Joe Scarborough






Listening to Morning Joe these days has become such an irritating experience for many. But it never used to be so. For many years, personally, I was a huge fan of the program. The reason was Joe Scarborough, its host. His program was brought in as a replacement for “Imus in the Morning”, which had been pulled after Don Imus, its presenter, used a racial slur on the Black members of a women’s basket ball team in 2007. The difference between Imus and Scarborough couldn’t be clearer. Where the former was coarse, shallow, insufficiently informed about issues and boring to death, the latter was, on the contrary, polished, sophisticated, telegenic, compellingly well-informed and largely dispassionate in his analysis of things. Not that Scarborough didn’t have his seamy sides. He was, after all, one of those right-wing Republican congressmen under the devilish sway of then Speaker Newt Gingrich who attempted but failed to remove President Bill Clinton from office in that ill-conceived impeachment madness. And of course there were moments when Scarborough just couldn’t help being a “Republican” who happened to be hosting a TV show. He could also get easily irritated when you got under his skin. But his minuses paled in comparison to his talents, which included his sharply analytical intellect.

Morning Joe has since changed, of course. Why it did in such a breathtakingly crazy fashion from the must-watch morning TV it once was, to its current theater of the absurd where all you mostly get for your time investment is craven hero-worship of Donald Trump and the mindless savaging of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton by Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, remains a conundrum worthy of the contemplation of sensible men.

Joined by some of his regulars, Scarborough never saw an opportunity to rubbish Hillary that he didn’t like. Such, sadly, has remained a depressingly familiar feature of his program.  But it sometimes comes as a personal relief when you have your cell phone in hand and promptly respond with a snarky tweet. If you go to the twitter feed on #morningjoe on weekdays, you’ll see the endless avalanche of angry responses coming down the pike — second after second —  from viewers pissed off by the politically prejudiced, Imus-like views he and some of his sidekicks now delight in purveying. It’s beyond disgusting what his program has been turned to. One might almost say that Morning Joe has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of right-wing paymasters.

I used to wonder how further low Scarborough could go with Morning Joe. Monday morning, he proved his gradual descent into the  absurd is limitless when he focused his attention not on Hillary this time, but on President Barack Obama and in so disrespectful a manner as to be truly pathetic.

Scarborough’s grouse is simply that President Obama is not doing nearly enough militarily to combat the fast growing threat of ISIS, the Syria-based terrorist organization. In fairness, many Americans, including yours sincerely, share this notion, especially after the tragic fate of the Russian airliner that was downed by the group and, following that, its claim of responsibility for the Paris massacre of last week. Now you could make a legitimate argument for why America under Obama leadership needed to have done more by now.

Not so Scarborough. In his classic querulous manner Monday morning, the host of Morning Joe sailed viciously into the President of the United States in one of those painful-to-watch rants for which he has since become known. Scarborough was disrespectful, dismissive and aggravating like one of those male Republican members on the now discredited Benghazi committee who harangued Hillary endlessly at its October hearing a month ago. You would think the President of the United States was a school boy being reprimanded by  his supercilious teacher for a shoddily executed homework. It was as shameful as that. Personally offended by Scarborough’s disrespect, I sent the following tweet: “Somebody has to convince me Scarborough is not smoking something. He’s just treating the POTUS so disrespectfully night now.”  The tweet got several retweets and likes.

The days before, many things had happened that should have drawn either the fair attention or the condemnation of any man hosting a television program, no matter his party affiliation. For instance, two days before, on Saturday November 21, John Bel Edwards of Louisiana became the first Democrat elected governor of a Southern state since Obama became president. You would think that was significant enough to be used in the opening segment of Morning Joe which last aired the previous Friday. Alas, that wasn’t the case.

Or take Donald Trump. He was in the news the same Saturday, not for anything ennobling or morally uplifting, you understand, but for something so crazy and stupid as condoning the racially motivated attack on a Black man who had gone to his campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, to protest what he considered to be the unfair treatment of Blacks in American society. The fellow, Mercutio Southhall Jr., was kicked, punched and chocked by Trump’s White supporters. They called him “monkey”  and the “n” word. When asked about the incident the following day by Fox News, Trump responded, “Maybe he should have been roughed up.” If that sad incident got a sharp rebuke from Scarborough on Monday, well, I didn’t see it. What I saw instead was Scarborough mocking Obama for his dwindling poll numbers and lionizing Trump for his rising polls figures.

Such from a man I used to admire tremendously; a man who I’d once vowed would get my vote automatically if he ever ran for the Oval Office as he’d considered doing some years back. Something surely has happened to Scarborough. That thing is certainly not caffeine from Starbucks coffee which he’s fond of on the set. I don’t know if he’ smoking something. If he does, I hope he lays off it pretty fast. It is certainly not good for the health of what used to be the most liked morning television. I have spoken.