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By C. Antonio Romero

SAN FRANCISCO, 30 DECEMBER 2008 - MSNBC's Joe Scarborough stands in as the token right-wing talking head host on what is otherwise, due to the success of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, fast morphing into the Democratic News Network. And in general he doesn't seem to be as stupid or pig-spirited a man as one finds on the Republican-centric Fox News Channel - one gets the feeling that he's just an ordinary Joe doing his job, cranking through the piano rolls of received wisdom from the right, just as, say, an Anderson Cooper does from the center-right.

But the problem with being an ordinary Joe doing political interviews is that from time to time one must face off against the real thing - not just a spinner or an ex-insider flogging a book, but a real Big Figure who does not suffer foolishness gladly. And today on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Scarborough had such a moment with Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter and father to his co-host Mika Brzezinski.

When Scarborough sallied forth wielding his received wisdom about Arafat walking away from the 2000 Camp David Summit and thus killing the Middle East peace process, Brzezinski swatted aside the rusty saw and then speared him in the gut without pity: "You have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarassing to listen to you."

His coup de grace ran Scarborough clean through, pricked the vanity of American news media as a whole, and should have even piqued those in the audience who got it: "If you're going to judge your knowledge by the collective standards of 300 million people, then don't be surprised that you're embarassed." Subsequent condescension, such as "Let me spell it for you...T-A-B-A, Taba...", were near-gratuitous - if entertaining - insults to an enemy's corpse.

Elitist attitude? Sure. Showboating? You could say so. But the collective standards of 300 million people, for whom "knowledge is a dangerous thing," gave us two terms of life under George W. Bush. When taking on complicated subjects like war and peace, we've learned, "It's helpful to know a little bit about it." Morning Joe

Title photo: Zbigniew Brzezinski and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough

C. Antonio Romero is the Nouveau and Technology editor of He last wrote Palin's Prank, Darwin's Litmus Test, and America's Last Chance.

Book Tips

All titles are chosen by the editors as being of interest to Culturekiosque readers.

America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy
By Zbigniew Brzezinski and
Brent Scowcroft
Moderated by David Ignatius
Hardcover: 304 pages
Basic Books (September 2008)
ISBN-10: 0465015018
ISBN-13: 978-0465015016

Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Hardcover: 240 pages
Basic Books (March 2007)
ISBN-10: 0465002528

Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War
By Joe Bageant
Hardcover: 288 pages
Crown; First edition (June 2007)
ISBN-10: 030733936X
ISBN-13: 978-0307339362

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