Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The ratings success of the centrist Fox News Channel during the Iraq war of 2003 sent the competing cable news services scrambling in search of right-wing commentators who would erase the "liberal-bias" onus perceived by viewers. One residue of the "Fox Effect" was MSNBC's hiring of Joe Scarborough, former Republican congressman from Florida, to anchor a nightly one-hour news review. As expected, Scarborough Country mercilessly skewered the supposed left-leaning opinions of the mainstream media in general and Fox's rival CNN (whom Scarborough dismissed as "The Craven News Network" after reports of its acquiescence to Saddam Hussein in order to maintain the CNN Baghdad bureau) in particular. Unlike Fox's Bill O'Reilly, who often invited people of opposing opinions to his high-rating commentary program, Scarborough was not as amenable to welcoming guests whose politics ran counter to his own. Scarborough Country premiered April 14, 2003.