Joe Scarborough, for those of you who do not know, is the anchor of MSNBC’s morning television show “Morning Joe.” He is a former US Congressman, having represented the 1st district of the state of Florida in the House of Representatives, a fact he makes sure to insert into his program at least once a day (usually along the lines of “well, y’know, ‘Mika [MSNBC’s answer to Alan Colmes], when I was in office back in 1998, here’s how we did it…”).
Mr. Scarborough has gone a long way to furthering the concept that not only are Barack Obama and William Ayers any more than casual acquaintances who served together on a committee, but that William Ayers is STILL a terrorist (even though he performed one act, has paid his debt to society, and now tries to right that wrong by serving his community) and that Obama’s campaign “started in his living room.” And implying that Barack Obama, by that association, must be okay with terrorists. Mr. Scarborough, of all people, should know precisely why such misrepresentations are damaging to a career, and why members of the press should be called on those misrepresentations.
Just for fun, let’s use actual events from Mr. Scarborough’s life using the same spin he placed on the relationship between Sen. Obama and William Ayers. Unlike Joe, I’ll actually follow up the sensationalism with facts and try to show why objectivity is necessary in reporting. Ready? Here we go:
I’ve recently received information that Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” has ties to domestic terrorists and religious extremists. Apparently, Mr. Scarborough helped Michael Griffin, a man who shot and killed a doctor at his clinic in full view of many innocent patients, to obtain an expensive attorney, then shielded Mr. Griffin’s family and downplayed the issue to the press. Of course, we don’t have all the details, so we probably shouldn’t be discussing this in depth, but doesn’t it speak to Mr. Scarborough’s character that he’s willing to protect a homicidal maniac who believes God told him to shoot doctors? Mr. Griffin is unrepentant about his crime.
While we’re on the subject of Mr. Scarborough’s character; what does it say that he left office just a few short months after being elected? That he essentially abandoned his constituency, pursued a divorce, divested himself of all the responsible positions he held, and then, amidst rumors of infidelity, one of his interns was found dead in his office?
28 year old Lori Klausutis, an intern in the congressman’s Florida office was found dead of a massive blow to the head by visitors to the congressman’s deserted office. Apparently, she’d been dead for some time, and Mr. Scarborough himself was in Washington at the time she was found.
Isn’t that salacious? Are you sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the next juicy detail? Let’s compare that tell-all, celeb gossip style story to the actual facts.
Mr. Scarborough was a young civil law attorney when he was approached by Mr. Griffin’s family. He was unable to represent Michael Griffin, who was charged with (and eventually convicted of) shooting and killing a physician who performed abortions. The story can be found here (scroll down for story). Mr. Scarborough had a reputation for pro-life causes, and helped the family find an attorney for Michael and spoke with the press on their behalf pro bono (Most lawyers are required to do a certain number of pro bono hours).
Mr. Scarborough was elected to four terms in the House of Representatives. However, some months after his third re-election, he divorced his wife and retired from his seat, saying he wanted to spend more time with his children. The timing was considered dubious, as a clerk in his Florida Office, Lori Klausutis, 28, was found dead, and there had been rumors of infidelity. The matter was not considered sufficiently resolved by many, as there were questions about the head trauma Lori suffered which was (according to the coroner) caused by a coronary event, ending in her accidental death. Mr. Scarborough’s attitude toward the incident when speaking of it on Don Imus’ radio program sparked further internet furor.
There you have it. Two stories. The first (were it about any Democrat you’d care to name) would have Mr. Scarborough and any Republican howling for blood. The second was at least an attempt at objective reporting; something far too many at Fox News and Mr. Scarborough himself scoff off as “liberal media.”
Here’s what Mr. Scarborough, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and their slavish followers just don’t get: a story reported without bias (or with as little as possible) is necessary in journalism. The entire premise is to report the FACTS and allow people to make up their own minds. But for some reason, people want to be led. Joe Scarborough and reporters like him with their constant stream of innuendo and misinformation have killed journalistic integrity. Journalism is not about opinion. It’s about reporting the facts of the day’s events. And if Mr. Scarborough expects to consistently report his biased views as facts, perhaps he should be reminded of just what the press can do with a little skewed information.