Joe Scarborough spent over twenty minutes railing against the New York Times for a story about Mitt Romney's home renovations on Thursday's "Morning Joe." The Times later hit back at his criticism, prompting Scarborough to double down on his comments (see update below).
On Thursday, the paper published "The Candidate Next Door" about Romney's house in La Jolla. The article detailed some of his neighbors' complaints about the ongoing construction and the candidate himself. Scarborough alleged that the piece was unfair to Romney and represented the Times' bias against Republican candidates.
Recalling another instance of what he called "phony journalism" at the Times, he said that Thursday's piece was "embarrassing" and "indefensible."
He charged that the paper had delivered numerous unflattering portrayals of Romney's wealth, something he said that the paper never highlighted about John Kerry. "The New York Times never went to [Kerry's] neighbors to find Republicans to trash him," Scarborough said.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski challenged Scarborough's criticism, but he was unconvinced. "They only interviewed his Democratic neighbors," he remarked sarcastically. "How fascinating. You know what? i guess that was just a random sample."
The MSNBC host said that his love for the New York Times was all the more reason he was speaking out about the piece. "This is the newspaper I love, that I read everyday," he declared. "It's got the best writing in the world, the best reporting in the world, but the public editor needs to step up and straighten these people out."
UPDATE: A spokesperson for the New York Times responded to Politico's request for comment, writing that the paper "provided extensive coverage" of Kerry's finances during the 2004 campaign and "to suggest otherwise is simply not true." Read the full statement at Politico.
Times' national political correspondent Jim Rutenberg also tweeted several links to those stories to Scarborough on Thursday. "@JoeNBC, phony journalism is when you just say stuff without doing any reporting whatsoever to check the veracity of what you are saying," he added.
Scarborough, however, is standing by his criticism. He told Politico that the paper sounded "about as thin skinned as the politicians that they cover."