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MSNBC's excuse for banning Markos doesn't hold water

By now you may have heard that Markos Moulitsas, the founder of Daily Kos, has charged that he's been blackballed from appearing on MSNBC because he got into a Twitterwar with Joe Scarborough.

According to Markos, MSNBC chief Phil Griffin emailed him this explanation:

I'm hoping this will be only temporary and that the situation can be resolved in a mature fashion, but until then I just don't know how one could reasonably expect to be welcomed onto our network while publicly antagonizing one of our hosts at the same time.

It's funny. I don't recall the chief of MSNBC publicly banning Liz Cheney from appearing on the network when she cut an entire Web video "publicly antagonizing" Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews for allegedly being too frightened to debate her about terrorism:

See, conservatives are expected to demonize the media, and can always count on being granted a platform by the same major networks they hammer publicly on a regular basis. It's all part of the game, get it? But it seems Markos got publicly dressed down and banned by the president of the network, no less, all because he got under Scarborough's skin with a few nasty little Tweets.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 7, 2010; 4:29 PM ET
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup


If Scarborough had any class, he'd speak up against the ban on Kos. Barring people because they disagree with you, unless they're total whack jobs, just makes your positions and principles look shaky.

I'd also be surprised if KO and Rachel went along with this quietly.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 7, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Can't MSNBC just ban Scarborough instead?

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 7, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"I just don't know how one could reasonably expect to be welcomed onto our network while publicly antagonizing one of our *rightwing republican* hosts at the same time."

fixed it for him

there is no way this will last. i bet we see kos on countdown, maddow or schultz tomorrow if not tonight...

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 7, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

They still need to explain Pat Buchanan. As an African American, I find him to be a disgrace and Griffin is an idiot! Jethro Scarborough, as Markos points out also has the lowest rated morning show of them all. By the way, I'd still like to know why he wasn't hounded by the Dead Intern story the way Gary Condit was? Good point Markos. Jethro Scarborough is a jerk and an idiot! I don't watch his awful show either. He just shouts down those who don't agree with him. Rachel Maddow handled him just right when she pummeled him with facts, forcing him to walk off the set of Race for the Whitehouse. Got that Mika?

Posted by: roxsteady | July 7, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I like Scarborough to a point, but if you get under his skin, look out. I think that's why Khrystia Freeland is on CNN now. I'm sure she's not the only one blackballed by Mr. Sensitivity.

Good call out, Greg.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | July 7, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

that's our liberal media for us....

Posted by: SDJeff | July 7, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Funny - I missed the part where Liz Cheney implied that the media should have investigated Olbermann for possible murder of an intern.

Here are the tweets that I don't believe Greg linked to:

markos: Like story of a certain dead intern. RT @JoeNBC: Luckily for the White House, the media has been negligent on this story since Day 1.

Markos: But if you want to talk about bullshit "scandals", @JoeNBC, there's this one about Joe Sestak and the White House you might've heard of.

JoeNBC: @markos Unbelievable. You have a long history of spreading lies suggesting I am a murderer. This is the 3rd or 4th time by my count.

Markos: @JoeNBC, I've never suggested you're a murderer. I've noted media hypocrisy in going after Gary Condit. But he was Dem. You aren't.

JoeNBC: Anyone in media who interviews @markos, know that you're extending your credibility to someone who regularly suggests that I'm a murderer.

Markos: A bit touchy, @JoeNBC? Links for where I accuse you of being a murderer please.

Read more:

Posted by: sbj3 | July 7, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

@roxsteady: "Rachel Maddow handled him just right when she pummeled him with facts, forcing him to walk off the set of Race for the Whitehouse"

wow. somehow missed that. do you know when it happened and do you know of any links to the video? i'd love to see that...

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 7, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

sbj, nice try, but if you click through Kos's link, which I provided, you will see that he quotes those same Tweets. But thanks.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 7, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse


come on. kos was noting the dichotomy, not suggesting scarborough was either a murderer or even should be investigated.

where did he "imply that the media should have investigated Olbermann for possible murder of an intern"?

he didn't. he just noted the discrepancy.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 7, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Don't have to go to newsbusters to read all about it. Markos posted all of the tweets on dKos.

