Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 12, 2009

SCARBOROUGH KEEPS DIGGING.... Joe Scarborough's on-air commentary is nearly always disheartening, but this morning was especially frustrating.

I can appreciate why the former far-right Republican congressman is feeling a little sheepish right now. Yesterday, Media Matters released a video showing reactions from conservative media personalities in April to a report from the Department of Homeland Security, warning law enforcement about the potential for violence from fringe radicals. The clip montage shows Scarborough not only dismissing the DHS report, but laughing hysterically at the very idea behind the report. He told his national television audience that DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano "has gone nuts."

Of course, in light of the recent killings at the hand of some of these right-wing extremists, Scarborough's laughter and dismissive attitude appears especially misguided now.

This morning, perhaps feeling a little embarrassed, Scarborough lashed out at Paul Krugman, and doubled down on his unjustified criticism of the DHS report from April.

On Krugman, Scarborough said:

"As somebody that has to sort through a lot of hate mail, a lot of hate email, a lot of viciousness. Paul Krugman's name is attached to a lot of those emails. They use Paul Krugman as their shield for their left-wing hate. This is because Paul Krugman, like a lot of extremists on the right, they only see their side. They have a closed-minded world view. Paul Krugman uses this tragedy, uses this death to try to knock down his opponents on the right."

Scarborough can't (or won't) address the substance of Krugman's claims, so he finds it easier to equate the Nobel laureate with right-wing blowhards. As for the DHS report, Scarborough added:

"What upset most of us [about the document was] the fact not that they were targeting right-wingers, it's that they were targeting veterans."

Scarborough can keep saying that, but it doesn't make it true. In our reality, DHS warned of a possible resurgence among extremist groups that "will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat." The document, initiated by a Bush administration official, relied in part on a 2008 report from the FBI, for the Bush administration, which raised identical concerns.

It would never happen, but instead of lashing out, Scarborough should either avoid the subject altogether, or apologize for his insulting behavior.

Steve Benen 11:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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Don't hold your breath. And Jon Stewart is full of hate as well. It seems anyone who criticizes the reactionaries is full of hate. Strange coincidence that.

Posted by: jeer9 on June 12, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

But didn't you know, these killings were actually committed by left-wing extremists. Von Brunn, after all, is an anti-semitic white supremacist, and everyone knows that those guys are on the left, right?

Posted by: John on June 12, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Damn, Paul Krugman is a nobel prize winning economist. He's comparing Krugman to these right wing head cases. That's relatively anti-intellectual.

Posted by: glutz78 on June 12, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Scarborough is dead wrong on this affair - his hostile reception to the original report, his mocking attitude toward his mistaken on-air behavior regarding the report, his false equivalency with "left-haters", and his denegration of an esteemed economist.

Joe, have you no decency? Can't you be a man and unequivocally apologize for your rhetorical horrors? WE ARE WAITING! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on June 12, 2009 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Strange, the wingers take everything else on 24 as gospel - from the ticking bomb scenario to the existence of multiple threats against the USA, from within and without - so what's the big deal with extremist groups attempting to recruit returning veterans?

Who would they otherwise try to recruit - if you need plumbing done, you get a plumber; if you need fighting done, you get someone trained to do that.

The complete willingness to deny both reality and the obvious, is turning people such as Scarborough into laughing stocks.

Posted by: SteinL on June 12, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Liberalism is a Mental Disorder"
"The Party of Death"
"Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left

Kill the libs! Kill! Kill! Kill! Faster Pussycat!

Posted by: Lurtz on June 12, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Any student of history could tell you that extremist groups have been attempting to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat since the Peloponesian War, if not earlier. Why does the right have such a problem with common sense?

Posted by: rea on June 12, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Don't look for honesty from a man who wears a hairpiece.

Posted by: penalcolony on June 12, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Joe Scarborough is a dick.

Posted by: David Bailey on June 12, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Ignore Joe. It's all about the book. . .

Posted by: DAY on June 12, 2009 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Scarborough's behavior isn't insulting, it's calculated. That's why he whores for FOX, why he's paid what he's paid. To demand he "apologize" is foolish. In doing so, you imply he possesses a sense of honor. He doesn't.

Posted by: JL on June 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

I was watching Morning Joe and Scarborough's tone when he mention Paul Krugman was not only dismissive but you could hear the venom dripping. Scarborough has stated repeatedly on his show that he dislikes Krugman and has no respect for him, so his emotional and unreasoned outburst this morning is not surprising.

Posted by: CateT on June 12, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Scarborough and Mika are caricatures of themselves. I'd love to see a Saturday Night Live skit demonstrating his constant whining and her annoyed facial expressions. (Annoyed why? Who or what she's annoyed about at any particular moment is always a mystery.)

