Scarborough Remembers Some Iraq Words–But Not His Own

scarThis morning (3/19/13) MSNBC host Joe Scarborough’s commentary looking back at the Iraq War  took aim at some politicians and media outlets who were supportive of removing Saddam Hussein from power. But somehow he forgot to include his own words.

“George W. Bush was far from being the only politician in Washington” who advocated for the Iraq War, he explained, digging up comments from Democrats like John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. As he put it, “The very same people who spent years beating up George Bush were the very ones beating the drum for Iraq’s regime change and Saddam Hussein’s ouster.”

Fair enough. He also mentioned media–specifically the New York Times and the Washington Post–that editorialized about Iraq’s weapons.  “How short our memory  is,” Scarborough lectured viewers.

Well, that’s not true for all of us. 

On April 9, 2003, the very pro-war Scarborough bashed the media outlets he thought were too negative about the war:

I doubt that the journalists at the New York Times and NPR or at ABC or at CNN are going to ever admit just how wrong their negative pronouncements were over the past four weeks.

 The next night (4/10/03), he went on a tear against anti-war activists:

I’m waiting to hear the words “I was wrong” from some of the world’s most elite journalists, politicians and Hollywood types…. I just wonder, who’s going to be the first elitist to show the character to say: “Hey, America, guess what? I was wrong”? Maybe the White House will get an apology, first, from the New York Times‘ Maureen Dowd. Now, Ms. Dowd mocked the morality of this war….

Maybe disgraced commentators and politicians alike, like Daschle, Jimmy Carter, Dennis Kucinich and all those others, will step forward tonight and show the content of their character by simply admitting what we know already: that their wartime predictions were arrogant, they were misguided and they were dead wrong. Maybe, just maybe, these self-anointed critics will learn from their mistakes. But I doubt it. After all, we don’t call them “elitists” for nothing.

 Scarborough’s lack of self-awareness about Iraq isn’t new; in a Politico column (12/19/11), he wrote:

 I cannot resist returning to the scene of the crime to take one last look at the shameless hypocrites and liars on both sides who used this tragedy for their own political benefit.

 He even cribbed a media critique from FAIR–without attribution:

The media reviews were equally effusive, and like George W. Bush, many in the press suggested that the war was over.

Leading up to the president’s “Mission Accomplished” speech, the Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story with a headline that read, “Iraq Is All But Won; Now What?”

Three days before Bush put on his flight suit, NPR‘s  Morning Edition declared that “the war in Iraq is essentially over and domestic issues are regaining attention.”

PBS‘s Gwen Ifill praised the president’s performance as one-third superhero, one-third movie star, and one-third political icon:

“The president was picture-perfect. Part Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise and part Ronald Reagan. The president seized the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific.”

All of those examples–and many more–were published by FAIR (in the same order) in 2006–along with a few quotes from Scarborough that he neglected to include. One can understandable why Scarborough wouldn’t want to draw attention to what he was saying about Iraq. But that doesn’t make it go away.

He’s lucky to be working in an industry that doesn’t emphasize accountability.




About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.