We shall see whether KO touches this one. He left dKos a couple of weeks ago after a commenter insulted his integrity.

Posted by: msmollyg | July 7, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the corporate media is outrageous. Thank you for this article, Greg, would love to see more like it.

SBJ, thank you for posting the tweets showing that @JoeNBC acts like a spoiled brat who pants and screams and tears out his hair when he doesn't get his way. Petulance personified.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 7, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

God forbid a conservative pundit get antagonized!

Has there ever been any group as thin-skinned and paranoid?

And sbj? Greg wasn't omitting anything. But it's good to know your source is newsbusters...

Posted by: CTVoter | July 7, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for reminding us about Liz Cheney - I'm sure there are lots of other examples out there.

As for the "civility" argument, doens't MSNBC still pay Pat Buchanan?

Posted by: lcrider1 | July 7, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Joe Scarborough murdered an intern? What?!

Posted by: kholmes1 | July 7, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Olbermann left dKos,-Please

But apparently he came back,-uh,-this-looks-like-a-nice-site

Posted by: msmollyg | July 7, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse


Keith went back to Kos.,-uh,-this-looks-like-a-nice-site

(the last lines are kinda funny)

Posted by: CTVoter | July 7, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

No, Liz didn't accuse Olbermann of murder - she just accused him of hating america, encouraging terrorists and endangering our troops.

Posted by: lcrider1 | July 7, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Weird. I didn't see the rest of your comment, Msmollyg, until after I posted the Keith link. Sorry.

Posted by: CTVoter | July 7, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Markos, in the linked post, explains his meaning as clearly as you could want. It was about a media double standard.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 7, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of thin skinned prima donnas.

Here's what I think KOS should say to the guys at MSNBC:

Screw them

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 7, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Kind of funny for Scarborough to be so thin-skinned about it, especially after basically calling Boehner a lazy drunk the other morning on the air, not even in just a tweet war. I suppose it would be a touchy subject though, too bad he didn't get Markos' point, it wasn't about the intern, it was about the lack of media coverage.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 7, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

In this corner weighing in with heavy duty facts, Rachel Maddow. And in this corner..hey...where'd he go?

Posted by: doryo | July 7, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse


well, it's just one rightwing republican and his boss who are thin skinned there. obviously, the targets of the cheney video are much more mature.

will you answer my question: do you think obama 'has taken away your freedoms and liberties'? if so, which ones exactly?

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 7, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse


thanks -- now i remember it. that was good to see again, given the present context. what an emotionally stunted man child.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 7, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse


"No, Liz didn't accuse Olbermann of murder..."

...and Markos didn't accuse Scarborough of murder.

So, I'm pretty sure that means I can accuse you of being an idiot - and be right.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 7, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Greg - Thanx on the prior Republican platform documents! And of course the tax rate for the big boys was at 90% or so back then.

Totally off topic but a serious pet peeve of mine is politicians coming out as a pack to do the "we must all be attentive!-serious point!-couldn't agree more!" bullshit...

Both parties do it and I wish someone would tell them that most of us out here are not 13 years old.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 7, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

And re Kos etc...Josh notes the termination at CNN of Octavia Nasr for saying what is now the "politically incorrect":

The modern right has not only set up its own media system but it continues its sustained attack on the rest of the media entities as well. It is purposeful information control, it is Orwellian and it is intellectually inexcusable and morally vile.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 7, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Washington Monthly piece on how the Chamber of Commerce actually operates:

Posted by: bernielatham | July 7, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"Weird. I didn't see the rest of your comment, Msmollyg, until after I posted the Keith link. Sorry."

That is odd, because I posted them at the same time. I didn't actually realize KO had returned. I went to dKos to look for the "I'm leaving" link and when I found it I also found the "I'm back" link.

Posted by: msmollyg | July 7, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Olbermann didn't leave dailykos -- just took a break (turned out to be very short). He's written at least 2 diaries since then.

Posted by: ramat | July 7, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I think most fair-minded folks would read those tweets and agree with Griffin: "I found the comments to be in poor taste, and utterly uncalled for in a civil discourse."

