Joe Scarborough, who spent most of the past year warning America not to underestimate Donald Trump, framed himself as the real “journalist” Thursday morning while those at The New York Times and other “elite” media outlets were mere “cheerleaders” for Hillary Clinton.
“It was there the entire time,” the Morning Joe host said of Trump’s path to victory. “They didn’t want to hear it, they didn’t want to see it.” He pointed to the bullish predictions for Trump by FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver and comments by his friend Mark Halperin, who was seated at the table, as examples of people who were “mocked and ridiculed” for even admitting there was a “small chance” it could happen. (With Halperin, the mocking and ridicule had more to do with his sycophantic interview style.)
“I want you to the think about this,” he said, pointing a finger at The New York Times and Washington Post, “that when anybody even made the suggestion that Donald Trump could be elected president of the United States, it was their journalistic standards that were questioned.”
Accusing the Times of “ignoring” the reality of what made so many voters embrace Trump, he went on to say, “You had a complete blind spot, and you wanted to keep it that way. It was much easier for you to stay in Manhattan and say that they are all racists and bigots.” And if they still believe that 50 million Americans are “racists and bigots,” Scarborough said, “I have pity on you.”
“You don’t understand what’s going on,” he lectured his media colleagues. “Let’s face it: I didn’t understand what’s going on out there. But you know what Mark and I did that you didn’t do? You know what Mika did that you didn't do? We actually talked to people in Middle America. And they told us they were hurting, and they told us why they were voting for Trump.”
Scarborough later held up the front page of Thursday morning’s New York Times, which read, “Democrats, Students and Foreign Allies Face the Reality of a Trump Presidency,” and said, “This is staggering, it really is.”
“This is the day after a surprising underdog sweeping victory and their headline is not ‘Disaffected Americans Have a Champion Going to the White House’ or ‘The Country Votes for Fundamental Change,’” Halperin said, comparing the paper to The Onion. “The headline is about how disappointed the friends of the people who run The New York Times are.”
“This shows that the editors of The New York Times—I have the greatest respect for them—don’t get it,” he said. “This is a Saturday Night Live sketch. You went to a cocktail party the night before and you decided to write this.”
Throughout the long presidential campaign, Scarborough’s feelings about Trump seemed to vary with his poll numbers. When Trump was surging in the Republican primary, he was a frequent call-in guest on the show and had an often uncomfortably cozy relationship with Scarborough and his co-host Mika Brzezinski. But in August, when things started going south for Trump, Scarborough called on the GOP to “get this political train wreck off the tracks before something terrible happens.”
It’s no surprise that with Trump about to ascend to the highest office in the land, he’s back in Scarborough’s good graces.