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Scarborough: We Must Push Back on President's Brutish Threats

MSNBC's Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, noting the tenor of the political times, says such times "demand that our team beats back against the tide of brutish threats from the President and from some of his allies."

Scarborough, along with MSNBC's Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, was accepting the Len Zeidenberg award from the Radio Television News Directors Foundation at a dinner in Washington Thursday night (March 8). The award is named for the late senior (Washington) correspondent for B&C.

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He said he ascribed to Washington Post editor Marty Barron's dictum that his journalists are "not going to war, we're going to work," but said there was no mistaking that the times called for pushing back on attacks and threats. "It's our responsibility to call out those times when constitutional norms are being challenged," or when "The President of the United States actually channels Joseph Stalin and calls the media the enemy of the people, and those times when the white house and other politicians do all they can do to undermine the credibility of those who actually try to check their power."

And there were more threats to beat back, Scarborough suggested, including a threat from NRA TV against Brzezinski saying "her time is running out" and then "ominously holding an hourglass and turning it over."

Scarborough gave a shout out to MSNBC president Phil Griffin, NBC News chairman Andy Lack and top Comcast D.C. exec David Cohen ("and the entire Comcast family," he added, then added some more: "and they are a family.")

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Scarborough defended his network from the "liberal" label that has been pinned on it. MSNBC is supposed to be such a liberal network," said the former Republican congressman, "but at least since I have been there, especially under the leadership of Phil Griffin, he's been like the Koch Brothers [big Republican/conservative donors] in the fact that it is laissez faire. He lets you do your thing and say what you want to say. We are allowed to speak freely without scripts, and without fear."

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.