C-SPAN suspends Steve Scully indefinitely over Twitter hacking lie
Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts joins ‘Your World’ with the latest
C-SPAN announced Thursday it had suspended political editor Steve Scully indefinitely after he admitted he lied about his Twitter account being hacked, but the scandal has also renewed interest in hacker claims once made by MSNBC host Joy Reid — and some critics think C-SPAN handled the issue properly while MSNBC fell flat.
"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 told Fox News.
C-SPAN SUSPENDS STEVE SCULLY INDEFINITELY AFTER HE ADMITS HE LIED ABOUT HIS TWITTER BEING HACKED
C-SPAN suspended Steve Scully indefinitely after he admitted he lied about being hacked, but the scandal has renewed interest in hacker claims once made by MSNBC host Joy Reid.
Scully, who was set to moderate the since-canceled presidential debate, lied after a message to former Trump aide-turned-adversary Anthony Scaramucci went viral. It appeared that he meant to send Scaramucci a private message seeking advice about Trump, but instead sent the message on his Twitter feed for everyone to see. He initially claimed his account was hacked but ultimately fessed up and was swiftly suspended.
It wasn’t the first time a prominent media member blamed hackers for something that landed them in hot water.
Back in late 2017, it was revealed that the Reid’s pre-MSNBC blog, “The Reid Report,” contained dozens of homophobic and hateful posts. She initially apologized, but when a second batch of offensive comments surfaced ‒ about some lesbians' short haircuts and her objections to seeing men kiss men, among other homophobic remarks ‒ Reid then claimed she’d been hacked, and MSNBC circulated a much-panned statement from a computer hacking “expert” which sought to make that case.
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Upon scrutiny, skeptics said Reid’s claims didn’t pass muster. The Daily Beast, which had suspended Reid as a contributor, conducted its own investigation and concluded that claims made by Reid’s cyber-security expert Jonathan Nichols that “screenshot manipulation” took place were false.
Critics have pointed to the Internet archival service The Wayback Machine, which showed that the anti-gay articles were preserved at the time they were written and refuted the suggestion that hackers could have manipulated their archives. Others joked that time-traveling hackers must have been responsible.
She has since maintained that she does not remember writing the hateful posts, but apologized anyway. Some were quick to criticize Reid’s apology for not mentioning the dubious hacker claims – for which she reportedly alerted the FBI about the hacking “crime.”
Reid has since been promoted and hosts the weekday timeslot long occupied by Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” until he left the network amid sexual misconduct allegations.
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“This confirms, yet again, that being on the Left means never having to say you’re sorry.”
When asked about the scandal by the New York Times earlier this year, Reid said, “It’s two years ago, so I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about that old blog. What I genuinely believe is that I truly care about the L.G.B.T. people in my own life. I care about being a good ally, a good person, and making sure that my voice is authentic, that I can make a difference."
MSNBC stood by Reid throughout the ordeal and did not immediately respond when asked if the network still maintains that her blog was hacked.
Back in 2018, MSNBC issued a statement after weeks of silence on the issue and said Reid "has grown and evolved in the many years since" since the hateful blog posts were published.
Fox News contributor Deroy Murdock agrees that the two different ways the hacker claims were handled indicates C-SPAN has higher standards than the progressive cable news network.
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"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,” Murdock told Fox News.
“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,” Murdock added, referencing reports Smollett paid two Nigerian brothers to rough him up, to garner sympathy and a better TV contract. Regardless, Reid has enjoyed promotions and an even higher profile at MSNBC.”
While Reid appologized, the lack of transparency about her hacker claim left Murdock unsatisfied.
“This confirms, yet again, that being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry," Murdock said.
Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor thinks C-SPAN did the right thing by suspending Scully, but wonders if there will be long-term consequences.
“C-SPAN moved against Scully because their organization actually tries to have some ethics. MSNBC gave up on those long ago.”
“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,” Gainor told Fox News.
“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?
Scully issued a statement addressing his controversy to CNN following the announcement of his suspension.
"For several weeks, I was subjected to relentless criticism on social media and in conservative news outlets regarding my role as moderator for the second presidential debate, including attacks aimed directly at my family," Scully wrote. "This culminated on Thursday, October 8th when I heard President Trump go on national television twice and falsely attack me by name. Out of frustration, I sent a brief tweet addressed to Anthony Scaramucci. The next morning when I saw that this tweet had created a controversy, I falsely claimed that my Twitter account had been hacked."
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C-SPAN also issued a statement, revealing that the network and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) were made aware about Scully's fabrication on Wednesday.
"We are very saddened by this news and do not condone his actions," C-SPAN said. "Starting immediately, we have placed Steve on administrative leave. After some distance from this episode, we believe in his ability to continue to contribute to C-SPAN."
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.
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