MSNBC Makes Itself Cringe

Early this morning MSNBC’s Tom Costello filed a report from outside the Sidwell Friends School, awaiting the Obamas. It was, as far as these things go, a fairly standard report —almost sensitive, even, in that Costello twice conceded that this must be a “scary experience” for the Obama girls.

Here is how Costello’s MSNBC colleagues reacted to the report:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: That’s a tough story to me. If I were Barack Obama, I would — I would be horrified. I just — I would. and I’m — I’m not so sure I’m comfortable with what we just did on the air. I’ve got to say that. But I — that comes as a father of a young girl….

Scarborough wound down by asking why Americans need to know at which hotel the Obama family is staying or where the Obama girls are going to school (“I want a newsman or woman to tell me what the legitimate reason is”) and declaring himself “very upset about it.”

Mika Brzezinksi, who knows from showing up at school with a Secret Service crew, had a similar reaction:

BRZEZINSKI: l’ll speak not only from the experience of a child in a situation like that but also as a reporter, not speaking for Tom Costello, but I wouldn’t love that assignment. It would feel a little ridiculous and totally inappropriate. I wouldn’t love it. Standing outside the school of where the kids are going to go. I just want to leave the kids alone.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.