Things got a little tense on the set of "Morning Joe" Friday morning.
"For me, the fundamental issue is that we’re not passive observers here in the Trump show, we have a role to play and nobody can deny that his poll numbers are fueled by non-stop media coverage which you wouldn’t give him if he weren’t a celebrity," Shea said. "You’re not giving Bernie Sanders the wall-to-wall coverage because he’s not taking you on his helicopter for people to just go for joyrides above the Iowa State Fair."
The hosts responded that Trump is leading in the polls in several states and should thus be taken as a serious candidate, but Shea disagreed.
"Yes, and Bernie Sanders may or may not be in first place in New Hampshire but Mika [Brzezinski] has to go to CSPAN to watch coverage of him," he said. "Because of Donald Trump's celebrity, he's getting this perpetuating non-stop, wall-to-wall coverage that's no different, honestly, than when CNN went wall-to-wall on Malaysia."
Shea drew parallels with the time Brzezinski, the "Morning Joe" co-host, refused to report a story on Paris Hilton, tearing up the script in front of her and lighting it on fire. The moment became a media sensation.
"You were the heroine of a media moment," Shea said. "You said 'enough already,' and we're saying the exact same thing. We're saying that we will not participate in this sort of legitimacy of a fringe candidate who doesn't even believe that Obama was born in the United States. To give him the coverage, to legitimize him time and time again only perpetuates the legitimacy of a sideshow."