s handling of the oil spill, proclaiming, “I think the past couple days have been great.” Time magazine’s Mark Halperin then stated the obvious: “Except the hole’s not plugged.”
In Scarborough’s alternate reality, the political spin of the oil spill deserves more media coverage than the havoc wreaked by the oil spill, especially since the latter tends to paint the Obama administration's response in a harsh light.
A transcript of the relevant portion of the program can be found below:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Have you heard anybody come on this set, or in all the prepping we do for doing a three hour show everyday–has there been a concrete suggestion on what the federal government should do that they have not done over the past month? And I’m talking as far as procedures pertaining to cleanup and fixing the hole. Have you heard one thing where they said (inaudible). Our biggest criticism has been what they have been doing, which is dumping a million gallons of chemicals in the Gulf.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: That was a cause for concern.
SCARBOROUGH: We’ve actually criticized them for doing too much in that area.
BRZEZINSKI: And we weren’t alone in that.
SCARBOROUGH: Can you think of one thing that you’ve heard around this table?
BRZEZINSKI: No, this has been really more, and I actually am sort of torn by this, I’ve been communicating with people on Twitter who have been extremely adamantly opposed to our coverage because they think we’re overly focused on the communication aspect of it. And it worries me, at the same time there are people that are hurting that are feeling that their government isn’t caring about them. So I think that’s a legitimate story. But in terms of the scientific side of it–all the effort that’s being made–my gosh. And now talks to the White House. There’s nothing that makes me question that they don’t care or don’t want to do enough.
SCARBOROUGH: Okay. And let me ask you, I’ll ask you–and by the way, the people on Twitter who are whining about us covering a very important part of this story are whiners and beyond that they’re just stupid. Because I heard the same thing from Republicans during Katrina, saying, “oh you know, the president needs to stay away, why are you criticizing the president so much?” They need to shut up, okay. If you’re too stupid to follow this, just turn to SpongeBob, okay, and watch it with your kids, and drool out the left side of your mouth because you’re too dumb–you don’t understand politics and you’re going to hurt yourself watching this show.
JOHN HEILEMANN, New York Magazine: Fantastic.
SCARBOROUGH: Now Willie, I ask you the same question. Is there anything that you have heard, any suggestion from anyone, procedurally, substantively, that the White House has not done that they should do–where you go “oh wow, maybe they should have taken this extra step?” Because I haven’t.
WILLIE GEIST: No, not procedurally. The thing they’ve asked, not so much deference to BP on the things BP should be doing, whether it’s putting out booms or working underwater. But the White House and the government has made clear they just don’t have the technological capability to do a lot of those things.
--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.