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C-SPAN political editor Steve Scully was indefinitely suspended from the network Thursday after admitting that he lied about his Twitter account being hacked.
The admission and suspension come a week after Scully sent a direct message on Twitter to Anthony Scaramucci, a former White House communications director whose tenure was short-lived after criticizing the administration and who has since become a strong critic of President Donald Trump.
“@scaramucci should I respond to trump,” Scully wrote.
Scaramucci cryptically responded, “Ignore. He is having a hard enough time. Some more bad stuff about to go down.”
The now-suspended C-SPAN correspondent was originally scheduled to moderate the second debate between the president and Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Thursday, an event that was canceled anyway after Trump rejected the Commission on Presidential Debate’s unilateral decision to hold it virtually.
In a statement, Scully blamed “relentless criticism on social media” and from “conservative news outlets regarding” his moderator role.
Nevertheless, he called the tweet to Scaramucci and the lie that a hacker sent the message to him “errors in judgment for which I am totally responsible,” adding: “I apologize.”
— Robert Lang WBAL (@Reporterroblang) October 15, 2020
“These actions have let down a lot of people, including my colleagues at C-SPAN, where I have worked for the past 30 years, professional colleagues in the media, and the team at the Commission on Presidential Debates,” he added. “I ask for their forgiveness as I try to move forward in a moment of reflection and disappointment in myself.”
Scaramucci took to Twitter to criticize the decision to suspend Scully, blaming “cancel culture.”
“Brutal outcome for a silly non political tweet. Nothing objectionable. Cancel culture going too far,” he wrote in response to a tweet announcing Scully’s suspension from CNN media analyst Brian Stelter.
Brutal outcome for a silly non political tweet. Nothing objectionable. Cancel culture going too far. https://t.co/ymPKOGJemi
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) October 15, 2020
The second debate was immediately put in question following the tweet by Scully, a former intern for then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), and a staffer for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).
“It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22,” the debate commission announced last week.
Several journalists and others in the media immediately came to Scully’s defense after he claimed that he was hacked.
“Steve is a man of great integrity, okay?” Frank Fahrenkopf, the co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, told Fox Radio and Fox News host Brian Kilmeade last week.
“I don’t know this question about whether he tweeted something out or not, I do know, and you’ll probably pick up on it in a minute, that he was hacked,” he said. “Apparently, there’s something now that’s been on television and the radio saying that he talked to Scaramucci… He was hacked. It didn’t happen.”
“Do I think Steve Scully is biased? I don’t,” “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace said. “I think he is an honorable, fair-minded reporter.”
But, he added of the tweet: “This isn’t helpful. How else can you say it? It’s not.”
Pollster Frank Luntz also defended Scully.
“I have known @SteveScully for more than 20 years. He is 100% honest and ethical. He is 100% unbiased. He is the right person to host this debate at this time, because he will hold both candidates accountable,” he wrote in response to a critical tweet from President Trump.
I have known @SteveScully for more than 20 years.
He is 100% honest and ethical. He is 100% unbiased. He is the right person to host this debate at this time, because he will hold both candidates accountable. https://t.co/TvTzxbzOWi
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 9, 2020
So did others.
Ummmm…. who wants to tell him? pic.twitter.com/JNt6YjEK9o
— Erin Perrine (@ErinMPerrine) October 15, 2020
Scaramucci's defense of Steve Scully is my favorite because he literally knew he wasn't hacked as he was the one talking with him pic.twitter.com/ksMHgzYLkO
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) October 15, 2020
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