Yesterday, Morning Joe was interrupted mid-show with news of the shooting of GOP House Whip Steve Scalise and several others at a baseball diamond in Alexandria, Virginia. The story went on to dominate most of cable news coverage for the rest of the day.
Almost 24 hours later, Scarborough finally got his chance to weigh in, opening up his Thursday show with a heartfelt plea for all sides to dial back the rhetoric.
“The heated rhetoric in this country has to calm down. We’ve been saying it on this show for a decade,” he said. “There has been a disconnect in American society, in American culture, and in American politics.”
Of course, being fully transformed into an Upper West Side, Starbucks toting, New York City media elite, the former Floridian couldn’t help taking some pointed shots at his own industry:
The hate, said Scarborough was “driven in part by social media, driven in part by heated cable news, driven in part by fake news on the Internet, driven in part by hate mongers who actually make money and become fabulously wealthy creating conspiracy theories that paint the other side as evil.”
He then made a pointed reference to Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was grievously wounded by another gunman in 2011, and noted how networks had responded at the time by firing their nuttiest voices.
“After Gabby Giffords, you had cable news president’s firing some of their more extreme voices and I remember everybody over at Fox Ness on the right and MSNBC on the left at the time telling everybody, you’ve got to calm down. This is for real. There are guard rails we have to put up there.”
Given Scarborough’s own longstanding feud with another anchor on a rival network — who will remain nameless, it’s hard not to speculate about whether he was speaking about anyone in particular.
The former Congressman closed with an unusual note of praise for Donald Trump and several others for their response to the attack.
“We’ve been awfully hard on President Trump. I want to salute the president for what he said yesterday. I want to salute the members of Congress for what they said yesterday. I salute the New York Times, people on the right and the left for talking about the need for dialing back this.”
[image via screengrab]
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