Oh! Wait a minute. I was not on Morning Joe anniversary show. In fact, no one like me ever seems to appear on MSNBC’s Morning Joe – or any of those other shows that exist inside the New York/D.C. media bubble. The Big Seven – ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post comprise a very exclusive club where membership is dependent on liberal orthodoxy.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who WAS on the 10th anniversary show, pinpointed the problem – at least indirectly and unintentionally. When bragging about how the Big Apple leadership works together, he gave credit to the island of Manhattan. According to Bloomberg, “Manhattan is where the media is, and that’s compressed. So we live together in ways other people don’t. And we depend on each other. We walk together. We take mass transit together. We go to the stores together. So that the divisions other people see, we don’t really see.”
One can also add that they attend the same social and political functions together. They are members of the same swanky clubs together. They table hop at some of the most expensive eateries in the nation. What Bloomberg described IS the bubble – and, as he said, they do not see what we other people see.
The New York media is a version of the old adage about Boston’s two most prominent snobbish political families in days of yore (meaning before the Kennedys). It was said that the Lodges speak only to the Cabots, and the Cabots speak only to God. In the New York media sense, MSNBC speaks only to the New York Times, and the New York Times speaks only to God knows who.
Collectively, we refer derisively to the liberal-leaning news outlets as “the mainstream media.” That is a mistake. Their left wing views are far from the mainstream in our right-of-center nation. By virtue of their control over the biggest news outlets, they enjoy power and position disproportionate to their place in the American philosophic spectrum. While they possess the largest megaphones, they represent a fringe philosophy. The true mainstream media is composed of those thousands of electronic and print journalists who are spread across the nation like lights on a Christmas tree.
Joe Scarborough – the Joe of Morning Joe – appears to be the victim of Manhattan political body snatchers. He was initially hired to give MSNBC at least an appearance of objectivity. A former Florida congressman, Joe was, by self-proclamation, a conservative Republican. For sure he was an elected Republican, but conservative? The most that can be said on that subject is that at least he was more conservative in the past than he is today.
Morning Joe was conceived as a point/counterpoint style program pitting the dubious conservative Republican against the avowed left-wing feminist Mika Brzezinski, daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter (the President whose foreign policy made Iran what it is today). In those early days there actually was some measure of confrontation. Not too much, mind you, but enough to make the program concept credible.
Life in the New York/D.C. media bubble seems to be tantamount to long-term brainwashing. You adapt to survive – and adapt Joe did. He became the prototype of an acceptable Republican advocate by MSNBC standards – bearing the title but mostly espousing the same political narratives and spin as left-wing Democrats. With Joe having become the prototype, the show was soon populated by Republican panelists who maintain their television celebrity status by morphing into GOP critics long after their careers slipped over to the leeward edge of the political precipice. This included a former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz, a White House communications advisor under President George Bush and even a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
With an average of four or five panelists around the studio table and a bevy of others who appear regularly by remote camera, there is still an absence of any counterpoint. When Joe inquires, “Don’t you agree …?” everybody does.
If left-wing ideology is the major curriculum of Morning Joe, the current elective course is Bringing Down Trump 101. It reaches the level of obsession. Mika so often, so desperately and so irrationally questions Trump’s very sanity that I have come to believe that it is she who might benefit from counseling to clear the darkness that has taken control of her mind.
With all semblances of both objectivity and balance rapidly slipping away, Joe could no longer fool an audience that was not fooled in the first place. He gave up his dubious affiliation to the Republican Party to declare himself an independent. He had long before stopped being an effective counterpoint to Mika’s points. Instead, the co-hosts melded into a singularity of opinion. This may have been influenced by the merging of Joe’s professional and personal life as he and Mika became what gossip columnists refer to as “an item.” Whatever the reason, Joe Scarborough has become another New York liberal bubble-ite.
Though not alone, Morning Joe has become a good example of the left’s incestuous and snobbish elitism. They proudly call the New York Times “the newspaper of record” – whatever that means – even though most Americans would not cross a street to get a free copy. They constantly refer to a former columnist and regular contributor as “the legendary Mike Barnicle” – ignoring the fact that some of that legend was his 1998 forced resignation from the Boston Globe over accusations of plagiarism and in another case fabricating a story.
Morning Joe is an unending parade of fungible left-wing media colleagues within Bloomberg’s well-defined Manhattan bubble. More than occasionally multiple reporters from the Times will appear on the same show. When Joe writes an editorial piece, it is usually for the Times and is subsequently read on Morning Joe with much praise and admiration by his partner in every way, Mika.
So, why are there never people like me on Morning Joe – and a lot of those other philosophically cloned faux news Big Apple programs? I used to think that it was simply because they do not wish to be challenged by facts and perspectives with which they disagree – and there is a lot of truth in that. Another reason may be that those of us who live in fly-over America are considered to be too vulgar, ignorant and evil to be given voice. Or it may just be that they cannot accept that people like us actually exist.
The second premise, that we are just bad people, is easily substantiated in the on-air comments. Hardly a day goes by that the bubble encased media does not refer to us good-hearted, decent and hardworking Americans as racists, sexists, religious zealots, xenophobes, homophobes, Islamaphobes, war mongers, misogynists, low information voters, obsessive haters and, yes, deplorables. Anytime we deny what they profess, our very right to free speech is questioned and threatened – and in the worst cases our opinion is to be criminalized.
The second premise, that we do not exist, is very much in keeping with former Mayor Bloomberg’s suggestion that the New York elite, including the media, do not see what other people – you and me – see. The values, traditions, beliefs and opinions of middle America are so alien to their belief structure that they think people like us simply do not exist. It is the reason they are repeatedly shocked on so many recent election days – wondering from whence came all us opposition voters. They never seemed to wonder who those 70 percenters were that told pollster after pollster, year after year, that they thought the nation’s leftward drift was movement in the wrong direction.
Right after Donald Trump’s victory, in a moment of shock and weakness, the press admitted that they somehow did not understand at least half of the American voters. They and the Democrats (largely a distinction without a difference) had not been paying attention to what was playing in Peoria. One reporter, recognizing the problem, said that whenever her newspaper wanted the opinion of the common man or woman, they would do interviews on Fifth Avenue or in some local New York cafe. Her comment is in keeping with my oft stated analogy that the New York/D.C. media bubble is a one-way mirror into which the nation can look, while the inhabitants only have a narcissistic reflection of themselves.
The problem with both the evil and non-existence theories is that we do exist, we are not evil and there are millions of us – a lot more of us than of them. That is why the intellectually isolated left has been losing elections across the nation for almost ten years now. And yet, the media like Morning Joe remain blind, tone deaf and, unable to see America from their windowless studios in the core of the Big Apple.
I must confess that every morning as I watch the Joe show, I wish I could voice those facts and opinions that they skillfully censor and censure; to put the lie to narratives crafted solely for the political advantage of an elite establishment, and to bring an informative perspective from the hinterlands. I may never get a seat at the Morning Joe table, but I sure hope someone like me will from time to time.
Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in public policy and political issues. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, and he has served as a consultant to the White House under Presidents Nixon and Reagan. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at Harvard University, Northwestern University, Florida Atlantic University, Knox College and Hope College. An award winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.