On Morning Joe today, Mark Sanford’s affair was, of course, a major topic. But Joe castigated the “cable news pundits” from the previous night who took “unbridled glee” in Sanford’s fall. Scarborough said some of those pundits “are on this network.” And he likened them, in a way I haven’t quite figured out yet, as the Jim and Tammy Fay Baker of pundit class. Or something like that.
He’s obviously referring to Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow, the unabashedly liberal show costs in the evening lineup. I’ve heard him, at other times, criticize Olberman in particular, sometimes by name.
Scarborough drips with disdain for Olberman. I’m not sure why, but I suspect it has more to do with style than politics. Yes, Olberman’s a liberal and Scarborough is a conservative (who just published a book about the conservative movement in which he strongly criticizes Barack Obama). But I think it has more to do with fairness.
Olberman is a sensationalist who gets his jollies using his considerable verbal skills to criticize anyone who’s not a liberal. Scarborough, on the other hand, restrains his conservative leanings in order to treat guests fairly, and to take a balanced view of both sides of an issue. He regularly criticizes Republicans. This makes Morning Joe infinitely better than Olberman’s show, and is why Joe manages to draw such a broad range of guests.
This morning, after going on about this, Joe turned to Mike Barnacle and said, “Should we name names, or go to commercial?”
Barnacle cautioned, “I would go to commercial, Joe.” And they did. I was disappointed, but I suspect Barnacle’s call was the prudent one.