Scarborough Rips Press for Coverage of Alleged Sestak-Obama Deal: 'It is a Federal Crime'

May 24th, 2010 5:28 PM

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough has had a few missteps and stumbles over the years, perhaps tarnishing his conservative credentials in some people's view, but he still raises some great points every now and then.

On the broadcast of his May 24 "Morning Joe" program, Scarborough, in a segment with Politico's Mike Allen, wanted to know why an alleged deal that occurred between then-prospective Pennsylvania Democratic senatorial nominee, Rep. Joe Sestak and President Barack Obama, had not gotten more attention.

Sestak has hinted that he was offered the Secretary of Navy position if he were to have withdrawn his intentions to run for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa. With a raised voice, he said reporters eagerly wanted to give the White House a pass and suggested there was a double standard compared to the previous administration.

"We've had several reporters on today that seem to be going, bending over backwards giving the White House the benefit of the doubt, when if Dick Cheney had offered this had deal, indictments would already be down," Scarborough said. "This is so clear-cut."

Seeking clarity, "Morning Joe" co-host Mike Brzezinski asked Allen what the word "offer" meant in context of how Sestak has used it in prior public appearance pertaining to this deal:

BRZEZINSKI: Mike, I know you're trying to give us a sense of what the process is, but here's the issue. Congressman Sestak says he was offered a job. Tell me what "offer" means.
ALLEN: You know, that's why I say, I think he probably over-spoke what literally happened.

And that's where Scarborough really showed his disapproval for the media and the job it's doing on covering this alleged indiscretion - suggesting the press was working with a favorable set of assumption to benefit the image of the Obama administration.

"Why are you assuming and you're my friend, but why are you assuming as a reporter that he probably over-spoke when the White House denied it and then he came back out afterwards and said no, they offered me the job. He said it 100 times and we've been repeating it on this show and nobody's picked it up. Why is the press giving this White House the benefit of the doubt again on something that if Sestak is right, if this job was offered to him to keep him away from Arlen Specter, it is a federal crime. Why do you make the assumptions you make?"

The federal crime Scarborough was referring to was Title 18 U.S.C. Section 600, which says, "Whoever directly or indirectly promises any employment position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, in favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

Allen had no clear answer to the question and just said he would exercise better judgment in the future.

"I'm not going to make any more assumptions," Allen replied. "‘Bad News Bears' told us what happens when you do that."