Is there no bridge too far for Joe Scarborough to cross in defending charges of liberal bias against his NBC/MSNBC employers? On last night's Scarborough Country, Joe adopted a position so sycophantish, even Keith Olbermann might have been embarrassed by it.
Scarborough suggested that NBC News had done the right thing in assembling a panel on the Iraq surge composed exclusively of experts hostile to the President Bush's proposal. Scarborough's suggestion came in the course of a segment on Bill O'Reilly's revealing interview with Andrea Mitchell last week, during which he confronted her on NBC's liberal bias. Video: Real (4.3MB) or Windows (5MB) Plus MP3 (795 KB)
Scarborough was debating the issue with the smart and plucky Bob Kohn, author of Fraud: How The New York Times Distorts the News. Scarborough had actually engaged in a bit of panel-packing of his own, with Kohn left to assert NBC's liberal bias alone against three others that denied it: Paul Waldman of the liberal Media Matters, MSNBC consultant Craig Crawford and of course Joe himself.
Kohn kicked off the exchange with Joe this way:
"I watched NBC Nightly News, and Brian Williams this evening had a story about Bush's proposal to increase troops in Iraq. He had three experts on the air discussing that proposal. Not one of those experts supported Bush's plan. They all were against it. So that's bias."
Scarborough's first ploy was to assert that in light of weak public support for the surge "it's kind of hard to get somebody that's going to go on as an expert that's going to support a troop surge."
Kohn laughed that lame line out of the water: "Oh, come on, Joe. Tell me that NBC News couldn't find one person in Washington, one expert, who could have supported the administration. Give me a break."
Defeated on that notion, Scarborough hit a new low with this outlandish assertion: "I guess the more important question is: should they? When you're talking about a surge where all five Joint chiefs are opposed to it, where 12% of Americans support it?"
That's right. Self-proclaimed conservative Joe Scarborough suggested that NBC News did the right thing in assembling a panel on the surge that excluded any supporter of President Bush's proposal. What some guys will do for a paycheck. Joe, this is sad.
Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org