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Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

'Morning Joe' hosts weigh in on discourse

Saturday, September 25, 2010

(Photo)
Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough spoke about the importance of maintaining civil discourse despite differing opinions at Kresge Auditorium at DePauw Friday Night.
GREENCASTLE -- How fitting that the keynote speakers of DePauw Discourse 2010 have spent the last three years promoting just that: discourse.

"Morning Joe" co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski spent Friday night on the stage of DePauw's Kresge Auditorium discussing "Journalism in the New Media Age" and trying to bring civility back into political discourse.

Scarborough said the genesis of the show was simple. In an age when so much political talk is about screaming, he wanted to see a show that had simple conversations -- no teleprompters, no scripts, just conversations.

"Let people talk," Scarborough said.

And thus began the show's concept. While the traditional networks balked at the idea of a morning news show that didn't cater to celebrity news or angry talking heads, they managed to get Don Imus' old slot at MSNBC.

The idea was to construct a TV news show that strives for objectivity, while maintaining transparency. The hosts are a great example. Scarborough is a former four-term Republican Congressman from Florida, while Brzezinski is a career journalist whose father Zbigniew Brzezinski was a national security advisor for Jimmy Carter.

"Her dad ran foreign policy, and my dad ran a little league team," Scarborough said.

Clearly, they come from different ends of the political spectrum, but that isn't a problem as long as they are willing to listen to each other.

"I always assume I can learn more from listening than talking," Scarborough said.

"You really need to listen to others whose views may be really distasteful to you," Brzezinski said.

From that viewpoint of being willing to see the other side, a different kind of show was born -- one where difference of opinion is encouraged, but yelling is off limits.

"We have only one rule on our set, and that's be civil," Scarborough said.

While the pair was promoting listening and civility as the right approach to journalism, it goes much deeper than that for them. The yelling that pervades news and political discourse is symptomatic of politics in general in the current age.

They spoke of how political swings of the last 15 or 20 years have been about backlash as much as anything. Conservatives viewed George W. Bush's presidency as a chance to pay back the liberals for the Clinton years. Obama supporters are now viewing the current era in the same way.

"We have got to break this cycle," Scarborough said. "This is no way to run a republic."

He told of how Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill, while great political adversaries, were friends after hours. There was a mutual respect between them seldom seen in today's political environment.

He cited Rush Limbaugh and how he may agree with Limbaugh on many issues, he can't agree with how Limbaugh hopes for President Obama's failure.

"When exactly did we start rooting against the President? You can't root against the president without rooting against the United States of America," Scarborough said. "I'm a Republican and a small government conservative, but I'm an American first."

Speaking on a college campus, Scarborough and Brzezinski tailored their message to the journalists and leaders of tomorrow. They said not to give in to the temptation to sensationalize or dumb it down.

"Never underestimate the intelligence of your audience," Scarborough said.

In addition, strive for objectivity, but be willing to take a stand for your own viewpoint. Also don't be afraid to be on the wrong side.

"I'd rather hear from someone with a little texture and someone who's willing to be wrong once in a while," Brzezinski said.

Finally, hold yourself to high standards. Scarborough said the network president gave them the litmus test by which they should measure their show. Through it, they keep in mind the standards of a late colleague.

"Always imagine you have an audience of one, and that audience is Tim Russert. If it's something Tim would be proud of, keep doing it," Scarborough said.


Comments
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To bring in people from MSNBC to discuss "civility in the political discourse" shows an amazing bias just in the people chosen to talk about the issue...MSNBC is so out of touch with the people in this country that it is amazing they would be brought in...at least it was not Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermen...

-- Posted by justasking on Sat, Sep 25, 2010, at 1:51 PM

Joe Scarborough did not even finish his time in

Congress! He quit, and walked out. And there are

stories behind that...

And, it wasn't so long ago, that Joe Blowhard didn't even believe in global warming!

And when Meeka Brzezinski was asked, who her favorite Founding Father was, she said, "Abraham Lincoln!"

Joe and Mike belong on a game show somewhere,

not making a dog and pony act, out of the news,

and themselves.

Mika's father called Joe, "stunningly superficial." That goes for both Joe and Mika.

They are phony and lack intelligence.

Not great credentials for news anchors.

Comcast should dump these overpaid frauds, and

get people who have high standards and integrity,

instead of the, Joe and Mika, carnival hucksters.

-- Posted by Joe lowers his voice to rant. on Sun, Sep 26, 2010, at 3:06 PM

Joe Scarborough did not even finish his time in

Congress! He quit, and walked out. And there are

stories behind that...

And, it wasn't so long ago, that Joe Blow didn't even believe in global warming!

And when Meeka Brzezinski was asked, who her favorite Founding Father was, she said, "Abraham Lincoln!"

Joe and Mike belong on a talk show alright, but on some other network. It really doesn't matter where they go. They'll be able to morph into place.

Mika's father called Joe, "stunningly superficial." That goes for both Joe and Mika.

They are phony and lack depth and intelligence. Not great credentials for news anchors.

Comcast should dump these overpaid frauds, and

get people who have higher standards and integrity, instead of the, Joe and Mika, carnival hucksters.

-- Posted by Joe lowers his voice to rant. on Tue, Sep 28, 2010, at 2:17 PM

Please no!

The same Joe Scarborough who quit Congress,

is trying to say he knows how to run a republic?

(google: Joe Scarborough intern)

Like when he and Mika were drunk after the

White House Correspondents' Dinner?

Indeed, two peas in a pod.

Never overestimate - the intelligence of your

yakkinghead tv hosts on Morning Joke.

-- Posted by Barbie and Ken on Tue, Sep 28, 2010, at 3:44 PM


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