MSNBC's Joe Scarborough falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama said of Americans with religious beliefs: "Your faith, the faith of your fathers, the faith of your grandfathers, the faith of your grandmothers -- it's just a crutch. It's just a crutch. You only believe that because you're bitter, because you're poor, because you didn't go to college, because you're working class." In fact, Obama said that "in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania," people are "beaten down" and "feel ... betrayed by government," and "it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion."
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough defended Sen. John McCain's apparent conflation of Sunni and Shiite Muslims, saying: "The thing is, everybody is obsessing over the fact that he keeps confusing Sunni and Shia. The fact is, I -- you know what? I could start peppering people with questions about Sunnis and Shia and Kurds, and the relationships there, and 99 percent of Americans wouldn't know; 99 percent of Americans wouldn't give a damn."
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Responding to an ad by John McCain's campaign, which asserts that in response to "home foreclosures mounting, markets teetering," "[Hillary] Clinton and Barack Obama just said they'd solve the problem by raising your taxes -- more money out of your pocket," Joe Scarborough said the ad would "probably work." But Scarborough didn't note that the ad's central claim is false: Neither Clinton nor Obama has asserted that she or he would respond to "home foreclosures rising" by raising taxes.
On Morning Joe, Time's Rick Stengel claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "has to say it's a new paradigm of patriotism, it's a kind of post-identity politics patriotism, where, 'I wouldn't have had the opportunities I've had anywhere else in the world. .... And the qualities that make America what America is, what makes America great, is the reason that I've been able to be so successful.' " But Obama has said precisely that.
On Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough advanced the myth that Sen. John McCain hasn't flip-flopped on his position on immigration reform by asserting: "[T]here are a lot of issues that Republicans have despised John McCain for taking positions on. He stayed with those positions, and it makes him much stronger in the fall campaign because of it, and I speak mainly of illegal immigration." In response, co-host Mika Brzezinski said, "Absolutely." Indeed, conservatives have praised McCain's rightward shift on the issue.
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist repeatedly mocked Sen. Barack Obama's bowling performance -- which Scarborough called "dainty" -- at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. Deriding Obama's score, Scarborough said: "You know Willie, the thing is, Americans want their president, if it's a man, to be a real man." He added, "You get 150, you're a man, or a good woman," to which Geist replied, "Out of my president, I want a 150, at least." After guest Harold Ford Jr. said that Obama's bowling showed a "humble" and "human" side to him, Scarborough replied, "A very human side? A prissy side."
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough, Willie Geist, and NBC News' Savannah Guthrie did not challenge senior McCain adviser Steve Schmidt's false assertion that "[w]ith regard to the economy," Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are "talking about raising taxes across the board." In fact, Obama and Clinton have proposed tax cuts -- not tax increases -- for the poor and the middle class.
On Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough discussed "[a] trip made by three U.S. lawmakers to Iraq before the war [that] was secretly financed by -- Saddam Hussein." Brzezinski stated, "The dates of the tour match one taken by Democratic representatives Jim McDermott, David Bonior, and Mike Thompson." But neither Brzezinski nor Scarborough mentioned that, as reported on the Morning Joe on-screen news ticker, "The Justice Department [told] NBC News it is satisfied the lawmakers believed in good faith the trip was funded by a legitimate charity."
After Chuck Todd acknowledged a media double standard in coverage of Sen. John McCain's Al Qaeda-Iran gaffe, CNBC's John Harwood asserted on Morning Joe: "I think that at the end of the day, John McCain has got sufficient credibility on that issue that people are not going to look at that and say, 'Oh, John McCain is confused' or 'John McCain's too old' or 'John McCain doesn't get it.' ... But he obviously can't do that too many times or he's got a problem." Harwood was not alone in misrepresenting or excusing McCain's false claim on MSNBC; several MSNBC reporters and anchors have ignored or excused McCain's false claim.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough claimed that when Hillary Clinton said, "[N]o matter where you were born, or how much money you are born into, no matter where you worship, or the color of your skin, it is a bedrock American principle that we are all equal in the voting booth," she was using "code language." Scarborough made the "code" claim two more times on Morning Joe.
Responding to Barack Obama's comment, made in his March 18 speech addressing controversial statements by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, that his white grandmother had "uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes," Joe Scarborough said: "I really wonder why anybody, why any man, would throw his grandmother under the bus during a political speech regardless of the point he was trying to make." But last week, Scarborough said that "we all have people that we love dearly who are crazy," adding, "Do not hold me accountable for things that my father has said in the past ... or for e-mails ... that my mother sends me. ... And again, Mom and Dad, I love you. I'm just making a bigger point."
Joe Scarborough asserted on MSNBC's Morning Joe: "John McCain has never attached himself to these people on the far right that say if you're gay, you're going to hell, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera." In fact, McCain has "attached himself to" some notable religious figures who have made controversial statements, among them John Hagee and Rod Parsley.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough again defended Chris Matthews' controversial comments about Sen. Hillary Clinton, saying, "[W]hat Chris Matthews said is the same thing Maureen Dowd has been saying since 1998. ... Maybe he said it more bluntly, but to say, that's sexism?" Additionally, co-host Mika Brzezinski called criticism of MSNBC as sexist "unfair."
On Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough said to Chris Matthews: "Bill Clinton says, though, Chris, that we're naïve for believing that politicians can work together, that we're naïve for believing that Barack Obama." Scarborough added: "But it seems to me it's cynicism versus hope." Matthews said: "Any politician who runs in America on the campaign message of 'don't get your hopes up' deserves to be doomed. What an amazing -- that is so un-American, because Americans believe that the way things are is not the way they have to be."