Failed Radio Host Scarborough Takes to NBC to Bash Conservative Talk Radio

Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today to hawk his new book, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough – whose own radio show was cancelled after a brief run in 2010 – proceeded to slam conservative talk radio hosts: "They make millions and millions of dollars....they start pushing their world view on Republicans across the country and start saying, 'You either have to run up to the barricades and fight to the death every single time or you're not sufficiently conservative' and you actually have politicians listening to that and not understanding that's a profit motive." [Listen to the audio]

He added: "...we've got to stop feeding every single little resentment if we want to get back into the White House."

Scarborough's rant was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie touting the same line of attack in his book:

I have never known you to mince words. And you don't disappoint in this book and you really let conservative media have it....you really go after conservative media. You say, "This may come as a shock to certain ideology- (and profit-) driven talk radio hosts...but parties win the White House by nominating candidates who win the most votes, not feeding endlessly on base resentments that offend crossover voters and shrink the GOP's voter rolls." I mean, you seem to be saying talk radio is part of the problem.

In response, Scarborough began by feigning indifference at how successful other radio hosts have been, unlike him: "Well, I mean, it's not a part of the problem for them. They make millions and millions of dollars. I don't knock that. You know, let everybody make millions and millions of dollars."

At the top of the segment, Scarborough seized on a new NBC News poll about a hypothetical 2016 presidential race between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton to justify his scolding of the GOP: "Republicans still have a lot of their same challenges. You go inside the numbers in these polls and where does Chris Christie win? He wins with old people, white guys, and the rich. Not exactly transformative."

Guthrie chimed in: "No, and when you look deep into our poll, the Republicans aren't exactly united around Chris Christie the way Democrats seem to be around Hillary Clinton, which kind of goes to the heart of what your book is about. It seems to me you're calling on the Republican Party to do some soul searching and your argument seems to boil down to, do you want to be ideologically pure or do you want to win elections?"

Scarborough then wrung his hands over "ideological witch hunts" in the party where "People have been going on TV saying, 'If you don't agree like us that we've got to shut down the government to stop ObamaCare, then you're not sufficiently conservative.'"

Once again, he and Guthrie were discussing a poll about a political contest three years away involving two candidates that haven't announced they're running yet.

Here is a full transcript of the November 12 segment:

7:07AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: We move on now to politics and a new NBC News poll that is out this morning. It takes an early look at the 2016 presidential field and there are some surprises on the Republican side. Joe Scarborough is host of MSNBC's Morning Joe and the author of a new book, The Right Path: From Ike to Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered Politics – and Can Again. Joe, good morning.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: It's great to be here.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Decision 2016? New Poll Looks at Clinton-Christie Match-Up]

GUTHRIE: I've got to ask you about this poll, we can't help ourselves, we're polling 2016 already.

SCARBOROUGH: Exactly. Well, it's only three years away.

GUTHRIE: Exactly. So we put Christie up against Clinton. And here it comes down to Clinton gets 44% of the vote, Christie gets 34% of the vote. How likely do you think is it that, that's the match-up we'll see?

SCARBOROUGH: We just don't know. Remember, before last year – the last election in 2011, we were all talking about, you know, whether it was going to be Mitt Romney or not. In 2007, famously, we all believed Rudy Giuliani was gonna take on Hillary Clinton. This could change a lot.

But – but Republicans still have a lot of their same challenges. You go inside the numbers in these polls and where does Chris Christie win? He wins with old people, white guys, and the rich. Not exactly transformative.

GUTHRIE: No, and when you look deep into our poll, the Republicans aren't exactly united around Chris Christie the way Democrats seem to be around Hillary Clinton, which kind of goes to the heart of what your book is about. It seems to me you're calling on the Republican Party to do some soul searching and your argument seems to boil down to, do you want to be ideologically pure or do you want to win elections?

SCARBOROUGH: Well, that's what it comes down to. We've been having these ideological witch hunts over the past six months. People have been going on TV saying, "If you don't agree like us that we've got to shut down the government to stop ObamaCare, then you're not sufficiently conservative." As I've been saying over the past couple days, that's like a football coach deciding that if you don't run up the middle when it's 4th and 31, that somehow you aren't sufficiently tough. That's not the case. We've got to start playing smart. It's not about compromising, it's not about being liberal, it's about figuring out how to reach the middle of the electorate the way Chris Christie did in New Jersey.

GUTHRIE: I have never known you to mince words. And you don't disappoint in this book and you really let conservative media have it-   

SCARBOROUGH [HOLD UP PICTURE ON THE DESK OF MATT LAUER DRESSED AS PAMELA ANDERSON FOR HALLOWEEN]]: But – but you have never known me to do this.

GUTHRIE: No, I haven't.

SCARBOROUGH: How many pictures of Matt do you have like this?

GUTHRIE: A lot. You know what? I'm gonna share. That's an early holiday present for you. But let me-

SCARBOROUGH: Oh, fantastic. You know what? I'll just skip the holidays, go straight to the new year.

GUTHRIE: Let me read a part of your book which – you really go after conservative media. You say, "This may come as a shock to certain ideology- (and profit-) driven talk radio hosts...but parties win the White House by nominating candidates who win the most votes, not feeding endlessly on base resentments that offend crossover voters and shrink the GOP's voter rolls." I mean, you seem to be saying talk radio is part of the problem.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: State of the GOP; Scarborough on Republican Party's Past & Future]

SCARBOROUGH: Well, I mean, it's not a part of the problem for them. They make millions and millions of dollars. I don't knock that. You know, let everybody make millions and millions of dollars. But when they start pushing their world view on Republicans across the country and start saying, "You either have to run up to the barricades and fight to the death every single time or you're not sufficiently conservative" and you actually have politicians listening to that and not understanding that's a profit motive. And again, let them make their millions of dollars, but we've got to stop feeding every single little resentment if we want to get back into the White House. We can control the House of Representatives, but as we've seen over the past couple months, that's not enough. If we want a more conservative country and better world, if you're a conservative, we've got to start winning elections.

GUTHRIE: Before I let you go, when a politician, or even a recovering politician, writes a book like this, I wonder, are you thinking about running for president yourself?

SCARBOROUGH [POINTING TO THE PICTURE OF LAUER]: Absolutely not, there are too many pictures of me like that.

GUTHRIE: Really?

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah. Well, actually, you know what? No, why would he do that? Why would he do that? Who does this?

GUTHRIE: Oh, I thought you were talking about your presidential run.

SCARBOROUGH: No! These pictures.

GUTHRIE [HANDS SCARBOROUGH PICTURE OF LAUER]: That's for you. Joe, don't say that I never gave you anything.

NATALIE MORALES: Are you saying that's a definitive no? That you're not running?

GUTHRIE: Yeah, you're really dodging the question. Good point, Natalie.

SCARBOROUGH [HOLDING UP PICTURE OF LAUER]: Yeah, I saying this is a definitive no.

MORALES: No, not that, not that. I'm saying you.

SCARBOROUGH: I will never dress – who let him do this? What's wrong with you people?

GUTHRIE: Yeah, I'm not gonna let you keep that, keep this up. Will you run for president in 2016?

SCARBOROUGH: No, absolutely not.

GUTHRIE: Alright, thank you for being definitive. That's very un-politician like.

SCARBOROUGH: I've got a 10-year-old daughter, she said she has to get out of high school before I do anything.

GUTHRIE: Alright, Joe Scarborough, thank you. And I'll be looking for these pictures, too.

SCARBOROUGH: Alright, thank you so much.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.