You’re Reading The Moulitsas/Scarborough Feud, Brewed By Starbucks

The full Markos Moulitsas post at Daily Kos:

In case you were wondering why you haven’t seen me on MSNBC recently, it seems that Joe Scarborough, he of the lowest rated morning show in cableland, has blackballed me. And Phil Griffin, the alleged president of MSNBC, is going along with it.

It all began May 29, with Joe Scarborough taking to Twitter to whine about the media coverage of the supposed Sestak scandal (remember that one?):

JoeNBC: The Sestak story is as unbelievable a cover story as Nixon throwing little Checkers under the bus. A farce on it’s face. Luckily for the White House, the media has been negligent on this story since Day 1. The press will let this laughable story slide.

That was too much horseshit for me. If there was someone who had ZERO ground to stand on whining about media bias, it was Scarborough. So I shot back:

markos: Like story of a certain dead intern. RT @JoeNBC: Luckily for the White House, the media has been negligent on this story since Day 1.

Markos: But if you want to talk about bullshit “scandals”, @JoeNBC, there’s this one about Joe Sestak and the White House you might’ve heard of.

It degenerated from there.

JoeNBC: @markos Unbelievable. You have a long history of spreading lies suggesting I am a murderer. This is the 3rd or 4th time by my count.

Markos: @JoeNBC, I’ve never suggested you’re a murderer. I’ve noted media hypocrisy in going after Gary Condit. But he was Dem. You aren’t.

JoeNBC: Anyone in media who interviews @markos, know that you’re extending your credibility to someone who regularly suggests that I’m a murderer.

Markos: A bit touchy, @JoeNBC? Links for where I accuse you of being a murderer please.

There were no links, of course. I never accused him of murder, much less three or four times. In fact, we had just had a pleasant chat in the Meet the Press green room in December, which wouldn’t be the case if I was bedeviling him with accusations of murder. The only time I ever mentioned the incident was this post in 2005, in which I discussed him as a potential Senate candidate.

Note that there wasn’t an accusation of murder. In fact, I called the murder accusations “tin foil” (aka conspiracy theories). Yet Gary Condit got hounded out of polite society for a murder he didn’t commit, while Joe Scarborough got a show on MSNBC. As my tweets made clear, this was about media double standards, and it was about Scarborough trying to invent a scandal from nothing (as was the case with the conspiracy theorists and his deceased aide). One could disagree with those points, but to argue it was somehow an accusation of murder was bizarre, and of course, Scarborough was unable to back it up.

Instead, Scarborough, unable to keep it together, ran crying to Phil Griffin. And while admitting to me that Scarborough’s claims were baseless and overblown, Griffin banned me from the network. Asked for on-the-record comment, Griffin offered this statement:

Markos,

Blog if you must, but here is my on the record statement to you which I ask that you print in full:

Yes, after I became aware of the ugly cheap shot  you  took at Joe on Twitter, I asked the teams to take a break from booking you on our shows for a while. I found the comments to be in poor taste, and utterly uncalled for in a civil discourse.

I’m hoping this will be only temporary and that the situation can be resolved in a mature fashion, but until then I just don’t know how one could reasonably expect to be welcomed onto our network while publicly antagonizing one of our hosts at the same time.

The DailyKos community has been among the most supportive of MSNBC, and we continue to appreciate that support.

I’ve criticized Chris Matthews before, sometimes harshly, and it never led to me being banned. This was not about criticizing some random MSNBC host, but about criticizing the network’s token conservative, a man who wilts in the face of the awesome power of Twitter and its 140-character limit. Morning Joe happens to be Griffin’s pet project at MSNBC. He’s staked his career on it, and as such, lets Scarborough call the shots — to the point of having its least successful host dictate the guest list of its most successful one.

