Accuracy in Media

There used to be a time when Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, considered himself-and was considered-a conservative. He was a presenter at the 2004 Media Research Center (MRC) Dishonors Awards, which “honors” the most blatant and biased examples of distorted liberal reporting at a dinner that includes hilarious clips of the offending statements. Recently, however, Scarborough put himself up for a nomination, as he devoted his show to the question, “Is Bush an Idiot?,” and won the plaudits of the Washington Post and the left-wing bloggers at Mother Jones.

I say to my friends at the MRC, who have been kind enough to include me as a judge of those awards for many years now, that Scarborough should be “honored” at the next dinner for his pathetic excuse of a program. It is obvious that Scarborough, like his associate Keith Olbermann, has decided that he needs to increase his audience by appealing to the anti-Bush fringe.

The producers at the ratings-starved Scarborough show hit on the perfect theme guaranteed to make one famous in the liberal press. But Scarborough is the one who came across looking like a buffoon, if not an idiot.

During a follow-up appearance on MSNBC, where it was proclaimed by anchor Amy Rohbach that the video of this particular show on Bush had been played thousands of times on iTube!, Scarborough repeated his claim that a number of conservatives in and out of Congress think Bush is a shallow thinker. But he wouldn’t name any names, except to say that he doesn’t think Bush is an idiot. He’s either a coward or he’s making it all up.

I had fled “Scarborough Country” a while back, having been dismayed by nauseating segments on celebrities. It was becoming truly difficult to watch.  Here are some ground-breaking “stories” covered by Scarborough:

  • Still ahead on Scarborough Country. First it was Oprah. Now Madonna is the latest celebrity crashing weddings?Plus, a catfight on the catwalk.  What was that movie? Two supermodels face off for the title of the body.

  • A French paparazzi magazine got itself into hot water today by publishing a picture of this French politician scantily clad on the beach.

  • And finally, the shocking news, fans of “Saved by the Bell” probably aren’t shocked by it, but Dustin Diamond, the actor who played Screech, was mugged.  Jill, what happened to this? I heard he was mugged by a girl.

  • Still ahead: a controversial new music video showed Jesus smoking, drinking and gambling. That sounds like my college friends. Why does trashing Jesus Christ sell records in Hollywood?

  • And later, KISS rocker Gene Simmons opens up about life, sex and Mel Gibson.

The issue isn’t Bush. It’s whether Scarborough regards his audience as a bunch of idiots. In any case, this “average Joe” has lost touch with with the heartland he once represented in Congress.

Scarborough’s lurch to the left is unfortunately typical of what has been happening at the network. We had hoped that Dan Abrams, the former host turned MSNBC executive, would make better use of conservative Monica Crowley, but she has been reduced to occasional appearances as an anchor. She deserves her own show and, considering Scarborough’s erratic conduct, should be given his time slot.

Crowley was in the anchor chair when Abrams “broke” the story that a suspect in the Ramsey murder case had been found. That “exclusive” looks increasingly shaky. Abrams should spend less time obtaining questionable exclusives and more time putting real conservatives on the air.

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