As America is poised to slide into the slow-news month of August, our top media professionals seem poised to spend the next 30 days at each other's throats. Lou Dobbs is calling Rachel Maddow a "teabagger queen!" Bill O'Reilly is yelling at Lou Dobbs! Rick Sanchez is mad at the Fox News Network! And CNN's Jon Klein really needs a hug and a nap. Now, Joe Scarborough's joining the Fight Club, gunning for Fox News's weepy newscomedian, Glenn Beck.
At issue are remarks that Glenn Beck made on the vertigo-inducing AM funny farm known as Fox And Friends. Beck said that President Barack Obama had "over and over again" shown himself to be "a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture," later adding, "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people, I'm saying he has a problem ... This guy is, I believe, a racist."
This morning, the Morning Joe kaffeeklatsch, without Scarborough himself, tore into Beck.
BUT! Joe, wherever he was, had Twitter at the ready, which he used to blast out his own take on the matter: "Conservatives attacked the Dixie Chicks for saying much less about President Bush than what Beck said about President Obama."
Fighting words! And, as the Washington Independent's Dave Weigel points out, these were words with historical resonance, as far as Scarborough's broadcast career goes:
This was a key moment in the early 2000s culture wars, and Scarborough covered it every time he had an excuse to. On a Sept. 12, 2006 episode of "Scarborough Country," the host plugged one upcoming segment as "The Dixie Chicks's stunning new attack on George W. Bush, stunning only because it is such bad PR! Shut up and sing, baby! Shut up and sing!" In the segment, about Natalie Maines calling President Bush a "dumb f**k," Scarborough gloated at their lack of country radio success.
Weigel wonders, "Will we see weeks of coverage of Beck's comment on Scarborough's morning show? Will he book people who want to punish Beck, as he booked country singers, actors, and radio hosts who were attacking Maines?" Time will tell. But if you'll permit me to offer my own hopes on the matter, the one thing I'd ask is for Glenn Beck to not end up on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, like so:
Please. Please. No.