The Mirror

Joe Scarborough: Is he the Mother Teresa of morning punditry? (Or, maybe not.)

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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It’s been nearly three weeks since The Mirror first broke the story of MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough‘s potentially serious conflicts at MSNBC. Network policy requires anchors to donate the money they get from corporate speeches to charity. Joe delivers an awful lot of paid speeches, often missing work to do it. Is he giving that money to charity? MSNBC and its parent company Comcast have so far refused to answer the question. But that hasn’t stopped Joe’s colleagues from whispering about it resentfully among themselves, and in some cases, calling us. Here’s what we just heard:

Joe has indeed been a busy little speech giver. Consider just one venue in the course of one year: Orlando, 2012. Joe gave at least four speeches in Orlando that year, for the list price of $51,000 each. That’s more than the average annual American salary. Per speech. You can see why he kept going back.

In April, Joe addressed the American Association of Community Colleges. The next month he was back to perform for the software giant SAP. In July, he spoke to Cardinal Health. In September, he returned for a gig for Blue Cross. Two of those speeches took place on weekdays, when Joe was scheduled to be hosting his show in New York. He really is the hardest working man at MSNBC.

Or not. Someone who has seen him speak says Joe almost never varies his remarks, no matter the audience: “Same hokey jokes every time. All he talks about is himself. It’s embarrassing.”

On the other hand, maybe it’s all for a good cause. If Joe is following MSNBC’s stated policy on conflicts of interest, he would have donated more than $200,000 to charity, just from those four Orlando speeches. That would make Joe Scarborough the most charitable man in cable news, the Mother Teresa of morning punditry. If that’s the case, let us know, MSNBC. Send us the name of those charities, so we can celebrate Joe’s unsung generosity. Either way, he deserves credit for all the work he’s been doing on the side.

We reached out once again to MSNBC PR department, but unfortunately in vain as we heard nothing back. So far they are remaining stony silent on this whole matter. But to review, Scarborough, no matter what he claims on TV about not caring about his bad press, is pretty broken up about our reporting on the matter. In fact, on the day the story originally broke, internal sources told us he phoned in sick to work at 5 a.m. just to avoid addressing the allegations regarding any sort of conflict regarding his speeches. But maybe he really doesn’t give two licks. After all, in a Jan. 21 on-air “Morning Joe” speech, he claimed to understand on some level what it’s like to be President Obama. On being a public figure, he said, “If somebody thinks they’re going to upset me by something they write online or on Twitter or something like that [LOUD CLICK OF THE TONGUE] they’ve got another thing coming.”

Where are your balls Joe? How about answering our questions as well as those of Daily Mail, Mediaite and more. It’s not like we’re asking about your underwear. We’d like to know about your tax returns and the charitable donations from your speeches.