Morning Joe's interview “exclusive, first-ever joint interview” with industrialists Charles and David Koch was full of softball questions and worshipful praise. They also gave the Koch brothers a pass for claiming they oversee one of “the safest and environmentally protective” companies. The fawning interview follows months of pro-Koch coverage by the MSNBC hosts.
Morning Joe's Pro-Koch Coverage Paid Off With “Exclusive, First-Ever Joint Interview”
Morning Joe On Koch Brothers Before Interview: “Awesome,” “Godsend,” People Should “Thank” Them And Stop “Pick[ing]” On Them. Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski's tireless efforts to defend industrialists Charles and David Koch paid off when the Koch brothers granted them “an exclusive, first-ever joint interview” on MSNBC. The Morning Joe crew had called David Koch “a godsend,” portrayed the billionaires as similar to “most Americans” in their political views, and dismissed attacks over their dark money spending as “stupid” and “embarrassing.” [Media Matters, 10/30/15]
International Business Times: Scarborough And Brzezinski Are “Are Self-Professed And Unabashed Koch Fans.” Reporter Brendan James wrote that the Morning Joe hosts “in charge of the interview are self-professed and unabashed Koch fans” and noted that “both Brzezinski and Scarborough earlier this year attended a weekend in Palm Springs, California, for the American Recovery Policy Forum, put on by the Kochs' organization, the tax-exempt Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce ... Neither MSNBC nor the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce would answer questions about whether the Koch organization paid the travel or other expenses for the MSNBC hosts.” [International Business Times, 11/2/15]
Morning Joe's Interview Featured Softball Questions
Scarborough And Brzezinski Give Charles Koch A Pass On Claiming Koch Industries Is Among The “Safest” And Most “Environmentally Protective” Companies. The Morning Joe co-hosts did not challenge Charles Koch when he claimed that the Koch brothers' business has been “contributing to society” and been “among the safest and environmentally protective producer.”
BRZEZINSKI: Let's talk about the book and start with the title. How do you define Good Profit?
KOCH: Well, Good Profit, I define just that way, is profit -- a good profit is profit that becomes [sic] from contributing to society, from helping other people improve their lives. And for a business, this means producing products and services that your customers value more than the alternatives while more efficiently using resources and being among the safest and environmentally protective producer. And so when you do those, you create good profit. And so this was my philosophy I developed early on.
In reality, as Media Matters has documented, the Kochs have a terrible environmental track record. Koch Industries paid “the largest civil fine ever imposed” for environmental violations after the company caused hundreds of oil spills, and a government agency determined that Koch Industries failures were likely responsible for the deaths of two teenagers. Koch Industries is also among the companies most responsible for both air and water pollution in the U.S. Finally, neither Scarborough nor Brzezinski challenged Koch on his professed devotion to the “scientific method,” even though Koch has personally denied the firmly-established scientific consensus that human activities cause global warming. [Media Matters, 11/3/15; Media Matters, 8/27/14]
Scarborough To Charles Koch: “How Surprised” Are You About “The Level Of Vitriol Leveled Against You?”
SCARBOROUGH: I want to ask you something personally. Because Mika and I talked about this when we had spent a little time with Liz and you before, about how surprised you seemed a few years back at the level of vitriol leveled against you and your family, even Harry Reid calling you un-American. Something that we talked about on our show time and time again ... What kind of personal impact did that have on you and your family, and were you shocked by the level of vitriol?
Koch responded in part by comparing himself to church reformer Martin Luther, who was put on trial for his religious beliefs and work. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 11/3/15]
Scarborough To Charles Koch: “How Did You Feel” When “You Guys Won?”
SCARBOROUGH: How did you feel the night all the election results came in after Harry Reid and the Democrats had run against you and your brother all year and it ended up that you guys won most of the races that you got involved in? [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 11/3/15]
Scarborough To Charles Koch: How Did You Become “One Of The Most Influential People In The World?”
SCARBOROUGH: How did you go from being that guy, to being one of the most influential people in the world? What happened? What was the -- when did the, sort of the light come on for you? [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 11/3/15]
Brzezinski To The Kochs: “Which One Was The Good Brother” Growing Up?
BRZEZINSKI: Sitting here in your childhood home we have the Koch brothers. Which one was the good brother? [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 11/3/15]
Brzezinski To Charles Koch: “You Were The Big Brother?” Scarborough further inquired if Charles Koch bossed David Koch around:
BRZEZINSKI: You were the big brother?
CHARLES KOCH: Yeah, four and a half years older. I was five years ahead of him in school.
SCARBOROUGH: Did he boss you around?
DAVID KOCH: Well, he helped me in a lot of different ways. Let's put it that way. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 11/3/15]
Scarborough To The Koch Brothers: “Talk About ... How You Guys Are Just Different.”
SCARBOROUGH: When we've heard about the Koch brothers, the Koch brothers, everybody talks about the Koch brothers like you're conjoined twins. But you all are actually very different. Talk about the misperception, first of all, and then talk about how you guys are just different people. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 11/3/15]
Brzezinski Comments On Koch Industries' Revenues: "It's Pretty Good, I Would Say Those Are Good Numbers."
DAVID KOCH: When I first joined the company, we had just $6 million revenue. And now here it is years later our revenue is $2 billion. So we've done very well there.
BRZEZINSKI: It's pretty good, I would say those are good numbers. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 11/3/15]
Scarborough To David Koch: Hard To Find Anyone In New York Who Hasn't Been “Touched By Your Graciousness,” Did You Get That “From Your Mom?”
SCARBOROUGH: It's hard to find people in New York, liberals, we were talking about this before, liberals or conservatives alike, who haven't been touched by your graciousness, whether it's towards the arts or cancer research. Do you think you got that instinct from your mom? [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 11/3/15]
Scarborough To David Koch: “It Does Seem Like Americans Are Actually A Lot Hungrier For This Message Than They Were When You Ran.”
SCARBOROUGH: Isn't it interesting, though, that as time goes by and government's gotten larger and larger, what we've certainly found when we go out and speak on college campuses is a real instinct to move towards a more libertarian position, whether it's on economic issues where people want you out of their -- want the government out of their lives or social issues, where it seems like they want the government out of their bedroom. Even though you've talked before about your disgust with what's happening in Washington, D.C., it does seem like Americans are actually a lot hungrier for this message than they were when you ran. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 11/3/15]