Monday’s Morning Joe was, sadly, absent of Joe and Mika along with their normal crazy antics, but media hysteria ensued on the set, regardless. The hyperventilation that occurred in the room over the President’s WrestleMania tweet was so great that an oxygen tank probably should’ve been brought in at some point. With a dead serious tone, Willie Geist began by asking the panelists, “Did you perceive that tweet as a threat of violence against the press?” What followed afterwards was a panic-stricken discussion with references ranging from Greg Gianforte to Trump’s “minions” to America “leaving the reservation” as far as the world was concerned.
The exchange went as follows:
WILLIE GEIST: So Sam Stein this is on the cover of just about every newspaper, including, as Katty points out, the Financial Times. So it's being broadcast around the world. Did you perceive that tweet as a threat of violence against the press?
SAM STEIN: It's just so weird that every day we get in we have to psycho analyze what Trump means by his tweets. I'm starting to lose the capacity to really care that much to be honest with you. I think it's damaging. I think it's problematic. I don't know if it's a direct attack on the press, but it can be interpreted that way and that's what's important is that people can interpret it that way. I would like to say, well no one ever body slammed a reporter, but someone did body slam a reporter! Far more interesting to me is why he wants to do this with his life. I mean he's President of the United States.
There's a lot of stuff going on. He has the capacity to do a whole host of different things in the morning other than watch cable news and tweet about it. And he probably should do other things in the morning, but he can't help himself. I think that's the bigger criticism here. Not that he's provoking violence, as troubling as it is, its that he seems so pre-occupied with this stuff, this triviality when there's a whole host of really important stuff out there that he should be dealing with.
GEIST: Well, it is Eddie, it's small. For the President of the United States to be thinking about these things and this comes on the heels of a tweet a couple of days prior, where he said, ‘Right now I'm thinking about a new nickname for CNN.’ To which people said, 'I wish as President of the United States you weren't thinking about that.'
EDDIE GLAUDE JR: I think we need to be careful. It's wrestling and if we read wrestling literally to suggest that the video is an act of violence, it’s just gonna feed into his base. It's just gonna be the base saying, 'Look at these liberals, they are taking wrestling seriously.' I think we need to be very, very careful in how we read with this, that’s the first thing. Second thing, I think we need to be mindful of this is simply an ongoing effort of the president and his minions to really destabilize the fourth estate. To understand that a free and independent press is actually key to liberty, is central to liberty, that's a paraphrase of de Tocqueville. What does it mean for the President of the United States to engage in a relentless all out assault on an independent and free press? And this is just the latest instance of that assault.
WILLIE GEIST: I think the White House says it's a joke, the press can't take a joke about itself.
KATTY KAY: Liberals have no sense of humor.
GEIST: Right and professional wrestling, I have some breaking news, you might want to cover your ears, is fake! It's fake. So what they're saying is it's fake, it's fake news, etc all that.
KAY: It's kind of carefully chosen so it's a win-win for the President. He chooses something that you can say it's fake. Its fake wrestling, it's just a joke and why can't you take it as a joke. But, I was looking carefully and If you take just in isolation that, whatever it is, 15 seconds of clips, it's hard not to see somebody punching somebody in the face. That's the image that is being shown around the world. I do have to say on the Financial Times thing, this is getting a huge amount of coverage in other countries and it looks totally crazy.
I mean, it really looks like America has gone off the reservation in some ways and I don't mean the President, I mean the whole coverage of it, the fact that this is all that everybody is talking about at a time when there are huge issues going on around the world. This is preoccupying this country. It looks like the country has been kind of caught in this vortex of stagnation over kind of crazy tweets and then the endless coverage of those tweets.
It’s almost ironic that even the media themselves seem to be growing tired of their own coverage on Trump tweets. They know they look ridiculous, Trump knows they look ridiculous, and the American people know they look ridiculous. The fact that they continue to play along, regardless, repeating the same mistakes over and over again makes it all the more entertaining to watch.
Today's biased segment of Morning Joe was brought to you by Hewlett Packard, TripAdvisor, and Liberty Mutual.