Byers vs. Scarborough…
Mediaite’s Joe Concha writes about a Dylan Byers article about Joe Scarborough…
There are nothingburgers in this business served up as yuge entrees of behind-the-scenes insight.
And then there was the whole bowl of wrong CNN’s Dylan Byers just cooked up today in his column on the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Donald Trump for CNN Money.
To review, Byers claims through his unnamed sources at 30 Rock that Scarborough’s cozy relationship with the GOP frontrunner is causing “increasing discomfort” over at MSNBC. One big nugget offered up by Byers’ reporting is that Scarborough has actually stayed at a Trump resort in Palm Beach, Florida during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in the past. Talk about cheap, pointless and a clear need for a chiropractor given all that stretching on the writer’s part: Trump owns dozens of properties in cities and resort towns around the world.
So is Byers actually insinuating that this revelation equals some kind of quid-pro-quo between Trump — who is worth billions and doesn’t exactly need Scarborough’s guest fees to survive — and Scarborough, who was vacationing with his family, has some cash to spend given the millions he earns every year, and chose a top-ranked resort in his home state?
This is complicated. For one thing Byers and Scarborough got into a Twitter spat earlier in the week regarding Byers’ reporting. So you have to view today’s article through that prism. And Concha and Byers have a history too with Concha being critical of Byers, not without ample justification in my view, so it’s impossible to not view Concha’s take down with that in mind.
That said, on the stories Byers serves up to question Scarborough’s position vis a vis Trump, I find the argument to be some pretty weak sauce. There’s not much there to justify the argument that Scarborough is compromised.
Where I do think Concha gives Byers short shrift is on the notion that some employees at MSNBC are looking at Scarborough sideways over Trump. I think there probably are, just like there are no doubt CNN employees that now look at Fareed Zakaria sideways since his plagiarism accusations surfaced. The question is who at MSNBC is looking at Scarborough sideways and just how high up are they? If it’s just run of the mill talent and staffers but not the execs, this story is indeed a nothingburger. But we don’t know that level of detail so it’s impossible to judge.
What I don’t find persuasive at all is the idea that this is some sort of CNN hatchet job at a competitor. CNN isn’t the New York Post. Yes, there are fundamental optics issues that are ripe for exploitation for CNN to have a media team that covers its competition and NBC and Scarborough are both playing that up because it’s such an obvious counterattack approach to take. You question your critic’s motivation without having to address the story directly. It’s such an easy line of attack to take. And Byers is an easy target because of past transgressions. But that doesn’t make it a valid line of attack given the lack of available evidence that points to such a motivation.