Well this is rapidly getting very convoluted. In a must read, The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove writes about all the crap flying around about Joe Scarborough and Donald Trump and CNN and MSNBC.
Trump has surely become the media equivalent of crack over the past eight months—nowhere more so than on Morning Joe.
According to data from the media monitoring service TVEyes, the MSNBC program has mentioned Trump’s name more frequently than any other cable show since his June 2015 announcement of candidacy—2,414 times compared to 2,181 on New Day and 1,472 on Fox & Friends; this, despite the fact that MSNBC programs as a whole have mentioned the thatch-roofed billionaire less frequently (9,749 times) than Fox News (10,446) and CNN (16,308).
Yet Scarborough, Brzezinski and MSNBC executives are targeting their cable rival for special scorn.
They suspect that CNN’s aggressive policing of their professional ethics—by Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter, a respected former media writer for the New York Times, and CNN senior media reporter Dylan Byers, who joined the cable network last September from Politico—have less to do with legitimate journalistic inquiry than a corporate desire to inflict damage on MSNBC’s politically influential morning show.
“I do think that these attacks are unfair,” Brzezinski told The Daily Beast. “They make you wonder what they’re really about.” Calling her co-host “the best prognosticator and analyst on television,” she added, “I have never seen any relationship that he has with a politician on the left or the right ever get in the way of him being able to offer accurate predictions. Ever.”
And then there’s this…
“I just find it fascinating that they actually hired independent journalists who then become extensions of CNN,” an angry Scarborough told The Daily Beast. “They get their paychecks from CNN and then attack the very news show that has been the top priority of their boss [CNN President Jeff Zucker] to beat.
A CNN spokesman fired back: “Joe Scarborough does not get to choose who covers MSNBC and Morning Joe, and it’s dangerous for him to suggest otherwise. His conspiracy theories and attempts to disqualify our media team from doing its job are both disturbing and peculiar.”
There’s quite a few moving parts here that need to be analyzed…
1) Joe Scarborough is not a straight news guy. He’s a POV guy and always has been. The rules are different for POV guys. Most of the charges being thrown at Scarborough vis a vis Trump…EVEN IF TRUE…don’t have sticking power precisely because of that. Sean Hannity has his favorites and it’s pretty obvious who he cozies up to on his show. But he hasn’t gotten 1/2 the scrutiny this election cycle that Scarborough has the past few weeks even though they are essentially occupying the same space in the Cable News spectrum. The same thing goes for most other POV hosts. So, I think it’s fair for Scarborough to complain about the coverage he’s gotten…especially since nobody has produced anything close to a smoking gun here.
2) I said it the other day and I’ll repeat it now. CNN is NOT the New York Post. They do not do hatchet stories because that would totally undermine their brand if they went the yellow journalism route. I believe MSNBC and Scarborough are totally barking up the wrong tree here in accusing CNN of deliberately targeting Scarborough because he’s a competitor. There’s only one network I know of that has ever sanctioned that kind of behavior and its first initial is not C or M.
3) That doesn’t mean I’m letting CNN off the hook, particularly Byers. He does seem to be making much ado about nothing. But that only suggests superficial sloppy journalism…not a conspiracy theory of network on network violence. CNN thinks it’s people should do their job. Fine. Have them do it better than insinuation and innuendo in lieu of cold hard facts that prove a point.