Monday, December 01, 2014


The opinions expressed by Joe Scarborough over the course of a seventeen-minute segment about Ferguson this morning were painful enough: not just that Michael Brown was a "thug" who had a lethal bullet coming to him, but that it's a mean-spirited attack on cops to dare to question the shooting of Cleveland's Tamir Rice, a twelve-year-old carrying a toy gun -- all of it frames as a harangue against St. Louis Rams football players for making a gesture of solidarity with Ferguson protesters, which Scarborough described as "the last straw" (because God forbid anything even fleetingly unpleasant should come between a suburban dad and his football). No, it wasn't just the opinions that were galling -- it was the way Scarborough turned the harangue itself into an extended example of white alpha-male privilege, as he browbeat his panel of subordinates, demanding deference to his take on the Ferguson situation, which, he insisted, was clearly superior and not subject to criticism. ("And by the way, if I've offended anybody by saying what I've said, trust me, 95 percent of America think just like me," he said at one point.)

Watching it is like watching a hostage situation, or the worst Thanksgiving dinner with a right-ing relative jagged out on alcohol and caffeine. Co-host Mika Brzezinski is so intimidated or beaten down, she's virtually silent. Wes Moore is all but required to concede that the Ferguson protesters have no moral leg to stand on. And Mark Halperin ... well, if even Mark Halperin is taken aback by your own chest-thumping sense of your own alpha-hood, and your belief that you're entitled not to have empathy, then you've gone pretty far off the deep end.

I grant that Michael Brown's behavior was not unfailingly exemplary on his last day. I agree that looting accomplishes nothing positive. And I know that Scarborough tries to give himself a moral out by acknowledging some racial inequities, and by reminding us that he's on the liberals' side with regard to George Zimmerman.

But to know what black people go through every day in their relations with the police, to recognize that they never know when their lives may be ended by a cop, and not to respond to this in a human way -- sorry, but it's unconscionable. To decide instead that you're the aggrieved party because someone dared to make a political gesture you disagree with when you were trying to watch a football game, to treat that as a massive grievance, is an act of mind-boggling narcissism. Scarborough demands that everyone defer to the cops at all times, even when they threaten to shoot you for getting out of the car after a traffic stop. He uses this segment to effectively become the cop-as-terrorist before whom he wants us all to prostrate ourselves.


Uncle Mike said...

"And by the way, if I've offended anybody by saying what I've said, trust me, 95 percent of America think just like me."

If that's true, then it just means 95 percent of America are racist assholes, not that Joe's opinion is worthy.

Victor said...

Cup O' Schmoe is so full of himself and his smug suburban white righteousness.

His show is unwatchable - except, of course, for fellow DC MSM Villagers.

You're a better man than I, Steve, for watching that political tripe.

BKT said...

No, Uncle Mike-- Scarborough means 95% of what HE considers "America" agrees with him. Just like Sarah Palin's invoking of "real Americans" when she decries anything she disagrees with.

But Joe's wrong. I expect 100% of his "America" agrees with his stupid rant.

Ten Bears said...

And they're All racist assholes.

Stellours said...

I can't stand the way Mika is silent.

At least with liberals we're able to explain why we think the way we do and defend ourselves.

With these guys it's the 'obey the patriarch!' grrr! Me say so!

Then I can't help feel sorry for their poor childhoods they must have had that they can't overcome.

Rand Careaga said...

"I grant that Michael Brown's behavior was not unfailingly exemplary on his last day."

Come, come. I've seen no evidence that any of Brown's conduct that day was exemplary, which is not to say he deserved to die for roughing up a shopkeeper and mouthing off to a cop. He does, though, seem in some respects a slender reed on which to place the burden of very real oppression and injustice. If you want a poster child for that sort of thing, I’d go with a real child: Tamir Rice, the bored pre-teen whose interaction with the cops lasted all of five seconds before he was shot dead. That episode, I think, is a starker example of the problem.