Look, it’s been good for Daily Kos to have me on, but it’s not my favorite medium, I’m often uncomfortable, and part of me would be grateful if I never had to do a TV spot again. I did as much MSNBC as I did because I like and respect Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz. If they decided they didn’t want me on anymore, I’d be perfectly okay with that. However, I do think it’s noteworthy when I’ve been booted from the network because of a Scarborough temper tantrum.

John Byrne at Raw Story:

Lauren Skowronski, a public relations employee for MSNBC and NBC Universal, MSNBC’s parent company, told Raw Story, “MSNBC is not commenting.”

MSNBC is generally considered a liberal-leaning network, so the claim that a large liberal blogger has been banned has raised eyebrows.

Steve Krakauer at Mediaite:

Moulitsas had been a semi-regular guest on Ed Schultz‘ show as well as Countdown with Keith Olbermann. We’ll see when he’s back.

And speaking of Olbermann, he hasn’t weighed in yet on Twitter on Moulitsas but he has about NBC’s Amy Robach. A fan asked “Keith!! How goes Operation Save Amy Robach’s Career from having to do features about Cougar Conventions, by coming 2 Contdwn.” Olbermann’s response:

I think she’s said previously that she made the choice not to be on Countdown

Interesting. Stay tuned for more on all the comings and goings at MSNBC.

Greg Sargent:

It’s funny. I don’t recall the chief of MSNBC publicly banning Liz Cheney from appearing on the network when she cut an entire Web video “publicly antagonizing” Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews for allegedly being too frightened to debate her about terrorism

[…]

See, conservatives are expected to demonize the media, and can always count on being granted a platform by the same major networks they hammer publicly on a regular basis. It’s all part of the game, get it? But it seems Markos got publicly dressed down and banned by the president of the network, no less, all because he got under Scarborough’s skin with a few nasty little Tweets.

Alex Pareene at Salon:

This is what Markos is talking about: Back in the summer of 2001, Scarborough, who was divorced at the time, announced his intention to retire from Congress to spend more time with his children. Shortly after that announcement, an intern named Lori Klausutis was found dead in his Florida office.

At the time, the national press was obsessed with Gary Condit, a Democratic Congressmen who was all-but-accused of killing an intern whom he’d been sleeping with. No such attention fell on Scarborough. (Then 9/11 happened.)

Kos was arguing that Scarborough was the beneficiary of a media double standard whereby scandals ginned up by conservative activists receive attention far beyond what they merit. (Kos was also intentionally needling Scarborough.)

Scarborough responded by saying Kos regularly accuses Scarborough of being a murderer, which Kos disputes.

Bill Scher and Matt Lewis at Bloggingheads

Digby:

Now I have to assume that Scarborough is either brain damaged or must want people to look at that story again because otherwise he would have let some innocuous, snarky tweet pass by. Now we all have no choice but to rehash the whole thing in order to explain why Markos has been banned from the network.

I’m guessing he’s running for office again. After all, in today’s GOP if you aren’t picking up men in bathrooms, harassing pages by the dozen or hiking the Appalachian trail, you just aren’t worth the teabag you’re steeping in.

I’ll be curious to see if any of the MSNBC hosts put up a fight. I doubt they will. There seems to be some kind of village Omerta when it comes to Joe Scarborough.

Michael Stickings at Moderate Voice:

What Kos is getting at here is that there appears to be a double standard, just as there was with the coverage of Levy/Klausutis, one driven by partisanship and ideology. And it’s all about the media giving conservatives a free pass. It may not be clear-cut, and there may be exceptions to it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Meanwhile, the Kos-Scarborough flare-up probably could have been handled more maturely, but it’s really only Kos’s first tweet that went a bit too far (if anything, he could have been more tactful). After that, it was Scarborough who lost it, throwing a “temper tantrum” and complaining to his boss (who “lets Scarborough call the shots” and so who was bound to side with his low-rated morning host).

Regardless, it’s pretty stupid for MSNBC to blacklist a major progressive voice and new media icon like Markos Moulitsas. It would do well to rethink its priorities, and to think through its double standards.

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