“Morning Joe” served up something other than coffee chatter Thursday A.M.
Joe Scarborough in the opening 15 minutes of the MSNBC program accused Capitol Police of opening “the f—ing doors” for insurrectionists during Wednesday’s invasion of Congress’ home base, a sign of how shocking the development has been to even the people charged with delivering news and commentary about it.
An audibly upset Scarborough suggested Capitol Police have in the past relied on stronger security policies than those used Wednesday when a mob inspired by President Donald Trump and his supporters broke into the Capitol and tried to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. “You open the f—ing doors…You open the doors for them and let them breach the people’s house! What is wrong with you?” asked Scarborough, who was heard to pound the desk he sits behind as scenes of yesterday’s violence were shown on screen.
Cable networks like MSNBC are not governed by Federal Communications Commission policies about profanity, but use of that particular word is still frowned upon my most networks, no matter whether they show news or scripted programming.
Scarborough also called for the arrest of people who had stormed into the Capitol and accused President Trump, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and his son Donald Trump Jr. of stoking supporters to invade the building. If people — including top politicians — aren’t brought to justice, he said, “then we are no longer a nation of laws and we tell people they can do this again.”
Others have been stirred in recent weeks to use harsh language to describe the news. In September, CNN anchor Dana Bash described the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden as “a s–t show.” Bash used that word again yesterday in the course of relaying the mood on Capitol Hill.
Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski have enjoyed much leeway under Phil Griffin, the longtime MSNBC president who is expected to step down from his post at the end of the month. He will be succeeded by Rashida Jones, an up-and-coming executive whose finesse with live events and special reports has impressed many in the industry. But it is Griffin who has cultivated tight relationships with top anchors such as Scarborough and Rachel Maddow, whose presence on MSNBC is critical to its ratings performance.
This isn’t the first time Scarborough has used tough language on air. In 2008, the host used the “F word” while relaying a story about Rahm Emanuel, then designated to be chief of staff for the Obama White House. Scarborough seemed surprised he had used the full word rather than the first letter of it on air, upon being told by Brzezinski and contributor Mike Barnicle that he had said it. “Great, apologies if I said the word instead of the letter,” he responded.
Scarborough, Brzezinski and co-host Willie Geist have been together on the program since it launched on MSNBC in 2007, and have acknowledged some of their conversation has been constrained in recent years by a focus on news around the Trump administration. “When Washington is on fire, it’s hard to talk about 12 tips for, you know, grooming your Shetland pony,” Scarborough told Variety in an interview published last year.
Other anchors have also grappled with their emotions after covering Wednesday’s events. “It has been a struggle, and yesterday was a moment, perhaps, of the end of faith for many of us who have covered this day in and day out,” said Kasie Hunt, the MSNBC anchor who covers Congress as part of her duties for NBC News, speaking during her early-morning MSNBC program Thursday. “