‘Morning Joe’ vs. the New York Post

Joe Pompeo
June 13, 2011

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are at war with the New York Post over a he-said-she-said mishap that's sure to appeal to fans of tabloid journalism and cable news alike.

It all began at last week's Mirror Awards for media reporting, which the "Morning Joe" co-anchors were hosting. The two hosts happened upon Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes chatting it up with New York Post reporter Claire Atkison.

Then, depending on who you believe, this happened:

They "wasted no time buttonholing ... Bewkes," as Atkinson tells it. "The 'Morning Joe' hosts, who just lost their executive producer, Chris Licht, to CBS News, made a tag-team pitch about moving their politically oriented coffee klatch to a morning slot on CNN. Scarborough didn't skip a beat when warned that [Atkinson] was listening, continuing pitching about how much more convenient the commute to CNN's Columbus Circle headquarters would be."

"It's a lie!" Scarborough proclaimed on this morning's show. (You can watch the video above.)

His version: "Jeff was just being nice. He turns to us and says, 'Hey, how 'bout doing your show on [Time Warner's] CNN?' And you know what we did? We went, 'Ha ha ha! Well, it's only five blocks away from me, a much faster walk, and I love the Upper West Side.' ... We didn't pitch. The joking pitch was made to us.

"She was standing there," he continued. "She heard the whole thing. She chose to lie anyway." Then he demanded a retraction, which the Post had not issued at the time of this writing.

Scarborough was quick to trash the reporter. But keep in mind that it's entirely plausible this was a case of an editor yellowing-up an item that otherwise wouldn't have raised many eyebrows.

Atkinson, for her part, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.