MSNBC host and former U.S. Representative Joe Scarborough accused FOX News Channel host Sean Hannity of "reading off the Republican National Committee's talking points ... for the past four years," according to the November 17 edition of The Washington Post. In an article on the "mixed blessing" for right-wing radio and television hosts of the Election Day "triumph for conservatism," Post staff writer Paul Farhi quoted Scarborough as saying: "I honestly don't know what Sean Hannity is going to be able to talk about. If you've been reading off the Republican National Committee's talking points like he has for the past four years, it's going to be hard to be critical of the status quo."
On the same day that the Post article was published, Scarborough claimed that he was misquoted. In an email to mediabistro.com's TVNewser weblog, which posted Scarborough's purported quote in the Post, Scarborough asserted that "I would not tell a reporter that 'Sean Hannity has been reading off of RNC talking points for the past four years' even if I were on heroin."
Though Scarborough and Hannity have both previously denied using Republican talking points, and Scarborough now denies that he accused Hannity of using them, Media Matters for America has documented numerous instances of both conservative hosts echoing GOP talking points.
Joe Scarborough: "I just don't read the Republican talking points. I just tell the truth." [MSNBC, Hardball with Chris Matthews, 9/9/04]
- Scarborough said, "I just don't read the Republican talking points. I just tell the truth" -- then used a Republican talking point
- Not to be outdone, Scarborough called Edwards second most liberal member of the Senate
- Right-wing chorus echoed Bush-Cheney '04: McCain was Kerry's "first choice"
- Scarborough: "Ralph Reed, as always, is right"
Sean Hannity: "I don't have any party talking points." [FOX News Channel, Hannity & Colmes, 7/7/04]
- Conservatives repeated Bush administration's misleading comparison between explosives, other munitions
- Conservative hosts echoed RNC claim that Kerry blamed troops for missing explosives
- Hannity delivers three more RNC-inspired Kerry distortions
- Hannity echoed GOP claim that Kerry is "out of the mainstream"; facts show otherwise
- Hannity: Kerry "chose the number-four liberal in the Senate" for VP; "Is that why there's no Edwards bounce in the polls?"
- Hannity echoed GOP talking points; denied he has "any party talking points"
As MMFA has also noted, Scarborough appeared on stage behind President George W. Bush at an August 10 campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida, and applauded Bush's remarks.