MSNBC's weekday morning show "Morning Joe" is under fire after it was caught trying to fool viewers into believing last Friday's post-Thanksgiving show was live. In reality, the show was taped on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
When the show opened Friday morning, co-host Mika Brzezinski said, "Day after Thanksgiving! Hoo! I’m stuffed," according to the Washington Post.
At one point, Brzezinski even joked to her co-host, and fiancé, Joe Scarborough, that she forgot to remove the guts from her turkey before cooking it and that it was still cold in the middle when she served it. Scarborough laughed it off by saying "the game last night made up for it," Fox News reported.
The show did not post a disclaimer informing viewers the show had been pre-taped and wasn't live. However, as the Post noted, the only difference between Friday's broadcast and a live broadcast was that the "Live" graphic typically in the bottom of the screen wasn't present. The show's other two co-hosts, Willie Geist and Rick Tyler, also played along.
The illusion was furthered by the fact that MSNBC producers had a news ticker at the bottom of the screen that displayed news in real time. An MSNBC executive later confirmed to the Post the show was not live, but said there was no intention to trick viewers.
"There was no intention to trick viewers," the executive said. "Would it have helped if there was a disclaimer? Maybe. But that’s not typically done."
How was the deception discovered?
According to the Post, the deceptive show was discovered by a regular viewer who wrote to the Post about how unusual Friday's show was. The longtime viewer inquired whether or not Friday's show was "fake news."
"I was quite flabbergasted by the way they were so deceptive about this ... especially when they are always so quick to castigate lying [or] deception they attribute to others," the viewer told the Post.
How did the show's host respond?
After the Post published its story, Scarborough responded on Twitter:
Wow. You either never watch our show or need your jokes so obvious they fall on you like an anvil on Bugs Bunny car… https://t.co/3qNZP52lgh— Joe Scarborough (@Joe Scarborough)1511668951.0
Also, the only person you sourced was an unnamed viewer who didn't want to be identified? Really? That's your sourc… https://t.co/CHBdsXcJwO— Joe Scarborough (@Joe Scarborough)1511669127.0