Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough assailed mainstream liberal media bias Monday, leading a lengthy discussion about the far-reaching influence of Democrats in television media and challenging his panel to name any Republicans who'd held such positions.
His fellow MSNBC panelists could offer only sporadic examples, one of whom was deceased.
Scarborough remarked legendary anchor Walter Cronkite and the late Meet the Press host Tim Russert were liberals, yet they were considered "objective." No Republicans, he said, were ever allowed to hold such esteemed places in the mainstream press by left-leaning network heads.
"When you say objective, we Republicans have been forced to define objective as people who were objective Democratic voters," Scarborough said. "Outside of Brit Hume, who has been a conservative in the mainstream media in the past 30 years who you've worked for? Outside of Brit Hume, who has held a powerful position at ABC, NBC or CBS News on the air?"
Halperin replied with John McWethy of ABC News, who died in 2008. Co-host Mika Brzezinski laughed that Halperin was "digging deep."
Scarborough explained he was trying to show liberals the problem conservatives have dealt with for years in the mainstream press, naming as an example George Stephanopoulos, the former Clinton White House flack who now anchors Good Morning America and This Week for ABC. To Scarborough's point, Chuck Todd of NBC's Meet the Press once worked for Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa.) and John Dickerson of CBS' Face the Nation writes a column for the left-leaning Slate.com.
"Somehow, if you're George Stephanopoulos, it's ok because you're a Democrat," Scarborough said. "If you're Tim Russert, it's ok. All I am saying is, you cannot do it. Name the single Republican that has hosted a Sunday show, that has been an anchor of a news network for the big three networks over the past 50 years. You cannot do it."
"Joe, I agree with you 100 percent," Halperin said. "I've said for my whole career there's huge liberal media bias."
Liberal panelist Mike Barnicle seemed to concede the point about the press being slanted against Republicans with these words.
"If you got your wish of impartial moderators, impartial reporters asking questions, the Republicans would lose one of their biggest issues," he said. "Running against the media."
Scarborough replied that wasn't the winning issue Barnicle thought it was, since complaining about the press makes Republicans look like "whiners."
"What I'm trying to explain right now is we have been told for 50 years that it's just about impartiality," he said. "The entire process is rigged against us, because liberal network heads would never, ever dream of allowing, say, Brit Hume 10 years ago, to run NBC Nightly News or to run CBS Evening News. They would never dream it because there's such a built-in, left-wing bias."