Joe Scarborough ordered MSNBC’s control room to censor conservative columnist Ann Coulter Tuesday after she called 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain (R-AZ) a “douchebag.”
Coulter was explaining why Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were superior to John McCain when her mic was cut.
“I don’t think consistency is such a great value,” she said. “John McCain was consistent.”
“What did I say? Douchebag?” Coulter asked as the audio briefly returned.
“Just blur it all out,” Scarborough told the control room.
“OK, well they got the general drift of that,” Coulter continued. “Consistency is not a great thing, and especially someone like John McCain who consistently annoyed conservatives, bragged about annoying conservatives, and would claim he was courageous by attacking conservatives and getting good press in The New York Times.”
Coulter is backing Romney, who she says is now a true conservative because “he’s flopped to my positions.”
“I think Romney is conservative now,” she opined. “[W]hat do [Republican voters] not understand about ‘Massachusetts most liberal state in the union, he ran against Teddy Kennedy’? I mean, you’re flipping from positions you held when you came within 5 points of taking out that human pestilence.”
While Scarborough was not offended enough by the “human pestilence” slur to order Coulter bleeped, guest Mike Barnicle did object.
“We miss him in Massachusetts, and I think the country, and especially the Senate,” Barnicle said. “[I]f Ted Kennedy had been alive, that health care debate would have lasted about five months.”
(Update: Scarborough later tweeted, “I am proud to say that Teddy Kennedy was a friend and was very kind to me when others were not. I miss him.”)
MSNBC’s Morning Joe has a history with not bleeping dirty words. In 2008, Scarborough didn’t even notice at first that he had used the word “fuck” on the air himself. And earlier this year, the network suspended Time‘s Mark Halperin after he called President Barack Obama a “dick.”
The FCC doesn’t regulate cable channels like MSNBC, and even if they did, “douchebag” is a word that is heard regularly on the public airwaves.
It’s not clear why MSNBC would choose to censor “douchebag,” yet let “fuck” and “dick” make it on the air.
But McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, who just began working as a commentator for MSNBC last week, probably appreciates the gesture.
Watch this video from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast Nov. 29, 2011.