Chris Reeves was an intern in the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division.
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As the countdown towards a possible government shutdown began on Friday, Morning Joe’s pundits were already obsessed by the question of who would be to blame. Co-host Joe Scarborough was particularly set on holding both President Trump and congressional Republicans responsible for any failure to reach a deal on continuing to fund the government beyond midnight.
On Wednesday, The New York Times published an op-ed from guest contributor Steven Buser, a clinical psychiatrist who previously worked for the U.S. Air Force. Unfortunately, instead of providing actual insight about President Trump’s mental health, Buser used his authority as a former evaluator of airmen who worked with nuclear weapons as a license to commit psychiatric malpractice. Without providing any concrete evidence, Buser portrayed Trump as a potential existential threat who is mentally unstable enough to launch an “impulsive first strike nuclear attack” on some unnamed foe. In response to this imaginary crisis, Buser urged Congress to pass a bill that would seriously hinder America’s capacity to respond to nuclear threats.
On Thursday’s Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough doubled down on his promotion of the “girther” conspiracy theory by repeatedly attacking the character and integrity of Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, the official Physician to the President. The MSNBC host labeled the doctor a “shameful” man who “sounded like a sycophant” and used “the words of a political hack.”
On Wednesday’s Morning Joe, co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski sunk to a new low by promoting an Internet conspiracy theory claiming that White House physician Ronny Jackson lied to reporters on Tuesday when he announced the results of Trump’s physical exam. For his part, Scarborough questioned not only Jackson’s report of Trump’s weight, but also the doctor’s finding that the President is in good mental health.
On Tuesday’s Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough made three separate impassioned pleas to Democrats to use Trump’s “shithole countries” comments as a pretext to seize the moral and political high ground and demand passage of a clean DACA bill. In demanding amnesty for Obama’s “dreamers,” Scarborough called on Democrats to vote for shutting down the government instead of giving any concessions to conservative Republicans regarding immigration reform or a border wall.
On Monday’s Morning Joe, as part of their nearly three-hour long marathon of anti-Trump hate in reaction to the President’s alleged comments describing Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “shithole countries,” co-host Joe Scarborough brought on just the right person to attack Trump as a race-baiter–the Reverend Al Sharpton himself. Apparently unaware of the intense irony, Scarborough presented Sharpton as a legitimate voice of moral authority on questions of racism and both MSNBC pundits went on at length about how Trump’s true political “agenda is to race-bait and bring [America] backwards” “100 years.”
After nearly three hours of hyperventilating about President Trump’s purported comments last Thursday describing Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries as “shitholes,” Monday’s Morning Joe brought on author and NBC Political Analyst Anand Giridharadas to discuss Trump’s “radical,” “reactionary,” and “racist” comments. Predictably, Giridharadas did not have many kind words for the President, declaring that it was, in fact, America that was being turned into the “real s-hole” by Trump.
On Friday’s Morning Joe, the show’s liberal pundits could not contain their shock and horror at yesterday’s news that President Trump allegedly called Haiti, El Salvador, and several African nations “shithole countries.” While co-host Joe Scarborough saw the incident as more evidence that Trump is “in the early stages of dementia,” guest panelist Donny Deutsch and MSNBC National Affairs Analyst John Heilemann saw far more sinister undertones in Trump’s comments.
On Thursday’s Morning Joe, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens was brought on to promote his December 29 column explaining why he still considers himself to be an adherent of the “Never Trump” movement. In spite of expressing his agreement with many of the Trump administration’s actual policy positions, Stephens argued that Trump’s poor personal character and harsh criticism of the liberal media and FBI/DOJ leadership is “systematically corroding, corrupting, and [...] destroying our culture of governance” and thus negates any of his key political achievements.
On Wednesday, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof published a column promoting an upcoming book by Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt arguing that President Trump shows the “four warning signs” of being a “dangerous authoritarian.”
On Wednesday’s Morning Joe, reacting to President Trump’s comments during an open door meeting with top members of Congress about DACA and immigration reform, co-host Joe Scarborough argued that Trump’s performance was indicative of his supposedly deteriorating mental state and even stooped to mocking Trump as a doddering, forgetful, and schizophrenic old man who listens to “voices in his head” for political advice.
In a stunning admission that contradicted Scarborough’s numerous past attempts to paint Trump as sociopathic, homicidally insane, and suffering from predementia, Joe responded to Greenfield’s arguments by conceding that in regards to these sorts of claims about Trump’s mental instability: “You have to have [...] objective evidence, the sort of objective evidence that we do not have and most likely will not have.”
On Monday’s Morning Joe, co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were both back in-studio to talk to Michael Wolff about his new anti-Trump book Fire and Fury. In a wide-ranging 25-minute interview, Wolff went after his critics at the New York Times and Washington Post, repeatedly called the President’s mental health into question, and even insisted that “100%” of Trump’s “closest” advisors in the White House think that there is “something fundamentally wrong, something that scares them” about the President.
In spite of growing evidence that Michael Wolff’s explosive new book Fire and Fury should not be treated as the epitome of truthful and accurate reporting, Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson were still keeping the faith and treating it as the Holy Grail of recording the true story behind the internal workings of the Trump administration.
On Friday’s Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough and Washington Post columnist David Ignatius tried to explain the current anti-government protests in Iran by painting a broader picture of a “red state Iran” and a “blue state Iran.” Scarborough described “red state Iran” as a place that “wanted to keep the mullahs in charge,” whereas “[b]lue state Iran wanted to move Iran into the 20th century.”
In the wake of the immense political conflagration that Michael Wolff’s upcoming book Fire and Fury has caused, Thursday’s Morning Joe was almost entirely consumed by discussion of all its salacious claims and their implications for the Trump White House. Even though multiple guest panelists on the show admitted to the shaky factual foundation for Wolff’s book and the unproven nature of many of his assertions, they nevertheless largely treated his testament as gospel.
On Tuesday’s Deadline: White House, MSNBC’s pundits continued their pattern of shameless anti-journalism coverage. While in the midst of a discussion about the latest Trump-Russia collusion story, New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters and MSNBC contributor Charlie Sykes went on the warpath against Trump for his recent tweet calling for an investigation of longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and former FBI Director James Comey for mishandling of classified information.
On Tuesday’s Morning Joe, economic analyst Steve Rattner used a series of charts and graphs to deliver a supposedly straight, facts-oriented report about President Trump’s federal judicial nominations to date. However, Rattner could not help but devolve into standard left-wing talking points impugning Trump as a racist patriarch looking to deliberately exclude non-whites and women from the bench.
On Wednesday, The New York Times closed out a shameful year-long campaign to whitewash and rehabilitate the legacy of communism by publishing yet another op-ed praising the Soviet Union. In spite of having spent ten years travelling throughout Russia talking to people about their family histories and memories of the Soviet period, writers Olga Shevchenko and Oksana Sarkisova were apparently unable to find any relatives of the more than 20 million people who were murdered during the course of political purges, forced collectivization, or starvation genocide. Instead, they mostly focused on those with pleasant memories of living under the totalitarian regime’s nightmarish police state.
On Wednesday’s Morning Joe, MSNBC news anchor and NBC News correspondent Katy Tur joined her fellow pundits to lament the current state of political affairs in America after a year of Donald Trump’s presidency. In spite of her long history of false claims, distortions, and apologia on behalf of liberal politicians and causes, Tur had the audacity to complain that “we’re in our tribes. We’re screaming across social media. And we’re allowing it to divide us.”