Consider this: Dick Morris—the man who will replace Michael Smerconish as WPHT’s weekday afternoon host—is such a huge hack and has so little regard for empirical truth that he is no longer considered employable by Fox News.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Morris, you’ll recall, is the political consultant who spent the weeks on Fox News before the November election assuring that channel’s viewers that Mitt Romney would beat Barack Obama. And that it wouldn’t even be close. Romney, he said, would win 325 electoral votes and beat Obama by five percentage points in the popular vote.
“We’re going to win by a landslide,” Morris told Fox’s viewers—the “we” a clear indicator he didn’t even care to pretend to independent analysis. “It’ll be the biggest surprise in recent American political history.”
And he added: “I base this not on reading the tea leaves, not on intuition, but on reading the polls.”
Why was his prediction so far off of everybody else’s? “It’s not a matter of being smarter than everybody else,” he preened. “I’ve done this for a living.”
It was horse manure. What’s worse, Morris knew it was horse manure—any pundit can have a bad day with predictions. But as he later admitted, the opinion he offered Fox viewers wasn’t based on a careful analysis of the facts—it was designed entirely to rally the Republican team that was taking a beating at the polls.
I called it as I saw it from the polling, and I did the best I could – and I also worked very hard for Romney. … I spoke about what I believed, and <b>I think that there was a period of time when the Romney campaign was falling apart, people were not optimistic, nobody thought there was a chance of victory. And I felt that it was my duty at that point to go out and say what I said.</b> And at the time that I said it, I believe I was right.
But here’s the thing we didn’t know until all of this happens: Even Fox News has standards—or, at least, it has them in hindsight. Fox fired Morris. “I was fired because I was wrong,” he said. “I was wrong and I was wrong at the top of my lungs.”
Such is the man who will inform and shape the opinions of Philadelphians for four hours every weekday, starting this spring. “Wrong at the top of my lungs” could be a working definition of conservative talk radio anyway—though, full disclosure, I’ve appeared on WPHT several times recently—but it’s unusual that that phrase is also the most recent resume item on a station’s new star host.
This might be understandable if Morris had a powerful broadcasting presence. Somebody like Rush Limbaugh might be wrong at the top of his lungs every day, be he’s an undeniably talented, near-unflappable broadcaster. By contrast, watch what an awkward, sweaty mess Morris can be when he’s trying to explain what went wrong:
Give that man a drive-time radio slot!
The best thing about Morris’ hiring is that he gives the local media ample opportunity to make a ton of “Dick” jokes. For that, we’ll be forever grateful to WPHT. But between his dazzling wrongheadedness and questionable broadcasting talent, you’ve got to wonder: How long before Philadelphia gets sick of Dick?