“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough on Friday morning escalated what’s largely been a behind-the-scenes ratings battle between MSNBC and CNN by bashing the rival network’s town hall coverage of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
Scarborough asserted that his show’s coverage has been fair to Trump while asking “tough questions.” He also issued a challenge to media reporters to compare the coverage of Trump’s presidential campaign on “Morning Joe” to that of its competitors.
“I challenge media reporters that aren’t employed by our competitors,” he said in a thinly veiled reference to CNN Money’s Dylan Byers, who recently wrote an article calling Scarborough’s relationship with Donald Trump into question.
“I challenge media reporters to look at our town hall two nights ago and look at CNN’s town hall meeting with Anderson Cooper last week and just compare the questions,” Scarborough continued, presumably referring to CNN’s Thursday night town hall. “And guess what? This is what I love. We live in an era of transcripts. The transcripts don’t lie, the words are on the pages. Now if you want to lie, you can keep making up your own narrative that’s disconnected from reality. It’s okay because the truth is in the transcripts. Why don’t you read them?”
Scarborough then invoked his mother, giving a Southern twist to the old adage “He among us without sin cast the first stone.”
“You know my mom always told me in the swamps of northwest Florida, ‘When ya point a finger at someone, you got four fingers pointing back at ya,'” he said.
Scarborough also took umbrage with the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple criticizing him and co-host Mika Brzezinski for not asking Trump tough questions without subjecting CNN to the same scrutiny.
“I think it was Eric Wemple of the Washington Post who said, ‘Well, how dare you have a town hall meeting where you don’t ask about his racist comments and his thing on Muslims and all these terrible comments?'” Scarborough said. “By the way, CNN, he didn’t write that article after CNN was asking what (Trump’s) favorite flavor of ice cream was and how he slept and what does he order when he goes through McDonald’s.”
“We asked tough questions and it wasn’t the first time that we ever interviewed him. And that’s the frustration,” he added. “We’ve asked the tough questions about Muslims. We’ve asked the tough questions about Mexicans. We’ve asked the tough questions on John McCain.”