If Markos was truly trying to make a point about media hypocrisy or double standards then he surely could have done so without bringing unwarranted attention to the well-known and vile rumor that Scarborough murdered an intern. I am surprised that Greg would want to defend such juvenile behavior. It was obviously a dig meant to hurt personally, and it obviously could negatively impact MSNBC to bring attention to this rumor.

Posted by: sbj3 | July 7, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

How can there be a media double standard when one girl fell and hit her head on a desk and the other girl had an affair with a congressman and then disappeared? If you think that's a media double standard then you have nothing to think with.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 7, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, Olbermann didn't leave dailykos -- just took a break (turned out to be very short). He's written at least 2 diaries since then.

One that I linked above. Didn't see a second. I usually avoid dKos like the plague.

Posted by: msmollyg | July 7, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 7, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 7, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

regardless of what you think of scarborough, kos and anyone else, if cheney's video doesn't get her banned, then kos's tweets shouldn't get him banned.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 7, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

definition of liberal journalism is god they have maddow and olberman.

Posted by: SISSD1 | July 7, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Another example of how ALL broadcast media holds a double standard for white conservatives over liberal commentary of all stripes.

Sure, you have Olbermann and Mathews and Maddow taking on the entire republican lie machine, but anyone else gets silenced... Why?

Kos is now more legitimate and less caustic and disagreeable as Lynn Cheney, so is he being blacklisted?

No wonder so many white people are confused about Obama! The white media encourages it through their double standards...

Posted by: gmoore40 | July 7, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

What's a bit sad in this hissy fit, and after all the fainting spells done by Joe, is that he really is about as reasonable and responsible a Republican as we are likely to get these days. No nonsense about creationism or climate change denial. Far better than that media darling du jour, Lindsay Graham.

Posted by: nedpepper | July 7, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Greg Sargent's post is intellectually dishonest because he fails to disclose what Kos said on twitter, causing the MSNBC moratorium. Greg Sargent did not bring it up, because he knows that Kos' conduct was disgusting.

On Twitter, Kos brought up a "dead intern" story in connection with Scarborough. Kos did this in a premeditated, calculated way, for the purpose of defaming Scarborough, while knowing that he'd get away with it because Kos' words failed to meet all the legal elements of the civil tort of defamation.

Kos later faux-protested, noting that he never aid that Scarborough murdered anyone. No, the intent and effect of Kos' action was merely to raise the suspicion that Scarborough murdered an intern in readers' minds, and to forever google-associate Scarborough with the death of an intern.

(Notice, too, that Kos has zero actual concern with a real human being who, sadly, died. The intern - and surviving family - is merely fodder for Kos malicious games.)

Reasonable readers who now know about Kos' conduct would evaluate it as disturbed and immoral.

Greg Sargent knows this, which is why he left this essential information out of his post.

Posted by: kryon77 | July 7, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

In my comment of a few minutes ago I said:

"On Twitter, Kos brought up a "dead intern" story in connection with Scarborough. Kos did this in a premeditated, calculated way, for the purpose of defaming Scarborough, while knowing that he'd get away with it because Kos' words failed to meet all the legal elements of the civil tort of defamation."

Actually, if you at the entire Twitter exchange - including "A bit touchy, @JoeNBC?" - Kos just may have legally defamed Scarborough. He may have been too cute by half. If defamation law, if the words in question have multiple possible reasonable meanings, and one of those meanings is defamatory, that's sufficient to get the case to a jury.

Posted by: kryon77 | July 7, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

The rule is that you're not even allowed to mention that an intern died in Joe Scarborough's office when he worked on Capitol Hill.

Am I defaming Scarborough by mentioning an intern died in his office? Ohmigod, Gary Condit has hit the payday! The entire news media hounded him for months based on the fact that an intern he knew disappeared in the park while jogging! Kos's tweets are critical of the media coverage of this issue. Apparently Griffin feels that more squelching of this issue is needed. Hence the ban on Kos.

