Accuracy in Media

jay carney vs morning joeOn Wednesday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, co–host Joe Scarborough sparred with White House press secretary Jay Carney over his claim that the scandals that have engulfed the White House are “phony scandals.”

Carney started off his exchange with Scarborough by touting the speech the President would be giving later in the day on the economy, while dismissing the scandals:

…What we should be focusing on here in Washington, and it shouldn’t be on the skirmishes that cause gridlock and beyond the phony scandals that consume so much attention here, all to come to naught.

Scarborough immediately called Carney out on his “phony scandals” claim, and asked him if he thought the IRS scandal was “phony?”

Carney replied that while there has been “inappropriate activity,” the President has taken care of the situation. He then blamed the Republicans for “cherry picking” the information in order to make their case that the IRS targeted conservative groups.

Things then got a little testy after Scarborough pointed out that the information from the White House on the scandal was less than truthful:

SCARBOROUGH: It is far different than what you said; at the beginning you said it was just the Cincinnati office and then we find out that more people in Washington are involved and this past week we found out despite what any of us think of the investigations on Capitol Hill, and I see you smiling—I don’t know if there’s anything to smile about—that it wasn’t a couple of crazy people in Cincinnati; and that information actually went up to the chief counsel of the IRS, which was one of two political appointees by the President of the United States and the entire IRS.

So it doesn’t look “phony” to me, Jay.

CARNEY: Joe, I appreciate that this is the line being pushed by Republicans who want Washington to be focused on scandals instead of the economy.

SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no, Jay. Is that true?

CARNEY: The facts are…Joe…Joe…Joe…

SCARBOROUGH: Is that the truth or not, Jay? You said Jay, that this was limited to Cincinnati. That wasn’t true. I want to talk about the economy, but talk to me Jay, don’t give me talking points because it doesn’t work on this show, and you’ve been here long enough to know that it doesn’t work on this show, so answer my question and let’s get to the economy.

CARNEY: When you get the question, I’ll answer it. What you said was wrong.

SCARBOROUGH: I gave you the question and you decided to fight me, Jay.

It may have been a fight from Scarborough’s perspective, but when it involves Carney, it’s never a fair fight. Carney continues to struggle to defend the President and his indefensible policies, and yes, his administration’s very real scandals.

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