It could be like that SNL skit making fun of Sarah Palin where they didn't even have to write it. Use Scarborough's own words, just as they used Palin's. A live audience would laugh hysterically at his nonsense.

Posted by: Chris on June 12, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

"Don't look for honesty from a man who wears a hairpiece."

And splat goes my dirty iced chai :D

Posted by: DirtyIcedMudd on June 12, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Ever seen Morel Orel?
(The greatest thing ever done in claymation!)

I hear it was canceled partly due to hate mail from right wingers.

What tv show was ever canceled because leftists were freaked out?

Posted by: alan on June 12, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

The only way to understand Scarborough's comments is to remember that in the conservative mind it is "hateful" to document word for word (as Krugman did) the right wings hatefullness. What does Bill O'Reilly call Media Matters when the organization exposes O'Reilly's extemism to a wider audience by reprinting transcripts of his radio and cable broadcasts -- verbatim? He calls them a "Left Wing Smear Site." We know that the Radical Right refuses to accept responsibility for its actions. But it also looks as if they refuse to accept ownership for their own words.

Posted by: Ted Frier on June 12, 2009 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Joe gets hate mail?? He should prove it.

Posted by: pokeybob on June 12, 2009 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

somebody should tell Joe that he is a right wing blow hard.

Posted by: Jamie on June 12, 2009 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

And MSNBC took off the hat bearing Imus fora hair-pieced knuckle-head. So much for the liberal media bias.

Morning Joe's schtick is nauseating. My guess is that many who watch him lose a bit of their breakfast up into the back of their throats...

Posted by: stevio on June 12, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Here's what Joe's hate mail looks like:

"Dear Mr. Scarborough,
You are clearly wrong about _____. Here's exactly why. Coincidentally, people who are wrong about ____ also misunderstand the larger issue and analysis; this usually means that they are able to go on believing obvious bullshit, peddled by people with transparent personal and political biases.
Enjoy making an obscene salary to be a conservative dimwit while you can.
Your friend ____
p.s. also, Mike would totally fuck Paul Krugman before she'd screw you, and not just because he's smarter."

Posted by: (the other) Chris on June 12, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Don't you know, the bottom line is this - none of this violence would be occurring if saint McCain and Palin had been elected. It's all Obama's fault - he's black, he's Muslim, he's librul - that's why we must ALWAYS elect Repubs. CASE CLOSED.

Posted by: whichwitch on June 12, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

In the conservatives' false solicitude for veterans -- can Scarborough tell us about his service? -- it seems that the worst pre-9-11 terrorists in American history, McVeigh and Nichols, have gone down the memory hole. Both were veterans. I remember thinking at the time that we Vietnam Era veterans may have been no angels, but even the worst of us had not committed crimes remotely like that.

The Holocaust Museum killer claims to have been a World War II Navy veteran.

Posted by: Edward Furey on June 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Note Paul Hrugman is a Nobel LaureateJoe Scarborough is a racist, Rachel Maddow has a show that hs not been on a year that had been nominated for a prestigious award. Joe Scarborough's show has not.His show should nominated for the award but stunningly shallow and unfactual!

Posted by: mjohnston on June 12, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

When Scarborough wins the Nobel Prize in Economics* he can talk @%&$ about Krugman otherwise he neess to keep silent.

*I'd even take a Masters in Econ.

As one of my dad's friends said when I asked him a question about nuclear physics, "Sorry Kurt, you don't have the math." Well Scarborough does not have the education.

Posted by: Kurt on June 12, 2009 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Don't trust anyone with a hair piece"

Boehner and Dorgan are, collectively, offended. Cal Thomas says hair plugs and combovers don't count.

Posted by: berttheclock on June 12, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Scarborough can keep saying that, but it doesn't make it true.

Scarborough probably hopes that if he keeps saying that, it will make it true.

As Brad DeLong says, I'll stop referring to these people as "Orwellian" when they stop using 1984 as an instruction manual.

Posted by: Gregory on June 12, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

First of all, I'd like to know what Joe Scarborough considers to be "a ton of hate mail." Second, I'd really like to know what percentage of his hate mail REALLY mentinos Krugman. Because I have a funny feeling that the only hate mail he gets is from right-wingers who fault him for not towing enough of the party line and for being on the eeeeeevil MSNBC, and if they mention Krugman at all, it's only to refer to Joe for going easy on that Jew.

Krugman's smarter than you, Joe. He's a better person, he has more on the ball. But you're more photogenic, so in our glorious world, that means you win.

