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Scarborough Faces Backlash Over NYT Bias Claims

MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough criticized the NYT on his program yesterday after the paper published an extensive report on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney‘s upper-income neighborhood in San Diego. He said the story was “an embarrassment” for the publication, alleging that NYT didn’t cover Sen. John Kerry‘s (D-Mass.) wealth to the same extent when he ran for president in 2004.

Politico‘s media reporter Dylan Byers wrote a post citing an NYT rep who provided four examples of the paper’s coverage of Kerry’s wealth. In a follow-up post he quoted Scarborough (who has his own Politico blog and regular column) doubling down on his criticism and dismissing the four stories provided by the Times as follows:

“They may have a database showing how many articles they did on each candidate. I have to talk extemporaneously for three hours a day. But the general impressions of people like myself and [MSNBC contributor] Mark Halperin, that does count in the perspective that active news consumers have.”

Despite the rock-solid defense of having to talk “extemporaneously for three hours a day” and having “general impressions,” criticism of Scarborough by other journalists came flooding in.

“MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough didn’t learn much from last week’s Politico misfire on the New York Times’s alleged bias in covering presidential campaigns,” WaPo‘s media blogger Erik Wemple wrote in a post. “Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen tried to make that case and ended up getting buried. Turned out that the pair hadn’t dug deeply enough into the archives to put together an airtight argument.”

On Twitter, NYT‘s Jim Rutenberg said, “debate is healthy, but if @JoeNBC wants to stand by verifiably false assertions about our covg then not much more 2 say.”

Also on Twitter, Media MattersEric Boehlert summarized Scarborough’s defense in his own words: “Shorter Joe Scarborough: I have nothing to back up my attack…”

In another tweet, Slate‘s Dave Weigel said, “Please note: *Feeling like* some paper is biased is not actually media analysis.”

On Salon, Alex Pareene wrote: “The ‘general impressions’ of vain, blathering idiots like Joe Scarborough and Mark Halperin certainly do count, because someone gave them a TV show, for some reason.”

Scarborough’s one lukewarm defense came from Byers who tweeted to Rutenberg, “I believe his point is it’s about a general impression, your database be damned.”

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