Joe Scarborough, political hack and host of Scarborough Country on MSNBC, went on yet another odious rant on April 3. This time his scurrilous remarks were aimed at six-term Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The Congresswoman is accused of punching a Capitol Hill security officer in the chest (with cell phone in hand). After McKinney skirted a metal detector (members of Congress are not required to go through metal detectors) an officer, according to a witness, asked McKinney to stop several times. The officer claimed that he didn’t recognize the six-term Congresswoman (although each officer is given pictures of members of Congress); it seems that the confusion was due to McKinney’s new haircut. What would they have done to Dick Cheney in hunting gear? McKinney’s lawyers allege that a skirmish ensued after the officer “harassed” the Congresswoman and forcefully grabbed her by the arm. The Washington Post quoted McKinney, “Let me be clear: This whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman.”
If you were watching Scarborough Country, you wouldn’t have heard McKinney’s claim, because Scarborough dove right into slanderous commentary and demonizing drivel: “How do you solve a problem like Cynthia McKinneyThe six-term Congresswoman from Georgia has long been considered an embarrassing fact of life for constituents, Congressman and Capitol Hill police.” Scarborough went on to misquote McKinney, asserting that the Congresswoman claimed that George Bush knew about 9/11 and didn’t do anything about it because it helped Bush’s family’s stock portfolio. Scarborough ended his diatribe with words of reassurance, “The good news, saying stupid things is not a crime.” That’s right, because Joe Scarborough, media guardian of Natalie Holloway and defender of creationism, would have jailed a long time ago.
It didn’t concern Scarborough that a class action lawsuit has been filed by black Capitol Hill police officers against the United States Capitol Police department or that McKinney has been targeted by the brave protectors on Capitol Hill in the past. Race just isn’t an issue in America anymore-we all learned that after Hurricane Katrina. Apparently it wasn’t enough to bash McKinney alone, so Scarborough brought on founding editor of Wonkette, Ana Marie Cox (the quintessential apologist democrat). Cox echoed Scarborough’s assertions and added, “I worry [as a democrat] that she [McKinney] makes us all look a little crazy.” Cox need not worry, incompetence and feebleness trumps craziness, and the democrats have enough to go around.
The McKinney coverage coincided with the resignation of former House leader and truth teller Tom Delay. In an apparent tribute to Delay, Scarborough said that in all his years in Congress Delay had always been honest with him. Maybe Scarborough was introduced to the soft side of the Hammer, the rest of us know him as the morally bankrupt zealot who went down in flames quicker than Bush’s foreign policy.
Scarborough’s recent tirade came just weeks after he went ballistic because one of his guests asserted that “anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.” God forbid Scarborough let the Jewish lobby get upset (oh wait, I forgot the Israel Lobby doesn’t exists). McKinney has been an outspoken critic of Israel’s Apartheid-style policies and was vilified by the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee in her 2002 election run.
But is McKinney the problem as Scarborough claims? I would beg to differ. What is “embarrassing” is Scarborough’s disregard for journalistic integrity. If Scarborough had the sack to report on matters such as no wmd’s, the 100,000 plus dead civilians in Iraq, America’s persistent human rights abuses around the world, and the impoverished and downtrodden in American society, people like McKinney wouldn’t have to work so hard. Maybe “craziness” is an aftereffect of doing your job. The fact remains: progressives like McKinney are few and far between in Congress, while “pundits” like Scarborough are flooding cable TV with propaganda and neocon complicity.
REMI KANAZI is the primary writer for the political website www.PoeticInjustice.net He lives in New York City as a Palestinian American freelance writer, poet and performer and can reached via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org