Scarborough positioning himself as a prime voice of reason in media
Joe Scarborough is frustrated with the partisan-based attacks on his job performance. In an interview with CNN, Scarborough, host of “Morning Joe” blasted partisan pundits and other critics for taking him to task.
“I am sick and tired of people misrepresenting me and making snide assumptions and giving readers false conclusions…” Scarborough followed that up by promising CNN he would “go to war” against lies in 2017.
One of the motivations for this tirade during an otherwise standard interview was a report, released on CBS that Scarborough and his co-host Mika Brzezinski have “partied with Trump” during New Year’s Eve. While there was a photograph prominently revealing Scarborough and Brzezinski speaking to Trump prior to the party, Joe said that’s not “partying with Trump”, adding the chosen phrasing in the report insinuated that he was getting cozy with the then President-Elect.
It’s a major problem for the morning show hosts. Every major personality in mainstream media is on the hot seat now for perceived partiality. Worse, people are already saying the pair are swapping favorable coverage of Trump for access to the billionaire President.
It wasn’t just CBS dropping bombs on the Morning Joe hosts. Chuck Todd, who moderates “Meet the Press” on NBC tweeted out: “It really stinks to watch others continue help ruin the reputation of your industry…”
Scarborough was not amused, engaging in a public Twitter spat with Todd, before telling CNN that he sees socializing with Trump and other high-profile politicians as part of his job. He cited multiple journalists who were known to socialize with various politicians, building relationships with them over time.
“The only difference is that Donald Trump is now the person calling us up… Basically, I look at myself as somebody that is in a position that John Madden was in when he was on TV analyzing NFL football games… I’m a news analyst and a political analyst. That’s why I get paid really well by NBC, and that’s why I tell it the way I see it and why Mika tells it the way she sees it. That’s what we get paid to do…”
This was the rationale offered in the CNN interview, but it may not be the line of thinking an American public, already suspicious of the media, is willing to buy. Regardless of what other politicians have done in the past, times – and politicians – are different now. But most different is the way the general public views the media. Once a trusted source they are now more often viewed as “one of us” or “the enemy.”