MSNBC Puts Joe Scarborough On Tape Delay

MSNBC has instituted a seven-second delay for morning show, Morning Joe, a spokeswoman for that show confirmed Tuesday evening.

Spokeswoman Alana Russo confirmed the delay was instituted after a slip Monday morning when show host Joe Scarborough accidentally dropped an f-bomb, then apologized, seemingly unaware that it had slipped out.

Russo had no further comment about the delay beyond acknowledging it was prompted by the f-bomb.  

Cable operators are not under the same FCC indecency enforcement regulations as broadcasters, and even broadcasters get more leeway when it is a live news program.

But Russo also said that it would not be the first tape delay for the cable news network, pointing out that radio jock Don Imus' simulcast had been on a delay before the network dropped his show in April 2007. Imus was dropped after something did make it onto air--disparaging remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team.

The Parent's Television Council, which has complained to the FCC about on-air profanities and wrote to NBCU executive Jeff Zucker to call for a delay, praised MSNBC's decision and called on other networks to do the same for their live morning shows.

"We applaud MSNBC for taking the necessary steps to prevent other mishaps like this in the future," said PTC  President Tim Winter. "Although this is a cable network that is not subject to the same decency standards as  broadcast networks, millions of families are grateful for MSNBC’s decision to try to prevent inappropriate language from airing,” he said.

"If a several second tape delay is good enough for MSNBC, then NBC should follow suit with the Today

show and its other live programming," said Winter of corporate cousin, NBC. Winter was referring to a c-word from Jane Fonda that aired in a Today show interview earlier this year, as well as Tiki Barber's use of the same word during the Olypmics.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.