- Joe Scarborough and the Hostile Media Effect He’s got his impressions, but that’s not the same thing as facts.
I have a soft spot for Joe Scarborough. Back when I was more of a partisan warrior I used to go on a lot of conservative radio and television shows, including “Scarborough Country,” and he was without question the most fair-minded of the hosts I dealt with. There were even a couple of times when he admitted he had been wrong about something, which is pretty rare. But I’m going to have to object to some of his recent remarks, in particular because they offer a vivid demonstration of what communication scholars call the Hostile Media Effect.
Here’s the quick version of what happened: The New York Times published astory in their Home section about Mitt Romney’s house in La Jolla (the one with the car elevator) and how the neighbors are reacting to having the Romneys in the neighborhood. There are some not-particularly-friendly comments from some of Mitt’s Democratic neighbors, and some details that are complimentary (Mitt was recently seen touching up the paint on the fence, just like a reg’lar fella), but overall it’s not particularly scandalous or fascinating. Then this morning on “Morning Joe,” Scarborough ripped into the Times for the story, accusing them of not doing similar stories about John Kerry’s wealth in 2004. He even said, “The Times acts as if we don’t have something called the Internet or Lexis-Nexis and we can’t search this stuff” and demonstrate that the coverage is unequal. But apparently he didn’t actually use the Internet or Lexis-Nexis, because the Times responded by sending Scarborough a number of stories they did in 2004 about John Kerry’s wealth. Then Scarboroughdoubled down in an interview with Politico: