MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough — who’s been off “Morning Joe” this week as he recovers from sinus surgery — gave a lengthy interview to Newsbusters talking about his life as a Republican lawmaker, his transition to TV and the role he plays as “Morning Joe” frontman.
“[T]he analogy that I always give to somebody is that I am paid, and I am paid well by NBC News to play the role of John Madden. They don’t pay me to given an opinion like Rachel Maddow would give an opinion or Bill O’Reilly would give an opinion. I can give my opinion, but they want me looking at the football game and telling everybody what just happened and what’s going to happen and to lay things out.”
Of the show, Scarborough adds, “I love the format. I love the ability of bringing people on and being able to interview them for ten, fifteen minutes. You just can’t do that anywhere else on cable or broadcast TV.” Scarborough was in deep talks with CBS News to bring the format to the network. “Morning Joe” co-creator Chris Licht left MSNBC for CBS this summer. (CBS announced Charlie Rose and Gayle King will front a similar program on for the network beginning in January.)
Back to Scarborough, HuffPost’s Michael Calderone caught this part of the interview, about Scarborough sidekicks Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist: Brzezinski is “pro-life and pro-guns” and Geist is “dead in the center” of American politics.
Continue on for that part of the interview…
NEWSBUSTERS: Alright, so a typical lineup when the program opens in the morning could be you with Mika on your right who’s extremely liberal, correct?
SCARBOROUGH: Mika is liberal in some areas, she’s also conservative in areas that would surprise you on social issues. She’s pro-Life and pro-guns.
NEWSBUSTERS: But you consider her to be liberal.
NEWSBUSTERS: Then on her right might be New York magazine’s John Heilemann who is also extremely liberal. On his right might be the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein who is also extremely liberal. And on his right is Willie Geist who I would put probably center-left. Would you agree?
SCARBOROUGH: I’m sorry, who would you put center-left?
NEWSBUSTERS: Willie Geist.
SCARBOROUGH: No, I wouldn’t agree with that. In fact, I would say that’s wrong.
NEWSBUSTERS: What do you think Willie is?
SCARBOROUGH: I think Willie’s an independent. Yesterday when I was off the air, which, by the way, if NewsBusters wants to know the yoke that I carry every day, just look at yesterday’s show which veered so far left that at the end, Willie Geist was reading Matt Lewis tweets about diversity on the panel. I think Matt said there was a great ideological variety – there was left and far-left on the panel. But Willie is about as independent of a guy as I’ve met in TV.
NEWSBUSTERS: Okay, but when we say independent, and he’s in the middle, but do you think he’s dead in the middle or that he leans a little bit left of center?
SCARBOROUGH: I think he’s dead in the center. I think his time in Tennessee in college moderated his views. Again, I don’t really know. I work with the guy every day, and I can tell you when people start spewing Democratic lines, he rolls his eyes. But when people on the far-right come and spew conservative lines, he rolls his eyes as well. I think he’s like a lot of young voters. I think he’s independent.