In an astounding display of obliviousness, panelists on MSNBC’s Morning Joe claimed multiple times on Thursday that the Stormy Daniels story had not been given much media attention.
Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski stated on separate occasions that the controversy had been spared the spotlight, both on their show and across the news media in general. As Mark Leibovich and Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times were bemoaning the disproportionate attention that such scandals tended to receive, Brzezinski cut in to offer her take. “I’d like to point out, we haven’t really covered the Stormy Daniels story with great fervor,” she insisted. “I mean, this – at this point we kind of have to.”
To be fair, Brzezinski may have been referring specifically to Morning Joe; but even then, her claim doesn’t pass a sniff test. At the time of her assertion, 61 minutes of coverage had elapsed on the show that morning, 31 of which had centered around Daniels. The previous day, Morning Joe had dedicated three segments to the story, and every installment of the show that week had included at least one such segment.
Scarborough’s characterization of the supposed dearth of headlines was more brazen – and more incorrect. During the show’s third hour, he asserted that this scandal was “obviously a story that we’ve hardly covered and most people have hardly covered.” While this claim falls flat with regard to his own show, how does it apply to the reset of the media?
According to a NewsBusters analysis of CNN’s Wednesday evening news coverage, the Stormy Daniels story took up more than half of the network’s air time (53.2 percent). In fact, the scandal received almost twice as much attention as all other Trump-related topics combined – including the Russia investigation and the ongoing narrative of chaos in the White House. The situation was no different in print media, with The New York Times featuring four new articles about the scandal between Monday and Wednesday alone, and The Washington Post publishing an additional seven within the same period of time.
Journalists appear to have given this story more than enough attention without help from the hosts of Morning Joe. Scarborough’s claim was made even more ludicrous by his earlier comments from that same day. In a previous segment, he’d purported to agree with Leibovich and Bumiller’s lamentation that sex scandals generally received too much attention:
Back in the 1990s, I was on the Government Reform and Oversight panel. There were so many things that were concerning about Donald Trump – I mean, about Bill Clinton – the most concerning to me was the selling of technology to the Chinese by one if Bill Clinton’s biggest contributors to the DNC...
We talked about that, we talked about one lie after another lie, nobody paid attention. And suddenly Monica Lewinsky comes up, and suddenly everybody wants to talk about Monica Lewinsky. And you’re still going, “Wait, why does that draw the focus, but the exchange of missile technology so one of Bill Clinton’s contributors could make millions of dollars doesn’t matter?
Despite these complaints, Scarborough and his cohorts continued to pick apart the scandal.