Columns, Opinion

BERMAN: We all could use some “Morning Joe”

I’ve never been a huge fan of Twitter. It seems like half of the tweets I come across are written by couch potatoes who type away furiously on their phones (which is probably true). The “tweeters” of these tweets aren’t limited to countless crazy uncles around the world. Journalists are included in this maelstrom as well. The journalist I have in mind is Chris Cuomo, host of CNN’s “New Day.”

About a week and a half ago, he tweeted, “They have always been boosters. Things turned south when trump froze them out but coverage always stilted. They are transition spokesmen now”

The “they” in the tweet are the political commentators Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who co-host MSNBC’s morning show cleverly named “Morning Joe.” The show, unlike the nightly shows on MSNBC (Hardball, The Rachel Maddow Show, etc.), is co-hosted by a conservative (Scarborough) and liberal (Brzezinski).

You should not discount Cuomo’s commentary as a rival who is simply looking for more viewers. However, Cuomo, who should not even be considered a journalist because his tweeted liberal bias, does touch upon a weird relationship between “Morning Joe” and Trump. This tweet was in response to Trump’s book in which he praises “Morning Joe.”

As said by Hadas Gold of Politico, there is a sort of off-again, on-again relationship between “Morning Joe” and Donald Trump. One minute Trump is praising the commentators and is calling into the show live, the next Trump is calling Brzezinski “crazy and very dumb.” In another twist, Trump follows the “Morning Joe” hosts on Twitter. Trump follows only 41 accounts and about half of them are either businesses he owns or relatives.

One might assume that Morning Joe is inconsistent with its analysis of Trump because of their “ambivalent” relationship, yet that is far from the case. As a semi-consistent watcher of the show for over a year, I have seen Scarborough and Brzezinski consistently criticize Trump for his actions and views. However, both hosts, but especially Scarborough, have always taken Trump’s chances for victory seriously. While most news programs were discounting Trump as a fling, Morning Joe took Trump’s chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination seriously. After Trump won it quite handily, “Morning Joe” seemingly anticipated a Clinton win, but did not discount the possibility of Trump carrying the Rust Belt to victory.

“Morning Joe” isn’t like other morning shows. It isn’t completely biased like Fox and Friends, it isn’t lackluster like New Day, and it isn’t as fluffy as the “TODAY” show. “Morning Joe” also isn’t objective. If you want an objective news source, read a newspaper. Morning Joe displays a dichotomy of viewpoints and brings on intelligent commentators, journalists and experts. Both co-hosts of “Morning Joe” have rightly criticized Rudy Giuliani for being unfit to serve as secretary of state (he is currently on the shortlist for that position).

I am not a fan of a lot of Scarborough’s opinions, like his favorability toward ExxonMobil’s CEO for the secretary of state position or Brzezinski’s disdain for the Clintons. Yet I still believe there are ample voices on the show that contribute to a diverse conversation. While the mainstream media was in a frenzy over Trump’s phone call with Taiwan, the discussion on “Morning Joe” was more tempered and realistic.

Scarborough also made a great point about the implications of the phone call in the eyes of an “everyday Joe” (pun intended).

“It’s hard to be offended by a phone call when we gave them $2 billion in military equipment last year. And that is the sort of thing as I continue to pick on the same town, that a dude sitting watch TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania is going, ‘Huh? Really? What’s wrong with you people in Washington. You’re pissed off about a phone call but you’re giving them $2 billion in military equipment,”’ Scarborough said.

Then, the renowned Eugene Robinson eloquently responded, “Well, diplomacy is complicated.”

The takeaway? You need your “Morning Joe.”

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