'Morning Joe' crew: We want conversations, not fights
"Without passing any judgment on their ideological positions, every serious journalist I spoke to in Iowa that followed the campaigns and has been through several campaigns say that it's just without question the weakest presidential field they've seen in modern history," the host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" said Saturday (Jan. 7) at the TV critics' winter press tour.
"... They don't have the bases. They haven't organized. All of them except for [Mitt] Romney are broke. It's been a remarkably weak field in a time that the president, at least a few months ago, was [polling] in the low 40s."
Part of the reason for that, Scarborough figures, is the "corrosive" environment in politics and political media -- except, of course, for his show.
"When we started the show -- and I have to give [MSNBC president Phil Griffin] all the credit in the world -- we went to him with what sounded like a very radical concept. There's not a place on TV anymore ... where someone could come on for 15 or 20 minutes" to get beyond the usual talking points, he says.
"There's not going to be the stupid back-and-forth -- it's not going to be a 'Crossfire' environment," Scarborough adds. "We'll get heated up, as [co-host Mika Brzezinski] and I do, and make [ Willie Geist] feel really uncomfortable."
"It's always the child who gets hurt when parents fight," Geist deadpans.
Geist also says the appeal of "Morning Joe" is that "we don't do contrivance."
"If you look at a lot of cable shows, they're booked with, 'OK, we need a Republican strategist and a Democratic strategist' ... and we just put some read meat on the table and let them fight," Geist says. "We obviously have, if you watch the show, diverse points of view, but we just want to have a good, smart conversation."