Take your pick: Scarborough ‘bashes’ own network or Rand Paul

By David Edwards and Ron Brynaert
Friday, May 21, 2010 14:48 EDT
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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, seemed to take an odd shot at his own network while practicing — what some might call — damage control for Rand Paul Friday morning on his show.

But then after arguing by Twitter over a blog post at the prominent liberal website, Think Progress (which is a project of the Center for American Progress, whose founder and CEO, John Podesta, served as White House Chief of Staff to President William J. Clinton), both realized that they were on the same side — at least on on this aspect: Rachel Maddow did well, MSNBC rocks and Rand Paul screwed up.

“I will not mention any names, but I’ll just say one of the top conservative leaders in Washington, DC, not elected, but a real opinion-shaper, had two questions,” Scarborough said with regards to Paul’s interview with MSNBC’s Maddow on Wednesday night which has pretty much ruined and overshadowed his GOP senate primary victory earlier this week.

Scarborough told his viewers,

First of all, how could he have been so stupid to have walked into this type of controversy? And secondly, this is part of a news story so I’m going to say it, what the hell was he doing on MSNBC? This isn’t an anti-MSNBC situation but you don’t find a whole lot of very liberal Democrats going on Fox News election night or the night after to do their victory lap. They’re wondering whether he’s ready for prime time.

At Think Progress, Faiz Shakir blogged that “Scarborough seemed to take Paul’s side and threw his own network under the bus.”

Shakir adds,

Maddow provided Paul a fair forum, giving him approximately 15 minutes to explain his views. The “poor political decision” that Paul made was not in appearing on her show, but rather in opposing portions of the Civil Rights Act. Rather than applauding his network’s journalistic feat, Scarborough is bashing it because his preferred candidate didn’t fare well.

“Please don’t lie about what I said. I reported on what DC conservatives said. Attack my small government views but don’t lie,” Scarborough tweeted in response to Shakir’s write-up.

Think Progress replied on its Twitter account, “We’ll add an update, but to clarify: Do you believe it was a mistake for Rand Paul to appear for an interview with Rachel Maddow?”

Despite what he said on his show Friday, Scarborough tweeted back, “I liked seeing him on Maddow. Morning Joe has liberals & conservatives on every day. I was glad to see others doing the same. My feeling is that if a politician can’t handle an interview, they can’t handle the Senate. Dr. Rand Paul did it to himself, he should said yes I agree with Civil Right as written. period.”

“Seriously, what’s tough about answering that you support the Civil Rights Act? Rachel was fair so why not go on her show?” Scarborough continued, before adding, “Thanks. I really appreciate your intellectual honesty on this discussion. Hope you have a good weekend.”

Think Progress responded, “Appreciate your willingness to engage. We agree on everything you’ve said.”

On the other side of the political pond, Newsbusters’ Mark Finkelstein (who apparently could also benefit from a Tweet or two from Scarborough to make more sense of his somewhat-confusing, early morning, name-no-names rant which neither the left or right could figure out correctly) writes, “Joe Scarborough might not have won any brownie points with his employer, but he gets credit for candor.”

“Oh to be an olive when Joe and Rachel sip martinis together at the MSNBC TGIF,” Finkelstein added, unaware that Scarborough was never criticizing Maddow or his network in the first place.

This video is from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast May 21, 2010.

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