MSNBC's Joe Scarborough has made it a regular habit to catch the vapors on air after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the Central Intelligence Agency. Now he's lamenting that Nancy Pelosi, "a friend of mine from Congress" has "caught a lot of grief" for that criticism. The big takeaway? Starbucks apparently has a Rohypnol Frappuccino.
From the first word, to the last, I concur with the Washington Independent's Spencer Ackerma:
I carry no brief for Pelosi, and Pelosi could indeed be misrepresenting what CIA actually briefed to her, even though the additional questions about its briefing schedule are numerous. But if Scarborough had bothered reading, say, an acclaimed history of the CIA, he would immediately see that it's extremely well documented that the CIA has often misled Congress about sensitive intelligence programs. Basic due diligence, unfortunately, would get in the way of his preferred storyline, so don't expect anything like this latest self-induced humiliation to prompt an on-air reflection of the way "Morning Joe" operates. The unaccountable ability of some cable TV hosts to just pretend to their audiences like they know what they're talking about is really staggering.
In the first place, I remember how inane it was that anyone in the media was shocked to hear someone suggest that the CIA had been less than truthful. There's a long and proud and bipartisan history of that, and yet somehow Pelosi ended up as an unprecedented and shocking agency critic.
But secondly, there's this whole issue of "TV hosts... pretend[ing] to their audiences like they know what they're talking about." Spencer Ackerman, for example, has been to Iraq, he's been to Afghanistan, he's interviewed David Petraeus, he's up on all the current writing, knows all the major players, and attends every picayune foreign policy conference and congressional hearing that comes along. To the best of knowledge, he's never, ever been zinged by Zbigniew Brzezinski. He's precisely the sort of person that Scarborough could bring onto his show to present insight and information from a highly informed perspective. Yet, to Scarborough, Ackerman is just a Cheeto-eating, basement-dwelling blogger, with no credibility. Oh well, Spencer's not the one literally contradicting himself on cable teevee..