Allies of Joe Biden who want to get inside the president’s head can do so, at least to some extent, with less than an hour each morning and a subscription to basic cable, apparently. Presumably, so can enemies of the president – or of his country. According to Axios, “most” of Biden’s “top aides” pay attention to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” because it helps them “anticipate potential questions from him.”
The relationship between Biden and the supposed journalists on MSNBC makes any claim by the network to be unbiased highly suspect. (In fairness to MSNBC, the network doesn’t seem to make that claim very much.) Members of the Biden administration who appear on the program generally do so between 7:00 and 7:40 a.m., which is apparently when their boss can be counted on to be tuned in.
White House reporter Alex Thompson reveals President Biden's obsession with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and how it influences his decision-making. Biden frequently contacts co-host Joe Scarborough to discuss issues and media coverage. He includes show regulars… https://t.co/yY5ON6kcNG
— The America One News (@am1_news) February 2, 2024
But the partnership between the show and the administration goes much deeper than the president’s viewership, according to Axios. According to unnamed “people familiar with the relationship” cited by the outlet, Biden “often” talks to infamously anti-Trump co-host Joe Scarborough about policy issues. He’s also consulted “widely” with regular contributors to the show, including retired Adm. James Stavridis, who often appears on “Morning Joe” to discuss national security. In fact, in the early days of the Biden administration, when Scarborough’s co-host (and wife) Mika Brzezinski wanted to interview Vice President Kamala Harris, it was Biden’s team that convinced Harris to do it.
“The West Wing stepped in and insisted she do it because of how important that relationship is for them,” a former Harris aide told Axios. Apparently, Harris’ aides felt that interview went well, as the vice president and her husband, Doug Emhoff, had Brzezinski and Scarborough to dinner in January at the official vice presidential residence. The same month, Brzezinsky interviewed first lady Jill Biden. (Scarborough had already interviewed Biden himself last year.)
An MSNBC spokesperson declined on behalf of the two co-hosts to comment for Axios’ report. There are, of course, other cable news programs Biden watches. Axios suggested that his second favorite after “Morning Joe” was most likely “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” which appears weekly on CNN.
How much influence the administration has over MSNBC’s coverage of Biden is debatable, but there’s no question that the network influences the administration. Biden has consulted with foreign policy expert Richard Haass, who regularly appears on “Morning Joe,” and some of the president’s aides have “bristled” at Haass’ criticisms of White House policies. “Aides say Biden respects these voices on cable TV, and loves when they applaud his actions,” Axios reported.