Why they don’t call it ‘Morning Whoa’

Flickr photo by Nathan Congleton | Morning Joe

Forgive me, Father, for I am about to sin.

Well, that’s true if bloviating is a sin and if my typing here ranks on the same level as the hot air generated this morning during a brief discussion on “Morning Joe” about the controversy swirling around Mike Rice, the men’s basketball coach at Rutgers University.

For those who don’t know, “Morning Joe” is the morning cable-TV chat fest hosted on MSNBC by Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist. Along with a revolving door of pundits, they discuss the news of the day, which today included Rice, 44, who has coached at Rutgers since 2010.

Mike Rice Jr.
Mike Rice Jr.

In a video released Tuesday by ESPN, Rice is shown shouting profanities at players in practice, shoving them and throwing basketballs at them. For his behavior, he was fined $50,000 by the university in December and suspended for three games, according to news reports.

I’ve just told you as much about this as anyone else learned by watching “Morning Joe.”  But it’s what happened next on the panel discussion that was interesting and points to what’s wrong with these shows.

First, let me say I don’t know nearly enough about the situation at Rutgers to say what should happen to the coach.

But that must just mean I’m not as smart as Joe, who condemned Rice and then passed the billy club to the next panelist as the discussion moved around the table. By the time it got back to Joe, he was calling for Tim Pernetti, the Rutgers athletic director, to be fired.

The whole process repeated itself, getting back again to Joe, who then said Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi ought to be fired if he doesn’t step up and deal with both Rice and Pernetti.

The conversation was repeated at least two or three times as a new panelist joined the discussion so he, or she, could bloviate. I guess this was done because the world cares what Bob Herbert, a former columnist at the New York Times, thinks about the Rutgers basketball coach. Of course, this would be because Herbert usually writes about poverty, the Iraq war, racism, according to his Wikipedia page.

I’m glad I’m not likely to be “fired” from my job by someone as smart as Joe and Bob and the others who are there primarily to fill broadcast air time with hot hair. There must be better things they could do.

But for my saying so, please, Father, forgive me for passing a snap judgement after watching just a few minutes of something on TV. And please show the same forgiveness to Joe and Bob and the others.

An afterward from the writer:

I was thinking about all of this after I posted it, and what it proves is the wisdom of my friend, Larry, who is an engineer and is way smarter than I am.

“Don’t watch the angry people on the TV,” is something Larry often tells me.

But that’s exactly what I did this morning instead of going to the gym. I would have been much better off at the gym.