MORNING INFOTAINMENT in a microcosm.
Joe Scarborough just can’t help himself.
While intending to exalt himself through his important sources, a daily grind, he trips over his own ignorance through his haste to regurgitate what he’s been told.
“You know why they hate us? I talked to intelligence people all weekend. They hate us because of their religion, they hate us because of their culture, and they hate us because of peer pressure. … They know what they’re doing. … One intelligence person told me, if you scratch the surface, and if you gave every street vendor to prime minister in that region a chance to throw a rock at the U.S. embassy, they would.” – Joe Scarborough
Mika Brzezinski didn’t say a word and no one else on the set, not John Heilemann or Mark Halperin, dared to rebut the star. He never takes it well when you do. Brzezinski simply segued to the continued killings in Afghanistan. It beat staring at Scarborough like a potted plant.
Secretary Clinton’s remarks ring as a rebuttal to Scarborough.
CLINTON: We must be clear-eyed even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scared by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post. Some were wounded. Some Libyans carried Chris’s body to the hospital and they helped rescue and lead other Americans to safety. Last night when I spoke with the President of Libya, he strongly condemned the violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue those responsible. The friendship between our countries borne out of shared struggle will not be another casualty of this attack. A free and stable Libya is still in America’s interest and security. And we will not turn our back on that.
Libyans died helping the Americans at the Benghazi consulate. Religious extremists that attacked the consulate were “savage,” to use Clinton’s word, which Scarborough co-opted and exploded. The extremists shown on TV, even by Richard Engel’s description in Egypt, were mostly young, with business as usual during the daytime, the night where danger hides still. But it’s not like Egypt has a history of democratic elections.
For some reason infotainment pundits, led by Bill O’Reilly and Joe Scarborough, joined by right-wing TV and radio hosts, seem to believe the Arab Spring was going to mean an immediate, painless, effortless shift to happy, peppy democracy.
The convulsive birth of America should have taught everyone otherwise. But this is a region where dictators, supported by the west, kept their people in bondage for centuries, longer than America’s been alive. Breaking out was never going to be pretty. Does that mean the Arab Spring is a failure? Compared to what, bottled dictatorships? Only if you believe freedom from enslavement comes only through western means and on our terms.
The discussion led by Joe Scarborough’s opening rant is part of the problem, which can be seen through Bill O’Reilly as well, whose coverage on the Libya commando raid has done a huge disservice to his audience and the importance of this discussion itself. But this is what people listen to and learn from, the most popular show on cable, “The O’Reilly Factor,” which has been a horror show since the Benghazi raid.
Joe Scarborough should quit talking to “intelligence people” and try to find intelligent people. Unfortunately, that ship sailed a long time ago for him and the other infotainment hosts, most of whom rely on ideology to be their guide. When you’re opining about the Muslim and Arab world it’s a recipe for the death of truth.