Scarborough was irate at the “hypocrisy” of the statement because during his time in New Orleans in the middle of Katrina, he recalled, “a lot of people keeping their mouths shut because they didn't want to criticize President Bush.” [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]
This outburst was in response to Karl Rove’s statement on Fox News that, “The president and his people are in charge of this under the Oil Spill Liability Act and they don’t have a plan.” Scarborough then hastily asserted, “Just keep your mouth shut. I'm not saying don't criticize the president, but if you were involved in Katrina, keep your mouth shut.”
Of course, during a post-Katrina interview with “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, Scarborough felt no compulsion to keep his mouth shut in deference to the president. At the time, Scarborough asked if Williams found it an "ironic choice" to report “from a major American city where young children died of dehydration out on sidewalks, and now you've got the President of the United States delivering a speech to the nation from Jackson Square, an area largely untouched by Katrina's devastation.”
Williams responded that, "Some of us in the media were chattering about the choice of backdrops," and further insinuated that one wouldn’t "want perhaps total devastation, but maybe a mid-range desolation behind the President."
This incident was only the tip of the iceberg of the overwhelming, constant media criticism that George W. Bush was subject to during his presidency. There is a reason people are referring to this oil spill as Obama's Katrina and it has nothing to do with zipped lips.
Here's the relevant transcript:
7:25 a.m. EDT
JOE SCARBOROUGH: By the way, I just got to say if I'm Karl Rove --
HAROLD FORD, Jr.: be careful.
SCARBOROUGH: I keep my mouth shut. No, I keep my mouth shut about a slow response, seriously. And there are other people on there, you know, I remember being down --
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: He was there.
SCARBOROUGH: Over at Katrina, I remember a lot of people keeping their mouths shut because they didn't want to criticize President Bush, who in their own way contributed to the crisis down there. So I would be a bit more careful before I criticized Barack Obama. I mean, --
FORD, JR.: You said it well, Joe, they shouldn't. They should be aware of hypocrisy.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, it's stunning. Just keep your mouth shut. I'm not saying don't criticize the President, but if you were involved in Katrina, keep your mouth shut.
BRZEZINSKI: All right, let's go live to the White House.
SCARBOROUGH: Because they didn't do doody.
SCARBOROUGH: They didn't do doody. I'm so angry right now. I really am. They didn't do doody - for 10 days.