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After C-SPAN announced on Thursday that long-time political correspondent Steve Scully was indefinitely suspended after he admitted to lying about his Twitter account getting hacked, some observers revisited hacker claims made in the past by MSNBC host Joy Reid, with some saying that the network failed to respond appropriately.
In making the announcement, C-SPAN indicated that Scully’s false claim that he didn’t send a direct message to short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci in the lead-up to a debate he was to host between the president and Joe Biden, was not up the network’s ethical standards.
“He understands he made a serious mistake. We were very saddened by this news and do not condone his actions,” the network said in a statement.
“@scaramucci should I respond to trump,” Scully wrote last week, ahead of the second debate between Trump and Biden that was scheduled for Thursday.
Scaramucci cryptically responded, “Ignore. He is having a hard enough time. Some more bad stuff about to go down.”
For his part, Scully also apologized.
He blamed “relentless criticism on social media” and from “conservative news outlets regarding” his moderator role for making the false hacking claim. 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.”
“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 said. “I ask for their forgiveness as I try to move forward in a moment of reflection and disappointment in myself.”
But, say critics, MSNBC did not hold Reid to the same standards.
“Scully was held to a higher standard because he and C-SPAN purported to be neutral responsible journalists acting in a non-partisan manner. There is no such presumption, or pretense, for Joy Reid and MSNBC,” Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson said in an interview with Fox News.
In late 2017, it was discovered that in her blog, “The Reid Report,” which she maintained before being hired by MSNBC, contained several homophobic slurs and hateful posts.
“Now that the site has been compromised I can state unequivocally that it does not represent the original entries,” Reid said then. “I hope that whoever corrupted the site recognizes the pain they have caused, not just to me, but to my family and communities that I care deeply about: LGBTQ, immigrants, people of color, and other marginalized groups.”
But a month later, her network had not addressed the slurs and certainly did not suspend her.
Shortly after the new slurs were uncovered, the network — under pressure to do something — released a pair of letters from Reid’s attorney as well as a statement from one of her consultants claiming to have evidence the site was hacked.
However, those claims fell apart after being scrutinized.
“Archived versions of Reid’s blog disprove her claim that ‘fraudulent’ posts were added after the fact, a DCNF investigation found. Investigations by other media outlets reached similar conclusions,” the Daily Caller reported May 31, 2018.
MSNBC then announced it would await the results of an investigation by law enforcement into the alleged hack, but that was the extent of it as far as MSNBC was concerned because Reid, a black woman, was never disciplined. The network eventually issued a statement saying she “has grown and evolved in the many years since” the blog posts were made.
That said, it wasn’t as though Reid did not face any backlash; The Daily Beast suspended her as a contributor after concluding as well that her claims were untrue.
Eventually, the host apologized again but said she didn’t recall making the hateful posts, though critics said she failed to address her apparent false hacker claims.
Deroy Murdock, a Fox News contributor, noted that the two ways competing networks handled similar instances meant that one — C-SPAN — has much higher ethical standards.
“While C-SPAN is not exactly conservative, it remains fair and balanced. That’s probably why they suspended political editor Steve Scully for lying about his Twitter account being hacked which, it turns out, it wasn’t,” he told the network.
“Meanwhile, MSNBC’s far-Left Joy Reid claimed to have had her [blog] hacked, even though evidence of that is about as scant as the ‘proof’ that failed actor Jussie Smollett was attacked by racist, white Trump supporters on a frigid night in Chicago last year,” he continued.
Moreover, Reid’s eventual apology was unsatisfactory to Murdock.
“This confirms, yet again, that being on the Left means never having to say you’re sorry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dan Gainor, vice president of the Media Research Center, noted that C-SPAN’s move to suspend Scully was correct but added he didn’t know if there would be long-term repercussions.
“C-SPAN moved against Scully because their organization actually tries to have some ethics. MSNBC gave up on those long ago. They gave blatant liar Brian Williams his own show, for goodness sakes. They only care that their hosts hate Trump,” he said.
“The bigger question for both networks is: are there long-term consequences to making false claims like this? Scully has claimed he’s been hacked multiple times. Reid’s bogus narrative involved the FBI,” Gainor added. “Will either of their employers disavow this garbage?”
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