He drags Kasie Hunt down with him: After a richly-deserved four-day weekend, Joe and Mika returned to Morning Joe yesterday morning. In their opening segment, they mugged and clowned with one of the performance hooks Joe liberated from Imus.
It's just as Imus-and-them used to entertain us! Mika pretends to be trying to read the news. Joe just keeps talking to the boys, usually about something trivial.
Mika pretends to be annoyed. It's a silly hook stolen straight outta Imus.
(Back in the day, Imus would disregard Charles when Charles was trying to read the news. This showed us that Imus was a rebel. When Scarborough liberated the bit, he added a pleasing gender hook, since it's Mika who can't bring the boys to heel. Mika swallows the abuse, then heads off to write her books about female empowerment.)
(Years ago, when the show began, Joe would insult her much more.)
For this kind of bullshit, Joe and Mika are paid millions of dollars per year. For our money, Mika may be the most unqualified person we've ever seen in any major role in any American industry. But then again, who really cares? It's just the American discourse!
This morning, Joe provided a good example of the way our big stars toy with the facts. Truly, you can't believe a thing you hear, especially while watching cable.
He started the show by praising Jeff Sessions for pooh-poohing the idea of naming a special prosecutor to chase down Hillary Clinton. But then, he switched over to the current stampede in which everyone is trying to show that Session has been a big liar.
We find this stampede unconvincing and highly underwhelming. We're embarrassed by the way major Democrats are pursuing it. That said, Joe got especially hinky today, misstating some basic facts to make the preferred story play.
The tediousness of this whole discussion would be hard to describe. It you want to let some brain cells die, you can watch the segment here.
Eventually, Joe began saying how crazy it was to think that Sessions didn't remember that one non-meeting meeting he attended, the one at which 28-year-old George Papadopoulos suggested he could help set up a meeting between Donald J. Trump and the uncle of his very good friend, Vladimir Putin's niece.
Sessions claims he didn't remember this meeting, and especially those remarks, until his memory was jogged by recent news reports. That may be true, and it may be false. Given who Papadopoulos seems to have been, we don't find it hugely hard to believe. (Nor do we find it important.)
That said, a stampede is on! As of today, all the children are looking for ways to insist that Sessions has been lying lying lying. Joe decided to stampede like this, with several howling misstatements:
SCARBOROUGH (11/15/17): But Kasie, I was debating somebody about this yesterday. They were saying "Oh, he [Papadopoulos] was just such—he was a low-ranking official."That's the very first thing we saw today. America wakes to this sh*t!
Well, at the time that request was made, Donald Trump was saying he was one of his two top foreign policy advisers. which goes back to the fact that this was such a mom-and-pop operation, without the mom, that everybody knew everybody there.
There was no campaign infrastructure at this point. And Donald Trump told the Washington Post, "Carter Page and George Papadopoulos were my two foreign policy advisers."
Meanwhile, we're sorry, but no. Donald J. Trump didn't say any such thing to the Washington Post, or to anyone else.
As everyone with the Internet knows, that simply isn't what he said at the famous editorial board meeting where he gave Papadopoulos' name to the waiting world. And what he did say, on that one occasion, may have been a silly charade—an attempt to pretend he had foreign policy advisers, when he actually didn't.
What did Donald Trump actually say on that one occasion? As everyone with the Internet knows, this is what he actually said—and yes, he had to ask Corey Lewandowski for a printed list of his august "advisers," whose names and qualifications he proceeded to read:
RYAN (3/21/16): Mr. Trump, welcome to the Washington Post. Thank you for making time to meet with our editorial board...As you can see, Trump gave five names to the Post editorial board, not just the two Joe preferred. He didn't say, on that occasion or anywhere else, that Page and Papadopoulos were his "two foreign policy advisers."
We heard you might be announcing your foreign policy advisory team soon. If there's anything you can share on that?
TRUMP: We are going to be doing that, in fact, very soon. I'd say during the week we'll be announcing some names. We always will.
RYAN: Any names you can start off with this morning with us?
TRUMP: Well, you know, I hadn’t thought of doing it, but if you want I can give you some of the names. I wouldn't mind.
Corey, do you have that list? I can be a little more accurate with that?
[WAITS UNTIL HE'S GIVEN THE LIST, WHICH HE READS]
OK, you ready?
Walid Phares, who you probably know, PhD, adviser to the House of Representatives caucus, and counter-terrorism expert.
Carter Page, Ph.D.
George Papadopoulos, he's an oil and energy consultant, excellent guy.
The honorable Joe Schmitz, inspector general at the Department of Defense.
Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg.
And I have quite a few more. But that’s a group of some of the people that we are dealing with. We have many other people in different aspects of what we do, but that's a pretty representative group.
He didn't say that to the Post in the now-famous meeting Scarborough was reinventing. He didn't say it to anyone else.
He wasn't parading around "saying he [Papadopoulos] was one of his two top foreign policy advisers." Endeavoring to advance a script about Sessions being a liar, Scarborough made that bullshit up!
Eight days ago, we criticized Scarborough and David Ignatius for making other misstatements about this editorial board meetng. At that time, Scarborough merely said that Page and Papadopoulos were the first two names on Trump's list that day.
Even that remark was false. Eight days later, with the guild stampeding, Scarborough amended his earlier misstatement, making it substantially worse. In this way, he convinced the world that Sessions is constantly lying.
Here's the most horrific part. After making this morning's misstatements, Scarborough threw to fresh-faced Kasie Hunt. Instead of correcting his mistake, she added some groaners of her own.
This was awful on Hunt's part. As always, Mika chimed in:
HUNT (continuing directly): Well, and they keep dismissing him [Papadopoulos] too as a young foreign policy volunteer? I mean, he was thirty years old. How old was Jared Kushner during the campaign? 35, 36? I mean—Deeply, horribly sad.
MIKA: And he was going to solve peace in the Middle East!
HUNT: And still is! So I think—there are some real questions about that in my mind.
Quite reasonably, Kushner has long been ridiculed as being too young and inexperienced at age 35. That said, he was and is Trump's son-in-law. This explains the absurdity of his plainly absurd portfolio.
In fact, Papadopoulos was 28, not the newly imagined 30, when his name was read to the Washington Post that day. (Also, when that later "meeting" was held, with Sessions attending.) Weirdly, Hunt embellished his age today, thus enhancing his claim to gravitas and grandeur.
In fact, Papdopoulos was clownishly young and inexperienced to qualify as a serious "foreign policy adviser." Everybody began saying that on the day Trump read his name to the board. We don't find it hard to believe that Sessions paid exactly zero attention to anything he said.
Scarborough's misstatements get bigger by the week, and how he's dragging Hunt down with him. She embellished Papadopoulos' age, then advanced a silly argument, undercutting the idea that Sessions wouldn't have taken him seriously.
How depressing should it be to see Hunt heading down that road? She's youngish (32), and personable, and perfectly capable. That said, does anyone enter the maws of "cable news" without soon handing over her soul?
You can't believe a thing you hear, certainly not on cable. This morning, in the 6 AM hour, manifest script-driven bullshit was even coming from Hunt!
Love in the afternoon: The "Ryan" whose name you see in that transcript is Frederick J. Ryan Jr., the Washington Post's little-known publisher.
With Putin's niece now out of the picture, rumors swirl that Papadopoulos, who turns 30 this very month, has, in a clever networking move, begun dating Ryan's daughter.