And no, there's not a chance in hell that Kos would be sued for slander or defamation of character. He never implied that Joe had killed the intern. And Scarborough knows that. This is all simply part of the ongoing campaign to keep the rest of the media from discussing the elephant in the room when it comes to Scarborough. An intern who worked for Scarborough's office in Florida died under mysterious circumstances in Florida. And in contrast to the media blitz given to the contemporaneous Gary Condit scandal, the Scarborough story got no major coverage.
Indeed, when Michael Moore brought up the story in 2004, Scarborough used the same tactic that Griffin is using now: accusing others of accusing _him_ of murder. It's six years later and we're still waiting for that lawsuit.
Meanwhile, a young, healthy woman died under mysterious circumstances and no media scrutiny was ever forthcoming.

Posted by: rick_desper | July 7, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

kryon77: you'd be better off not using phrases you don't understand. Greg Sargent is not being "intellectually dishonest".

I encourage you to contact Scarborough if you want to pursue the charge that Kos slandered him. But keep in mind what Kos actually said: he has repeatedly said that he's not accusing Scarborough of anything.

The context here is the media's disparate coverage of various issues. This is an area where Scarborough has benefited enormously. Had his office been subjected to the scrutiny Gary Condit had, there's no way he would currently have a daily show on MSNBC. It would not matter a whit if Scarborough were innocent. After all, the evidence eventually exonerated Gary Condit. That never mattered.

You can see the disparate treatment of Republicans and Democrats by considering how the media treated Obama's health care reform agenda, as opposed to how they treated the Republican Medicare Plan D. If a Republican wants to spend money, no questions are asked.

Posted by: rick_desper | July 7, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

So in your twisted little world, challenging a person to a debate is equivalent to calling a person a murderer?

Get a clue.

Posted by: mrbrianoconnor | July 7, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse


Greg Sargent's post was intellectually dishonest. Greg Sargent may or may not be intellectually dishonest generally; I don't read him regularly enough to judge.

Evidence: The entire post is an argument that conservatives get favored treatment, because they can attack the media and the get further invites, while liberals cannot.

To further the argument, Sargent posts the exact words of Liz Cheney, in form of a YouTube video. But when it comes time to demonstrate MSNBC's alleged inconsistency by showing it's reaction to Kos' words, Sargent deliberates declines to quotes Kos' words, and doesn't even hint at the content. He then misleads: "a few nasty little Tweets." Sargent knew that quoting the actual twitter exchange would destroy his argument.

I don't know whether Kos defamed Scarborough. But it's closer call than Kos initially thought, if, again, one looks at the entire exchange. Kos has money, has likely talked to lawyer about this, and I suspect will not repeat this kind of talk again.

Now you, rick_desper, are a bit like Kos in that you apparently think it's clever to associate the name of someone you don't like with murder, and then declare:

Ha, ha, can't catch me, I never explicitly said you murdered! (I was making an argument about media bias, really!)

But this is sick conduct, morally sick, and it's amazing to me that you're so un-self-aware that you don't see how your conduct looks to reasonable outsiders.

Posted by: kryon77 | July 7, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

First Markos is kvetching about pollsters.

Now it's TV bookings.

My money is that Facebook & Twitter are the next villains in the Kos saga.

Posted by: hondo3 | July 7, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Finally. Marcos whateverhislastname is, finally banned from somewhere. Good grief! he's a blogger who encourages his groupies to abuse everyone who disagree with him.

Made my day!

Posted by: Realitycheck6 | July 8, 2010 3:39 AM | Report abuse

Daily Kos is a dying cesspool. First, they chased Olbermann away, and now Markos is pandering false accusations of murder! There's a rot there and it's spreading fast.

Posted by: Ogman | July 8, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Goldberg is right, Greg. None of you have been toilet trained. You included. You all came up through blogging, where you received no adult supervision whatsoever, and where you learned to write without thinking first. Now you write like some petulant 12-year-old who's angry because his friend wasn't invited to the slumber party. Grow up, Greg. Just grow the h3ll up.

