Fox News's Chris Wallace Thursday blasted Joe Scarborough for suggesting that he rolled his eyes at the camera after Sunday's interview with Sarah Palin, and said he was "offended" people even watched the former Congressman on MSNBC.
The "Fox News Sunday" host was referring to what transpired on Monday's "Morning Joe."
"Look at the end of Chris Wallace's interview where he rolls his eyes, uh, embarrassed. There's no doubt he is," said Scarborough. "Now he will deny that, but Chris was sending a message to all his friends, 'yes I know she is not a serious thinker.'"
As Scarborough predicted, Wallace did deny the charge. Asked by Fox's Megyn Kelly if the eyes had rolled, Wallace said, "no, is the quick answer to that," adding that he wasn't offended the MSNBCer had suggested such, but only that people watched "Morning Joe" in the first place (video below the fold, full transcript to be added soon, h/t Johnny Dollar):
KELLY: Alright Wallace, true or not true, confirm or deny, did you roll the eyes or didn't you?
WALLACE: No, is the quick answer to that. Secondly, let me just say that Joe Scarborough lives out where the trollies don't run at night. The last time I heard of somebody getting that kind of a secret message it was Son of Sam hearing from a labrador retriever that he should go out and shoot people. And I think that Morning Joe definitely needs to switch to decaf.
KELLY: Okay but, in Joe Scarborough's defense, it's not just Joe. Others on the Internet then picked up on it and started speculating as well. Did you or did you not roll your eyes? What was that look into the camera? What was happening with those eyes when they cut back to you on the set?
WALLACE: Listen, you know, and here's one thing I'm going to disagree with you about, the idea that that's what most people are talking about. In fact what most people are talking about, and certainly here in Washington the political chattering class, is Sarah Palin.
I mean there was a column today by that notoriously conservative columnist David Broder in the Washington Post, and also a column by that other conservative Joe Klein in Time Magazine, based on that interview saying what a formative political figure Sarah Palin is now, that she really does seem to have captured the populist unrest and anger int he country, that she is going to be a real player if she chooses to run for the Republican nomination in 2012. I think Broder finished his column by saying, 'this lady is good.'
I came away from the interview with nothing but admiration for Sarah Palin. And this idea, you know its interesting people talk about Palin Derangement Syndrome. The fact is I threw everything at her in that half an hour about Obama, about Rush Limbaugh, and the R-word, about all kinds of things, and there was a beat, a pause. I thought she did a first rate job. The sarah plain of the Republican Convention is back and the deer in the headlights of later on in the campaign is long gone and forgotten.
KELLY: Chris are you offended when you hear something like that, when you hear somebody like, you know, scarborough say, and this is a quote, "Chris was sending a message to all his friends, 'yes I know she is not a serious thinker.' "
WALLACE: I'm offended that people watch him on MSNBC.
Later in the interview, Kelly asked Wallace if he was offended that Scarborough had suggested he rolled his eyes in contempt of Sarah Palin. "I'm offended that people watch him on MSNBC," he responded.
Wallace did briefly look at the camera, as one can see if (and only if) the camera zooms in and freezes frame right as Wallace turns his eyes to the lens. But "it's not just Joe" who thinks Wallace rolled his eyes, as Kelly noted. The blogosphere has been buzzing with that suggestion.
Wallace gave a "real" eye roll at the end of the segment to provide contrast.
Whether or not Wallace did roll his eyes, one thing is certain: Sarah Palin has the ability to stir up controversies about the most insignificant details. As Wallace told Kelly, Palin Derangement Syndrome seems to be on the rise.