MSNBC Helps Trump Counter-Program GOP Town Hall

by Jim Geraghty

CNN shows how you put together a GOP campaign event: All six candidates will answer questions from South Carolina voters in a prime-time “town hall forum” Wednesday and Thursday, with both nights moderated by Anderson Cooper. Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio will gather in Greenville Wednesday; Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and John Kasich will appear in Columbia Thursday night. 

MSNBC shows how you do it if you don’t care about being perceived as rooting for one candidate: 

How convenient! Just as Carson, Cruz, and Rubio are having their event on CNN, Trump is counter-programming on another network — the second time this cycle he’s attempted to create another event to pull away viewers from the other candidates.

Joe Scarborough is a friend of National Review, so there’s no joy in calling him out, but it’s hard to dispute that he’s Trump’s dream interviewer for a prime time special. Scarborough described giving advice to Trump in personal meetings after the debates in an appearance at the 92nd Street Y. Trump’s comments offer a glimpse of how he sees the hosts at Morning Joe

“Everyone’s great,” responded Trump. “It was great seeing you, and you guys have been supporters and I really appreciate it.”

At that point, Trump appeared to catch himself a bit. “Not necessarily supporters, but at least believers,” said the real estate mogul.

Last week, CNN’s Dylan Byers reported that NBC’s powers that be are starting to get unnerved by the Trump-Scarborough relationship:

In background discussions, NBC News and MSNBC journalists, reporters and staffers said there was widespread discomfort at the network over Scarborough’s friendship with Trump and his increasingly favorable coverage of the candidate. “People don’t like that Joe is promoting Trump,” one MSNBC insider said. Others described Scarborough’s admiration for Trump as “over the top” and “unseemly.”

Four of those sources also said that the growing media scrutiny over the two men’s relationship has caused the network’s leadership to more closely monitor Scarborough’s comments. “The higher-ups are definitely aware about what’s going on,” said another person within MSNBC. “It’s an issue.”

Will Trump get tough questions from Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski tomorrow night? Or will the prime-time special amount to a sales pitch for Trump?

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