Posted by: mwfree | July 8, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Yes, of course. If Dear Leader* wishes for us to condemn the victims, we are obligated to condemn the victims. The truth is adjustable to Dear Leaders'* needs at the moment - so there is absolutely never a double-standard in the Liberal media. Liberal media members and "commentors" are always to mask their personal agendas and objectives only using the term: "Liberal Media". Dear Leader* wishes it; so be it.

It's just common sense.

*Dear Leader is in no way associated with the wealthy ownership-class who own, staff and direct our Liberal Media.

Posted by: rjmmcelroy | July 8, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Mr. Sargent the analogy to the Cheney statement is such a reach I'm surprised you didn't hurt yourself typing it.

Moulitsas has suggested publicly, numerous times, that Scarborough murdered a woman. Murder. Once again: murder.

That's not antagonism. That's slander.

I dare say if someone suggested that you commited murder that you wouldn't consider it an antagonistic claim. You'd call it for what it is: a vile slander.

Sometimes not everything is politics. There's common decency that transcends liberal/conservative thought. This is one of the time.

Or should be.

Posted by: SteveMG | July 8, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

If Mr. Sargent thinks Mr. Moulitsas's statements about Scarborough have merit why doesn't he repeat those identical comments here and sign his name onto them?

What about that Mr. Sargent?

I would suggest that if you repeated Moulitsas claims against Scarborough here and put your name onto them, you'd be fired within 24 hours. As you should be.

Let's see who is right.

This isn't about left vs. right. This is about decency and slander.

Posted by: SteveMG | July 8, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

All Hat No Cattle Editorial: 9-15-01

Republican stronghold gives kid-glove treatment to local U.S. Congressman Joe Scarborough

When this story first broke in the Florida panhandle, we wondered if we were in store for some Gary Condit-style media coverage. Needless to say, this story never made national TV. The big boys of broadcast had their sights set solely on Condit and had no time to cover the unusual death of a healthy, politically active 28-year-old female aide in a U.S. Congressman's district office.

The so-called Liberal national media -- quite the opposite in this instance as in so many others -- felt it was more important to keep plucking feathers from their latest Democrat goose than to ruffle the feathers of a Republican Congressman who unexpectedly resigned just a few months after being reelected. Now an aide had been found dead in his office, but the national news media simply weren't interested.

After all was said and done, a few things became quite clear. The authorities, mainly the police who investigated the scene, gave the appearance of a cover-up by immediately stating that there were no signs of foul play. It subsequently was revealed that the dead woman had a wound to her forehead, which seemed to fly in the face of the initial statements by investigators. If this wasn't an example of poor police work, it most certainly was a case of bumbled media and public relations.

How could police rule out foul play until they knew the cause of the wound, before an autopsy was conducted and toxicology tests performed?

The local newspaper, the Northwest Florida Daily News, tried to get information from local authorities and claimed they were sandbagged at every turn . No one suggested that the Congressman had anything to do with the death, but the manner in which authorities handled the press shows one thing. They gave the benefit of the doubt to the popular Republican Congressman, and it is doubtful they would have done the same for any ordinary Joe.

PS. No picture of the dead aide, Lori Klausutis has ever been published.

Posted by: AllHatNoCattle | July 9, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

When is anybody from MSNBC going to ban that racist Buchanan from the network. The more racist stuff he writes and says it seems the more the network and its host embrace him. Morning Junk loves him and Chris Matthews loves to invite him to talk about racial issues. He wrote on his blog in 2008 that blacks should be grateful for America rescuing them from Africa. Until they fire Buchanan it is all hypocrisy Mr. Griffin. Whenever I see Buchanan's face I immediately turn the channel. I find him disgusting and repulsive...

Posted by: kjcross | July 9, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I still don't get what Joe Scarborough and Phil Griffin are hyperventilating about,
when they accuse Markos of taking a cheap shot, in a tweet. Markos mentioned the young, female intern, that was found dead, in Mr. Scarborough's Congressional Office.
That is a 100% accurate statement.
It is Joe, who brought the word "murderer" into the discussion. No one else did.
So actually, Phil Griffin banned Markos, for what Joe Scarborough said.
Not only does that bulldoze the first ammendment, but what kind of logic is that?

Posted by: cartesian777 | July 10, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

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