Did MSNBC co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski spend time in a hotel room last night watching election returns with Donald Trump? CNN media reporter Dylan Byers reported they did, citing unnamed sources:
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) February 10, 2016
The CNN report followed an appearance on Morning Joe by Trump, where he described the MSNBC hosts as “supporters,” before walking that back. “You guys have been supporters…and I really appreciate it. And not necessarily supporters, but at least believers. You said there’s some potential there.”
That led Scarborough to call Byers a liar in a series of posts on Twitter. “I understand you guys resent that we double your audience every day, but enough of the lying,” Scarborough tweeted. “Did CNN hire you just to lie about Morning Joe? The obsession is unhealthy.”
In turn, Byers suggested that Scarborough simply clarify whether he and Brzezinski were with Trump in his hotel suite. “Go on the record and say I’m wrong.”
Wednesday afternoon, MSNBC released a statement:
CNN’s media reporter, Dylan Byers, is implying that Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski watched election returns with Donald Trump last night in New Hampshire. That is not true.
The Morning Joe hosts instead did what anchors are supposed to do — they interviewed the candidate’s senior staff to get background information on their strategy in New Hampshire, and on their campaign’s plans moving forward in South Carolina. The staff then invited the hosts to get Mr. Trump’s reaction to the victory. That discussion lasted less than five minutes. Other networks were allowed interviews as well.
It should be noted that Morning Joe is off to a great start in this election year. In January, the show had 28% more viewers than CNN’s morning show last month. And thus far in February, more people are watching Morning Joe than CNN.