On Wednesday’s “Morning Joe,” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough defended his cable news rival Fox News from President Barack Obama’s criticism at a discussion on poverty at Georgetown University Tuesday morning.
“I think the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving got traction. And look, it’s still being propagated,” Obama said at the event. “I mean, I have to say that if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu — they will find folks who make me mad. I don’t know where they find them. They’re all like, ‘I don’t want to work. I just want a free Obamaphone,’ or whatever.”
Scarborough found the comments to be “stunning,” and asked the “Morning Joe” panel multiple times if they’ve ever heard anything of the sort being discussed on Fox.
“I really don’t know where to start. At a bipartisan summit you decide to attack a cable news channel as the problem,” Scarborough said. “Saying that Roger Ailes’ network calls people leeches, sponges, and lazy, that, first of all — at a summit that’s supposed to bring both sides together on poverty, is stunning to me.”
“Secondly — and I guess this is the problem — Barack Obama says if we are to change the way that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, then we have to change — change the way they think? Is he really the sole arbiter of what is right and just? Is he the only one who cares about the poor?” Scarborough asked.
“The arrogance to say if we are to change the way our opponents think — you know what? Maybe he needs the change the way he thinks,” he continued. “The arrogance of it all is staggering.”
“I’m a little embarrassed for him,” Scarborough added.
Frequent “Morning Joe” guest Mike Barnicle went on to argue that President Obama’s point about not knowing the poor stems from his personal dealings in the world. But Scarborough wanted to bring the conversation back to the president’s finger-pointing at FNC.
“What about the specific clip about Fox News calling poor people leeches, sponges and lazy. Have you ever heard that on Fox News?”
“No, I have not,” Barnicle said.
“Has anybody ever heard that on Fox News?” Scarborough queried.
“I don’t really watch,” co-host Mika Brzezinski admitted.
“Has anybody ever watched anybody call the poor lazy, sponges and leeches? Scarborough asked again.
“Yes. You hear that — turn on the radio. Turn on talk radio,” Barnicle said.
“I was talking about Fox News,” Scarborough responded.
“I have not heard that on Fox News. But turn on the radio, you hear it all day long,” Barnicle said.