Friday, January 05, 2007

Scarborough v. O'Reilly - who's Right

On the January 4, 2007 broadcast of Scarborough Country, Joe Scarborough took serious offense to Bill O'Reilly's recent comments that "Bush can't win, no matter what he does! NBC News, 'The New York Times,' 'The Washington Post,' they're going to say he's an idiot. There's no sense of balance or fairness in their reporting".

Scarborough, who claims to be "conservative" and share middle-America's values responded with indignation, basically laying out the argument that since he's never called Bush an idiot, O'Reilly is wrong:

Scarborough: Bush an idiot? I've never said Bush is an idiot. Chris? If I ever said—do you think Bush is an idiot?

Unidentified Male: Absolutely not.

Scarborough: Absolutely not.

Unidentified Male: We would never say that, nor have we ever said that.

Scarborough: You're a Connecticut Republican. We are conservative people.

Well, the funny thing about Google and MSNBC publishing all it's Scarborough Country transcripts on the web is that it's not hard to check Scarborough's claim. And, his claim is false — Scarborough has called Bush an idiot.

For starters, Scarborough off-handedly called Bush an idiot on July 7, 2005:

that idiot Bush starts looking a little bit better

More offensively though, an entire segment of Scarborough's show on August 16, 2006 focused on, well, let me just quote Scarborough:

You may want to stick around and watch Scarborough Country tonight, because we‘re asking: Is our president an idiot? It is not just the opinion of a has-been pop star, it‘s rally cries of liberals and some conservatives world wide. Is George Bush playing dumb or is he just plain dumb?

There's that i-word again. And nice options — plain dumb or playing dumb. Yeah, very "fair and balanced."

Granted, Scarborough is probably the most conservative commentator NBC News has. He's certainly no Keith Olbermann. But, he's not reliably conservative either. He even went so far as to state:

In fact, if you look at my transcripts you will see that I have been bashing my party more than the Democratic party.

And, he's said enough liberal-leaning things that NewsBusters has an entire category for him.

With Scarborough's less-than-consistent record of providing a non-liberal point of view, O'Reilly really can't be faulted for lumping Scarborough in as liberal-leaning alongside the rest of NBC News. And if Scarborough's going to respond to O'Reilly's claim, he's going to have to provide a much better response than (falsely) claiming he's never called Bush an idiot.

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