On Friday's edition of Morning Meeting, host Dylan Ratigan featured fake photos  of Sarah
Palin during a mocking segment on why Americans are fascinated with the former
vice presidential candidate. While listing the show's top ten reasons,
Ratigan showed a doctored photo of Palin's head on the bikini-clad body of a
woman holding a weapon.
The host never admitted or addressed the fact that his network was passing off counterfeit pictures to his viewers. Earlier in the segment, Ratigan displayed an image of Palin in a short, black mini-skirt. This photo is also not real. MSNBC should immediately apologize for presenting such false information.
[UPDATE, November 16: On his Monday program, Ratigan apologized  for using the fake photos: "I want to apologize to Gov. Palin and all our viewers."]
It's important to remember, several hosts on the network, including Chris Matthews, have mocked Fox News  host Sean Hannity for taking video images from the 9/12 rally and then portraying the footage as from a more recent tea party event. After it was brought to his attention, Hannity apologized  on Wednesday. How long will it take MSNBC?
During the segment, Ratigan repeatedly and dismissively referred to Palin's looks. One reason he mentioned for the Republican's popularity: "She's also very hot." Talking to a fellow MSNBC host, he wondered, "Hey, listen. That's big, wouldn't you say, Contessa [Brewer]?"
Ratigan began the piece by acknowledging, "I could not feel more stupid doing what I'm about to do, which is make fun of Sarah Palin." He also touted the, supposed, main reason for Palin's draw: "Number one...she has family drama that makes you feel better about your own."
Time magazine Jay Newton Small sneered, "Well, certainly her headlines are more suited to People magazine than, say, Time magazine these days."
Although there were some positive comments about Palin during the segment, there is no excuse for MSNBC to use false and doctored information on air. How will the network remedy this situation?
For more information on the fake photos, see Snopes.com  and Patterico.com .
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 10:36am EST, follows:
DYLAN RATIGAN: [Pivoting off of a serious story by Contessa Brewer]: And having digested everything you just said, I could not feel more stupid doing what I'm about to do, which is make fun of Sarah Palin. So I feel peculiar right now is the truth, because I feel like that is terrible and this is silly. I don't know what to do with that, quite honestly. So, I'm going to attempt to make the transition.
But you can call our next segment Palin Palooza. Next week, in fact, you can expect to see the former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin everywhere. Her new book Going Rogue hits store shelves next week. And to drum up publicity, she is appearing on Oprah and launching on a 13 city book tour. Not that the book needs a big PR push, mind you. It's already number one on Amazon's book list of best sellers, which leads us to this question: What is it about Palin that drives America wild? We at the Morning Meeting have some ideas on why America is infatuated with Palin. And to have some fun, we have Time magazine writer Jay Small Newton. She covered Sarah Palin on the campaign trail and our own Contessa Brewer is with us as well. And, so, let us commence the conversation. [Reading off the Morning Meeting top ten list.] The tenth reason why she's people are so obsessed with her, Jay, we say is because we say she is the strongest man in the. Republican party. You agree with that?
JAY NEWTON SMALL: She is definitely the only superstar in the Republican Party has right now. She is the one drawing the crowds and the money.
RATIGAN: "She's also very hot."
NEWTON-SMALL: She's very pretty.
RATIGAN: Hey, listen. That's big, wouldn't you say, Contessa?
CONTESSA BREWER: You know what? Being attractive does not hurt.
RATIGAN: Yes. "She's also the only member of the GOP that knows how to use Twitter and Facebook." That's actually huge.
BREWER: I actually think that is one of her best features because she is authentic. American people see her as accessible and she is using the best tools at her disposable to reach out and communicate with the people who are her best audience.
RATIGAN: I'm going to burn through a couple more of these. Hang on, for a second. [Reads from Morning Meeting Top Ten list.] "Drill, baby, drill." I don't know what you have to say about that. "Ultimate capitalist. She'll sell anything for anybody for any reason." "She does looks like Tina Fey which makes her more attractive." This one, I like, though, Jay. "No one else can wink and smile and rip an opponent all in one breath." Pretty good skill.
NEWTON-SMALL: Absolutely. She can- she has what they call the velvet stiletto. She can rip your heart out with a big smile and looking great about it.
RATIGAN: She also, of course, sticks to her guns.
BREWER: She tends to be pretty dynamic when she is on a particular topic.
RATIGAN: Number two, she is not Bush.
BREWER: Well, there is that. That helps anybody at this point! [A fake picture of Palin holding a rifle and wearing a bikini appears onscreen. Next to it is a real picture of Cheney with a gun.]
RATIGAN: Number one, Jay, she has family drama that makes you feel better about your own.
NEWTON-SMALL: Well, certainly her headlines are more suited to People magazine than, say, Time magazine these days. But, you know, she's- it's fascinating to watch. Levi drama, the baby, is he going to reconcile with Bristol, are they going to get married or not?
BREWER: And how do you invite him to dinner after he poses for Playgirl?
RATIGAN: He's a hockey stud.
BREWER: I don't really see it that way. And I'm not really sure that Sarah Palin would either.
RATIGAN: Everywhere that Sarah Palin goes, she's going to have this hockey stud somewhere nearby posing.
-Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center.