Thursday, November 13, 2008

Seven seconds of separation

Thanks to MSNBC talk-show host Joe Scarborough, you’ll get your cup of “Morning Joe” seven seconds later than you could before.

The weekday early-morning news and commentary show made more news than it reported on one day this week.

On Monday, Scarborough talked politics with Time Magazine’s Jay Carney, columnist Mike Barnicle and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski. In comments contrasting the "steady nature" of the Obama brain trust and the proclivities of Rahm Emanuel, tapped to be the chief of staff for the Obama administration, Scarborough made mention of Emanuel’s reportedly piquant and abrasive conversational style ... and revealed nothing less than his own:

Once he’d gotten down off his political high horse and comprehended the reactions of those in the studio around him — Barnicle’s reaction: Priceless — Scarborough was suitably contrite. "Did I say the word?... My wife is going to kill me when I get home... I'm going to go get some soap."

The seven-second delay is nothing new to longtime broadcasters. Started in the 1950’s (often as a five-second delay), the practice evolved from crude tweaks of reel-to-reel tape to accommodate temporary postponements of speech to actual software modules that can now actually insert delays of up to ten seconds in the broadcast of live content.

Now, it seems, it’s time to welcome back an old favorite from yesteryear. MSNBC announced that, starting with the broadcast on Tuesday, “Morning Joe” would be tape-delayed by seven seconds, lest Scarborough’s righteous right-wing vitriol surface again.

Everything old is new again, the saying goes. That’s nowhere more true than it is on the “Morning Joe” set right now. Or seven seconds from right now.

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