Once again, what we see is the supposedly liberal media trying to shout down what passes nowadays for a true "liberal" voice, which isn't that liberal, just honest and genuinely concerned about the road we're traveling down. He makes valid points that threatens the status quo, so dickbags like Scarborough will do what they can, if not to silence him, then at least to minimize his impact and trivilaize his opinion. If he can get people to not trust him, that's a win.

Posted by: slappy magoo on June 12, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Why, oh why does MSNBC give this moron 3 HOURS of air time every morning????

Posted by: Mauimom on June 12, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Scarborough, you mean the guy who made such reasoned observations in the Terri Schiavo case? That guy?
He was just being sarcastic with the Starbucks CEO, that guy?
His intellect is so strong, he can barely keep up with Mika, he definitely shouldn't be trying to outdo Jon Stewart. Or Krugman

Posted by: TJM on June 12, 2009 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Why, oh why does MSNBC give this moron 3 HOURS of air time every morning????

Um, "liberal media"?

Posted by: Gregory on June 12, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Von Brunn was a frequent poster on the far-rightwing hate site "Free Republic".

His hateful screed "Obama is Missing" is signed by him, IN HIS FULL NAME, James W. von Brunn, on December 02, 2008

It is still up on that site... check it out before it's removed.

His Free Republic nick was "wannabegeek"... read his other rightwing hate posts.

I don't know why the MSM is not covering this.

Google "Obama is Missing"

Here is a compilation of von Brunn's racist rants on the far rightwing hate site, "Free Republic".

See for yourself the thoughts of a racist, murdering rightwinger before they "vanish"...


Posted by: David on June 12, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Mauimom wrote: "Why, oh why does MSNBC give this moron 3 HOURS of air time every morning????"

Why, oh why doesn't Steve Benen ask this question?

I wouldn't want to suggest that maybe it's because bloggers who question the agenda of the corporate-owned media don't get invited to appear on the corporate-owned media's infotainment programs (e.g. Rachel Maddow).

It's OK to rail against Scarborough's BS, but not OK to challenge the people who pay Scarborough a big fat salary to spout that BS.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 12, 2009 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

He is an embarrassment to watch so expect nothing of value coming from him. Why on earth does he have a show, he's not bright at all, has very shallow insights and doesn't have any lips. He isn't even tolerable...just another ego maniac incapable of seeing himself as other see him.

btw...the financial committee is meeting to day to decide the health care issue and financing so please call congress and the 13 democratic senators involved and let them know you want a public option (actually we want single payer but they are refusing to listen). You can get the numbers from

Let Baucus and that idiot "just get a co-op with your neighbors chipping in to cover everybody" Conrad what you think and want. If enough call they'll pay attention.

Posted by: bjobotts on June 12, 2009 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Another reason to stop watching Morning Joe. I may be sleepy when I wake up but I can tell if my intelligence is being insulted by a sub-standard mind.Just quit watching this silliness or start writing the advertisers and complain to them.

Posted by: sonofdunnco on June 12, 2009 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

@ Chris on June 12, 2009 at 11:49 AM - Great Thought
Saturday Night Live here they come, Mourning Joe and his trained assistant.

Posted by: John R on June 12, 2009 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Oh god, went to that site and read "Obama Missing" and comments and those people are truly sick. They must never face opposing conversations and just shut their ears off. They obviously refuse to listen to anyone who doesn't already agree with them. Completely closed minded and dangerously opinionated...as long as they aren't breeding their willful ignorance they will stay a minority. They are like aliens...no make that...Paliens.

Posted by: bjobotts on June 12, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

And Krugman didn't have to mysteriously resign as a Senator when a certain office assistant was found dead in his office either.

Posted by: Cleo on June 12, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

They must never face opposing conversations and just shut their ears off.

Just try to make a comment that doesn;t reflect the consensus view. I got to 2 before they cut me off. I mentioned that John Murtha had actually earned medals in Viet-Nam. Didn't matter, he was on deck for abuse and that is that.
Go ahead, try it.

Posted by: TJM on June 12, 2009 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

It's all fun and games until somebody gets blown up in a a freak cruise missile accident.

If any Dem had been one-tenth as wrong as the FOX mouthpieces they would be off the air within seconds. Wanna bet nobody on FOX loses their job?

Posted by: MarkH on June 12, 2009 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Scarborough is lying.
He's lying about the volume of his hate mail.
He's lying about Krugman.
If you look carefully you can see that his entire statement is a misinformation and a deflection based on projecting his political factions behavior on to his opponents.
He is a disgrace.

Why is all politics in America Civil War politics?

Posted by: Northern Observer on June 12, 2009 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK



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