They had an extended discussion on Morning Joe today about the network decision to show Trump's phony "border crisis" address in prime time tonight.
"Gene, let me ask you, if they didn't run Barack Obama's address on immigration in 2014 because they thought it was too political, what in the world would be their justification for running it tonight when they know that objectively, by the numbers, by the data, Donald Trump is going to go on TV tonight and he is going to lie about an imaginary crisis at the southern border?" Joe Scarborough said.
"Well, you know, there's no objective good reason to do it, but I imagine they felt cornered. You know, he -- the way he demonizes the media. If they refuse it's going to be 'see, they're all biased, it's all fake news, they won't even carry, you know, an address, i'm the president wanting to speak to the nation,' " Eugene Robinson said.
"Doesn't matter," Mika said.
"You know, so either you get that or you end up carrying a speech that you know, as Mika said, is going to be filled with lies. So I think what they may be -- and this is not from any inside knowledge of what the network suits are thinking, but I think they're probably going to do something close to real-time fact checking, the way you did it that time. Does that really help? I'm not sure. It's going to be lies and we know it. And the one thing we should keep in mind is that this sort of set-piece speech is not Donald Trump's forte. And he could in the end come off looking not only mendacious but kind of foolish and stiff and this is not what he's really good at. I don't have a good answer," Robinson said.
"Well, Willie, if you're a network president, you don't worry about the cat calls from the audience, you don't worry about the most fevered base in America, whether it's on the far left or whether it's on the far right," Joe Scarborough said.
"I mean, we've heard a lot of people talking, you know, on the Democratic side justifying a young Democratic congresswoman's falsehoods and saying, well, it comes from her heart. No, no. It's either true or it's false. And if it's a lie, you call out the lie. And that's happening now on the right and it has been happening for years now with Donald Trump supporters. If you're a network executive and you know somebody is coming on to spread hatred through lies and misinformation, it seems to me that you're just like a lawyer that can't put a witness on the stand if you know they're going to commit perjury," Joe Scarborough said.
"Well, I think the decision has been made at the network level and the only thing I would say is that I trust Rachel Maddow and I trust Lester Holt and I trust Savannah and I trust the people we have here to do exactly what you and Mika did that day during the speech this summer, is to go through it, and point out point by point where the inaccuracies and where the lies are if he presents those," Willie Geist said.
"I think they will do a good job of that. But to the larger part of the networks being called fake news, spoiler alert: He's going to call us fake news anyway, so you can't worry about that. He's already laid that down.
"On the ratings question, I'm not sure. He's a wild lively unpopular president, I don't think viewers are going to tune in in droves."
He pointed out that Ellen DeGeneres' game show, which will be preempted for the address, is probably a lot more popular than Trump.