Morning Joe Debates Best MSM-DNC Media Strategy For Defeating Trump

November 22nd, 2023 3:40 PM

Joe Scarborough John Heilemann MSNBC Morning Joe 11-22-23 Watching a certain Morning Joe segment today was like being a fly on the wall at a meeting of the DNC/liberal-media industrial complex, as they strategized over the best media approach for defeating Donald Trump in 2024.

The consensus was that whereas some—including the Biden campaign itself—had in the past felt that the best way to defeat Trump was to generally ignore him, now it's believed that there should be as much MSM [negative] coverage of Trump as possible.

They all whine and worry about voter "torpor," that anti-Trump voters aren't agitated enough, that the "stakes" are too high to do anything but panic people in the present. 

Scarborough read from a New York Times article entitled, "Ignore Trump? Democrats Now Want Him Plastered All Over the News." And you can be sure that the MSM will carry out their new marching orders from the DNC!

The segment served up two moments of unintentional humor. First, that Times article quoted by Scarborough included a line about the Democrats "quietly pining" for the TV networks to again start providing live coverage of Trump's rallies. You know, the glory days when Trump came on Morning Joe to be fawned over as a fresh alternative to the Republican establishment.

Riight! Because nothing says pining "quietly" to the liberal media like feeding it to the New York Times: the liberal media's secular bible! Don't worry, Democrats: the networks will follow up on your oh-so-subtle suggestion!

Later, Mika Brzezinski, in urging Democrats to "pound" against the dangers of Trump, said that Democrats need to overcome their aversion to going "negative" or "ugly." She insisted "Democrats need to pound away at the dangers of Donald Trump, using Donald Trump's own words against him. And actions."

Don't fret, Mika. Somehow, those overly-nice Dems have a history of somehow managing to overcome their aversion to going negative, as when:

  • Their NAACP ally ran a commercial accusing George W. Bush of the dragging death of a black man.
  • The ad from a Dem interest group of Paul Ryan pushing granny in a wheelchair off a cliff.
  • And that kindly, negative-averse Joe Biden himself, telling a largely black audience that Mitt Romney -- Mitt Romney! -- will "put y'all back in chains."

Morning Joe's skull session advising the Biden campaign to go hard against Trump was sponsored in part by Sleep Number, Abbvie, maker of Rinvoq, and Amazon.

Here's the transcript.

Morning Joe
6:36 am ET

JOE SCARBOROUGH: You know, this show got criticized a great deal, especially through 2015, for saying that Donald Trump could win the Republican nomination, and for us having him on the show. There has also, of course, been great criticism of other networks that have allowed him to have townhall meetings.

And it's interesting, I'm saying this, it's leading up to an interesting conundrum, John Heilemann. New York Times today: "Democrats Want Trump Plastered All Over The News." Things have changed. Let me read from it very briefly here and have you respond: "Three years later, after Trump left the White House, Mr. Biden's reelection campaign and Democratic officials across theparty spectrum have landed on a new solution. Instead of ignoring Donald Trump, more Trump! Criticizing the news media for giving Mr. Trump a platform is out! Quietly pining for major networks again to broadcast live coverage of Trump rallies is in!"

. . . 

We had National Review, had a line that I thought summarized it succinctly. When Americans are talking about Joe Biden, Republicans win. When Americans are talking about Donald Trump, Democrats win. And Democrats want America talking about Donald Trump now more than ever.

JOHN HEILEMANN: Right, Joe. Of course, as you said a second ago, there's a kind of grim irony of it for those of us who have been told over the course of the last seven years, just don't talk about him. Don't talk about him: it will go away. 

I can't, I know you and Mika and everyone who's ever had any reason to talk about Donald Trump on this show have heard this endlessly from people over the course of the last seven years. He only thrives because we give him attention. If the media didn't cover him, somehow he wouldn't be a powerful force. Of course, a ludicrous argument, given the kind of alternative media ecosystem that exists, where Trump gets his message out. That entire sphere of right wing, far right wing, moderate right wing, all of the ecosystem that has given him the biggest platform he has, and is connected to tens of millions of Americans. People have finally woken up to the notion, as this piece suggests, that ignoring him doesn't make him go away.

And to Mike Bender's, the important part of Mike Bender's piece, which is that the Democrats understand now that they need to break through a kind of torpor among a lot of potential and past Trump, people who voted against Donald Trump, people who voted for Democrats, who now assume, somehow, trump will not be the nominee. They're not focused on the election. He won't eventually get there. He'll be in jail. Whatever it is, they have to make clear that Trump is here, he's almost certainly going to be here to stay at least until next November. And that as Bender's piece shows, his rhetoric is, amazingly, getting worse, more dangerous, more inciting, more inciteful, I say inciteful, not insightful as in full of insight, but that all of that is getting worse, and that voters need to understand as early as possible the stakes of the election, or Democrats are going to be in trouble a year from now.

. . . 

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Molly Jong-Fast, the option for Democrats here it seems to me, there's always the issue, we don't want to go negative. We don't want to go ugly. When you're running against Donald Trump, just go real! Just use what material Donald Trump has provided, and put it in proper context, and give people information about what will be happening if he gets another term. I think that would be enough, and I think Democrats need to pound away at the dangers of Donald Trump, using Donald Trump's own words against him. And actions.

MOLLY JONG-FAST: Oh, no question, and I think that, look, there's a vacuum, when mainstream media does not cover a subject, there becomes a vacuum, and Trump and his people get into social media, and they spread stuff. And if there isn't a fair amount of debunking, you will see these lies go again and again and again.

. . . 

SCARBOROUGH: And now we go into '24, and the Biden White House, tell me about your reporting about how much do they recognize that '24 needs to be a referendum on Trump once again. His words on abortion, his words on violence, his words on terminating the Constitution, etc, etc. How big is that going to play?

JONATHAN LEMIRE: Oh, it's going to play a significant role. That's been the game plan all along. They spent a few months trying to make the positive case for Biden, particularly on the economy--the Bidenomics pitch. We know it hasn't really worked, hasn't translated yet in the polls, anyway.

And a lot of Democrats are getting really antsy about it. And are urging them to draw sharper contrasts with Donald Trump. And as we wrote right after the election, they have begun to do that.