Meacham, Scarborough Trash ‘Extreme’ Talk Radio Creating Lack of ‘Intellectual Content,’ Rise of Trump

Friday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC saw the latest insults hurled in the direction of conservatives and talk radio as co-host/failed talk radio host Joe Scarborough and liberal historian Jon Meacham blasted “the most extreme voices in talk radio” from the past three decades for having “dumbed...down” the Republican Party and creating conspiracy theorists giving rise to Donald Trump making for a lack of “intellectual content.”

Discussing Trump’s comments claiming that President Obama was the founder of ISIS (as opposed to his policies leading to ISIS), the flip-flopping Trump fan in Scarborough chalked it up to being like what he’s “heard...over the past 30 years from the most extreme voices in talk radio and the impact that it’s had on the Republican debate is its coarsened the Republican debate, it’s dumbed it down.”

The former GOP congressman continued the pity party by lamenting that “[s]ome of those most extreme voices have somehow filtered into the mainstream of Republican thought” and in turn, “[n]ow what you have is actually the person at the head of the Republican Party actually saying something every bit as extreme as the most extreme talk radio conspiracy theorists would have said 20, 30 years ago, five years ago.”

Meacham spent much of his time attacking the GOP, but he gave a brief nod to one moment in which liberals contributed to the erosion of decorum in American politics was then-Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy’s speech on the Senate floor blasting the late Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. 

Moving back to the real perpetrators in their books (i.e. conservatives), Meacham whined that Newt Gingrich, talk radio, and Rush Limbaugh caused a degradation of “intellectual content” on important issues like how/why ISIS came to be:

I’d argue that in the first Bush administration, the Gingrich and the rise of talk radio, which was exploding at that point. Rush Limbaugh went from really starting out nationally in '88, '89 to being someone who endorsed Pat Buchanan in 1992 and so you're exactly right about the intellectual content of a lot of these arguments as you really can't call it intellectual content. That's an insult to intellectual content but you know, there's a really important debate to be had about what happened, how ISIS started.

Instead of looking at, say, Trump or themselves, the elitist crew at Morning Joe made the easy decision to blame talk radio that the liberal media are always more than happy to play and one that ABC’s The View co-host Joy Behar made hours later.

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s Morning Joe on August 12 can be found below.

MSNBC’s Morning Joe
August 12, 2016
6:08 a.m. Eastern

JOE SCARBOROUGH: You heard this type of talk, Jon Meacham, over the past 30 years from the most extreme voices in talk radio and the impact that it’s had on the Republican debate is its coarsened the Republican debate, it’s dumbed it down. Some of those most extreme voices have somehow filtered into the mainstream of Republican thought. Now what you have is actually the person at the head of the Republican Party actually saying something every bit as extreme as the most extreme talk radio conspiracy theorists would have said 20, 30 years ago, five years ago. I mean, saying that he was the founder of ISIS makes about as much sense and is just as stupid as saying that FDR bombed Pearl Harbor. 

JON MEACHAM: Right. 30 years is a great number because there's a left wing version of this which was Ted Kennedy's speech about Robert Bork when he went to the floor of the Senate. 

SCARBOROUGH: Talked about the — another great example of the coarsening of American political debate.

MEACHAM: That was hyperbolic on the Democratic side and I’d argue that in the first Bush administration, the Gingrich and the rise of talk radio, which was exploding at that point. Rush Limbaugh went from really starting out nationally in '88, '89 to being someone who endorsed Pat Buchanan in 1992. 

SCARBOROUGH: Right.

MEACHAM: And so you're exactly right about the intellectual content of a lot of these arguments as you really can't call it intellectual content. That's an insult to intellectual content but you know, there's a really important debate — 

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Exactly.

MEACHAM: — to be had about what happened, how ISIS started. Was it the disbanding of the Iraqi army?

SCARBOROUGH: Right.

MEACHAM: 250,000 people suddenly without jobs. What happened when we withdrew troops in 2011 because this is the kind of geopolitics we're going to be dealing with for the foreseeable decade.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center