Day Deux of the "MSNBC Booed Bush" controversy, and Joe Scarborough was looking to make up ground . . .
For those who missed the story, in a burst of candor "Morning Joe" host Scarborough mentioned on yesterday's show that members of the MSNBC newsroom had booed President Bush nearly continuously during the 2003 State of the Union.
Today, Scarborough asserted that most of the boo-birds were gone from the network, and claimed for good measure that rival Fox News Channel is "all Republicans." Joe was peeved that Bill O'Reilly had expounded on the booing incident on last evening's O'Reilly Factor.
View video here [that's MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski making sympathetic sounds in the background.]
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I was talking about Bill O'Reilly before. You know yesterday, I was talking about how four years ago, four-and-a-half years ago, there were some people in the newsroom who were booing when the president was talking. Of course I didn't talk about it much, I didn't talk about the details of it, because if I did, I would have explained that it was [people] from shows that had been cancelled and they shuffled some people over and most of those people have been cycled out. But I didn't talk about that for that purpose. I talked about it to say this is how the Seattle Times responded to [people in its newsroom cheering Karl Rove's resignation], a very good way, and this is the way we responded to [the booing], in a very good, positive way. There's transparency.
And let me say this, I'm going to get into this. If "Editor & Publisher" wants to write something about this, and editorialize about it, that's one thing. But I don't think Bill O'Reilly has any place to pass judgment on a news organization for being biased. Bill O'Reilly brings his opinions to his show every night, and there's nothing wrong with that. Fox News, I did some guest-hosting at Fox News, was up there. [Snickers] Those people, from the second you walk in, from the person who takes you to the elevator, the person who briefs you, they're all Republicans, they're all conservative except for poor Alan Colmes -- they keep him locked up in a cage.
My take: Joe deserves credit for his openness in having recounted yesterday the story of the MSNBC newsroom booing. But he clearly seemed to be feeling some pressure today to defend his network's reputation. Given that the booing incident occured on Joe's first day at MSNBC in 2003, how likely is it that he was able to identify everyone in the newsroom, and that it just so happened that the people who did the booing were those from cancelled shows who have since been "cycled out" of MSNBC?
As for everyone at Fox News other than Alan Colmes being Republican -- where is Joe's evidence other than his anecdotal interaction with greeters and briefers? For example, does Scarborough sincerely think that, say, Chris Wallace, host of the flagship Fox News Sunday, is a Republican? I'd encourage Joe to have a look, for example, at this item recounting the way in which Wallace aggressively cross-examined Mitt Romney last year over his changed position on abortion. It's also been a while since I've seen Juan Williams or Mora Liasson flash RNC membership cards.
Bill -- ball in your court! And Alan, is it true you're under lock and key?
Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org