Joe Scarborough (Credit: MSNBC)

Joe Scarborough: Why are we "wasting" time talking about a presidential candidate's campaign manager assaulting a reporter?

He agreed that "touching her was inappropriate," but insisted at length everyone should stop talking about it


Scott Eric Kaufman
March 30, 2016 6:53PM (UTC)

Echoing Donald Trump's dizzingly legalistic defense of his campaign manager offered during Tuesday's CNN town-hall, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said on Wednesday that he isn't convinced that the assault charges former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields filed against Corey Lewandowski are worth discussing.

Scarorough began by admitting that "the story was worth covering," but quickly explained that the media shouldn't be covering it, because "there is absolutely no perspective [on it]."

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Cokie Roberts interjected that Breitbart essentially fired Fields, "and then half the people there quit, because [Breitbart] refused to stand by their reporters," strongly suggesting that the story should, in fact, be covered.

But no.

Scarborough further admitted that "touching her was inappropriate" -- legally speaking, in Florida it constitutes assault, and in fact no actual touching is required to file assault charges -- and co-host Mika Brzezinski added that this all could have been avoided had the Trump campaign simply apologized from the beginning.

She turned to the Huffington Post's Sam Stein, who said that he understands the "hyper-focus" on the incidence, but Scarborough had had enough.

"You don't get it -- nobody gets it, Sam, because we haven't heard it, Sam,” he said, to Sam Stein, in case that was unclear. "Because there's such a hyper-focus -- we are now eight minutes into this [segment] and I guarantee you, wasting eight minutes, now almost nine minutes on this, [but] people will still say that we have insufficiently obsessed on this touching."

"There are two sides to every story," Brzezinki noted.

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"Let me say again, [the assault] was inappropriate and should have never happened. But we were going to go to news four minutes ago but you and the rest of the Twitter-sphere think this is the most important story of the universe, Sam, so please, tell us what she said immediately after this broke."

"I feel like I'm on the stand," Stein replied. "What are you talking about? What are we debating?"

"You're the one that wants to keep talking about it," Scarborough said. "Let's go to the debate last night, because we've now wasted ten-and-a-half minutes on this, and I'm sure that still won't be enough."

Watch the entire discussion below via MSNBC.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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