Catching up on some news. This time, a segment from Morning Joe’s August 16th episode. In this segment, Joe addresses GOP opposition to Obamacare, immigration and more. He also takes some time to discuss the general lack of guts in elected leaders to “stare down the crazies in their parties”, the divisive, money-making fanatics (“some of these crazies are killing us”):
There is something in this segment that stood out to me. In part, it shows a stunning lack of awareness of the place of the media in terms of opinion-forming and issue-framing. Joe is talking about how many in the GOP loudly supported George Zimmerman before any of the facts were known in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Joe says something that I both agree with and also take strong exception to:
“I’m not in office, and if I were in office I would have apologised.”
The implication is that only those in office have a responsibility to be, well, responsible. When, in fact, I think media personalities probably have more of a responsibility to act appropriately. As a presenter/host on MSNBC, I imagine he has a larger platform and audience than any individual Congressman (as a former Congressman himself, he should known this, too). MSNBC ratings are hardly majorities, but to scold a member of Congress for not apologising, while abdicating his own responsibility to do the same? Disappointing.
To be fair, Scarborough was not as vociferous in trying the case in the court of public opinion as Lawrence O’Donnell did when the media circus first wound up. Despite also believing (from the evidence I’ve seen, read and heard) Zimmerman effectively stalked and hunted Trayvon Martin, O’Donnell’s approach made me somewhat uncomfortable, as he obviously attempted to influence the case before it even went to trial.