“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough may be an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, but he doesn’t think the allegation-riddled former president is the only reason for such a huge political divide in the country right now. In fact, on Wednesday morning, the MSNBC host argued that media should really also “look at ourselves” as a driving force there.
Scarborough’s thoughts came as “Morning Joe” analyst Steve Rattner broke down exactly how Republicans and Democrats have identified further and further away from each other over the last few decades, citing factors like education levels and more.
When Rattner touched on how Trump factored in, Scarborough noted that people “can’t put this just down to Trump” (though conceded he was certainly a big piece of the puzzle).
“I would suggest we look at a lot of outside factors,” Scarborough said. “We should look at the media, we should look at ourselves, we should look at the world that was created starting in the early 1990s.”
Scarborough cited the rise of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, saying that “ideological sorting” really began in the media around then, when voters could tune into specific shows to hear their views echoed back to them. To that, host Willie Geist readily agreed.
“That is what sells, just telling the audience what it wants to hear,” Geist said. “That is what sells, whether it’s ratings or clicks or anything else.”
That said, Scarborough argued that media has a “responsibility” — as do consumers — “to try to figure out how to break down those walls, how to reach out, how to not just preach to the choir.”
He added that his goal is to always look at issues from both sides, and criticize everyone fairly. He touted the high ratings of “Morning Joe” as proof, saying that those numbers don’t “just happen in a vacuum.”
“People actually do turn,” he said. “It’s harder than it used to be, but they do turn and they watch shows, Willie, where you can get both sides. Again, the people are still sorted. But man, it is depressing to think that we’re just preaching to the choir.”
He continued, “I’m not I’m not interested in preaching to the choir. And when I start thinking I’m only preaching to the choir, I will quit and do something else.”
You can watch the full discussion from “Morning Joe” in the video above.