NBC’s august weekend news program Meet the Press descended into a quintessential cable shouting match on Sunday, as former Obama adviser David Axelrod clashed with MSNBC host Joe Scarborough over the media’s role in fomenting panic about the first-ever case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States.
The trouble began when Scarborough explained how he felt the government was deliberately downplaying the danger of a wide-scale Ebola outbreak in America. “This is a fire from hell, and if you think the Atlantic Ocean is going to stop it from coming over here, you’re kidding yourself,” he said, quoting an American doctor who survived the disease.
“I don’t want to disagree with Dr. Scarborough,” Axelrod said sarcastically, adding that health professionals in the U.S. government “have no motivation to mislead the American people.”
An offended Scarborough hit back. “I don’t understand that ‘Dr. Scarborough’ comment, I’ll be really honest with you,” he said. “This is a serious issue.”
“Because Joe, when people like you and people like us go on television, and say, ‘This is far worse than they’re saying –’ Axelrod replied.
“I’m not saying that!” Scarborough shouted, prompting an across-table shouting match while an amused Chuck Todd looked on. “Gotta hit the pause button here, guys,” the NBC host finally said.