“Facts are stubborn things. Unfortunately in the age of Twitter journalism, too many reporters find such details to be both onerous and optional,” the MSNBC personality wrote in the op-ed published Monday evening.
Scarborough was not happy that incoming New York Times reporter Sopan Deb and the paper’s current reporter, Maggie Haberman, continued to imply that he “partied” with President-elect Donald Trump on New Year’s Eve — and even called on Times editors to take action before finally writing his explanation in the Post.
Scarborough explained the situation: “This past week, I met twice with President-elect Donald Trump attempting to secure an interview for inauguration week. Judging from the snide reaction of some in the press, you would have thought I offered to sketch the outline of his inaugural speech.”
The “Morning Joe” co-host admitted to having dinner with Trump to discuss “topics ranging from Mexico to Cabinet nominees to Russia.” Scarborough then explained the difference between his meetings with Trump and various meetings that President Obama has had with reporters.
“The dinner conversation was much like what I have heard the countless off-the-record discussions Obama hosted were like over his two terms in the White House — with media figures such as Thomas Friedman, Fareed Zakaria, David Ignatius, Jeffrey Goldberg, David Brooks, and even Mika Brzezinski and myself having a 90-minute Oval Office meeting. The main difference between Obama’s numerous off-the-record powwows with reporters and the one I had with Trump on Saturday night was that ours was not on deep background,” Scarborough wrote. “On a more bizarre note, it was also different because I was introduced to Fabio while walking to dinner. I’m not sure who Fabio is or what he does, but I suspect we were at Mar-a-Lago for different reasons.”
He continued: “Mika was not able to attend Saturday, so Trump asked that she come by the next night for a few minutes before his annual New Year’s Eve party. We walked through the metal detectors and straight into the start of a black-tie function where we were dramatically underdressed.”
The “Morning Joe” duo was apparently there to discuss an interview with Trump, but they ended up catching up on each other’s families, according to Scarborough.
“I do not know whether we will end up with an interview with the incoming president next month, but I do know that the reaction from some media reporters has been an equal dose of hyperventilation and hypocrisy that such a meeting ever took place,” Scarborough wrote. “Never mind the inconvenient fact that a passel of reporters and media types has had more meetings with the current president than Mika and I have ever had with Trump. Also don’t bother yourself with boring details of history that show how Washington Post legend Ben Bradlee was extraordinarily close with JFK, or how New York Times legend Joseph Alsop practically kicked down John Kennedy’s door at the 1960 Democratic convention to demand that Lyndon Johnson be his vice-presidential pick.”
On Sunday, Scarborough lashed out at Deb for saying he “partied” with Trump. Scarborough said he and co-host Brzezinski were at the president-elect’s Mar a Lago estate to set up an interview — before any partying began. But on Monday, Haberman tweeted an image of Scarborough, which appears to have been taken during the party.
Deb jabbed Scarborough, tweeting, “This sure looks like an ideal location to have a journalistic meeting about an interview on NYE.”
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 2, 2017
The “Morning Joe” co-host didn’t appreciate the comment, and took to Twitter to express his contempt. He was upset that he was referred to as a “reveler” when he made it clear he was there for business. Haberman eventually went on to tweet that attendees told her the photo was taken poolside and that Scarborough was not in formal wear, having left early. But it didn’t stop Scarborough from sending a series of tweets on the matter.
His column ended with the following theory: “So why has there been such an avalanche of outrage on Twitter and sneering in some press rooms whenever Mika and I find ourselves in the same area code as Donald J. Trump? Is it because of media bias against Republican reporters such as myself?”