During Monday’s episode of Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough got into a shoutfest with former White House adviser David Axelrod over Scarborough’s attempts to create a panicked state surrounding the spread of the Ebola virus in the United State. This was a continuation of a conversation between the two that began on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. During a panel discussion on MTP, Axelrod called out Scarborough for fear-mongering when it comes to Ebola. Axelrod also took Scarborough to task for insinuating that we can’t trust the White House because of their handling of other issues, like the IRS ‘scandal.’
Below is what Scarborough said on MTP, which led to him and Axelrod going at it.
And right now, a lot of Americans are seeing what happened in Dallas and looking at your laundry list, what happened with the secret service, what happened with the IRS, what happened with the VA, what happened with ISIS being a JV team. So when anybody, any member of the government says, “Hey, just relax, everything’s going to be okay,” Americans don’t believe that.
“It’s growing to such a level in West Africa, that now is when you would start saying – Kent Brantly said, a guy who knows something about this because he had it. He said this is a fire from hell, and if you think that the Atlantic Ocean is going to stop it from coming over here, you’re kidding yourself.”
Salon’s Simon Malloy wrote about Scarborough’s insistence that he was only “asking tough questions,’ pointing out that it is nothing more than a ploy utilized by pundits to distance themselves from offering opinions on certain subjects.
“I’m just asking questions” is another classic dodge used by pundits who want to offer an opinion on a controversial topic but also want to disavow ownership of that opinion. See, Joe Scarborough wasn’t saying that nobody trusts the U.S. government to protect us from the coming Ebola plague – that’s just what “a lot of Americans” think based on one (out-of-context) quote from an Ebola doctor. He’s just putting the question out there by stating it as fact and not asking any actual questions. It’s “reported analysis.”
Malloy took umbrage with Scarborough’s comments on the show, specifically where he used statements from Brantly to justify his hyperbolic comments about a possible epidemic in the United States. Brantly is an American doctor who contracted Ebola in West Africa and was treated in the United States. He has recovered and later appeared before the Senate to testify about the disease and the dangers it presents to the United States. Scarborough definitely took his words out of context as it was clear in his testimony he wasn’t suggesting that the United States was on the brink of a large-scale epidemic.
During Monday’s show, Scarborough continued his temper tantrum. Besides having on Axelrod, he brought on right-wing columnist Matt Lewis to help double-team Axelrod. Obviously, Lewis was there to provide cover for Joe and present the argument that President Obama cannot be trusted when it comes to being truthful about the Ebola virus and the danger it presents the American people. Scarborough once again insisted he was only asking the “tough questions” and wasn’t trying to fear monger or cause panic.
Below is video of the entire segment, courtesy of MSNBC:
Axelrod did get a nice shot in on Scarborough early on when he wondered how he was able to get through his years in Congress when he is obviously so sensitive to criticism. However, for the most part, it was basically just Scarborough and Lewis taking turns pushing conspiracy theories about the White House while simultaneously claiming that Axelrod just wants to pretend everything is hunky dory. In Joe’s mind, he is Axelrod is just an Obama stooge that won’t ever question POTUS, while Scarborough is a hero to real America by using his TV time to stoke unnecessary fear, all in the name of criticizing the President. Because, you know, that’s kind of how conservative pundits roll.