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Morning Joe
MSNBC's recovery from Imus.

by Michael H. Thomson
January 30, 2008

It's tough when your loyalties split. For years, I was a devotee of the Imus in the Morning Show. I loved him and hated him – sometimes in the course of one morning program. When the controversy with the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team erupted, I quickly forgave Imus and threw verbal coals on his hypocritical critics, chief among them, the Reverend Al Sharpton. In the weeks that followed his ouster from MSNBC, I, like others, watched as this national cable network tried to fill the void left by Imus.
For weeks, MSNBC would send in replacement formats to try to regain the viewer popularity they had lost with the dismissal of Don Imus. Some mornings their attempts were so comical that I would watch for five minutes then turn off the TV and play with Stacey, the longhaired Chihuahua. It took MSNBC several weeks of experimentation to come up with a winner. Morning Joe had really just gotten into its groove when the announcement came that Imus was returning to radio and TV. While I eagerly awaited the return of Imus, I experienced some pangs of regret departing my newfound friends at Morning Joe. Switching between the two programs, I find that I am lingering longer on Morning Joe than I am Imus.
The host of Morning Joe is former Florida Republican congressional representative, Joe Scarborough. I had watched the Joe Scarborough show on MSNBC several times, but had not been impressed  by MSNBC's attempts to parry and thrust against Fox's conservative  duo of O'Reilly and Hannity & Colmes. "Morning Joe" is something different however.
On the show, Joe teams up with MSNBC news anchor, Mika Brzezinski – the daughter of former National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski. Added to this mix for comic relief is Willie Geist son of CBS television personality Bill Geist. The three of them provide a fast paced news and entertainment program that is enjoyable without any discernible political agendas like you see on Fox and Friends.
The magic with Morning Joe is how once conservative bulldog, Joe Scarborough, cordially treats his lineup of equally balanced conservative and liberal political guests. He has a disarming manner that results many times in guest revelations which result in national news.
Joe is proud of his ties to the Florida Panhandle and the University of Alabama and shows it occasionally with an occasional "Roll Tide" shout, which I am sure is jarring to his New York producers.
As for Imus – I'm still watching, but under the constraints of the conservative RFD TV channel that hosts his show, Imus is still working on getting his groove back.

About the Author:
Join Mike Thomson at his blogs, The Independent Populist, and Alabama Confidential.

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