The hacker collective Anonymous appears to have hacked and released Donald Trump’s voicemail messages from 2012, which revealed adoring messages from top MSNBC news anchors. Joe Scarborough later tweeted about the voicemails, trying to give excuses for the effusive praise he gives in the recording.
I don’t remember leaving any voice mails with him, but it certainly appears to be regarding a children’s charity. https://t.co/BxcZCdSkQb
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 4, 2016
News and gossip site Gawker published three minutes of voicemails believed to be obtained by members of the 4chan message board /b/ — the same online forum that first spawned the hacktivist collective Anonymous.
Two of the voicemails were from a woman identifying as “T Hall,” which is assumed to be MSNBC’s Tamron Hall, thanking the billionaire real estate mogul for personal advice, and asking if she could use Trump’s landlord discount from the Manhattan Gucci store inside Trump Tower on 5th Avenue.
Hall also asks Trump in a different voicemail about an unnamed YouTube video, which Gawker assumes to be the video in which Trump calls on President Barack Obama to release his birth certificate.
“I’m a huge fan, and I think the world of you, but that thing today was not good,” Hall said in the voicemail. “Not becoming who I think you are as a person, as a statesman.”
To her credit, Tamron Hall seems to be pressing him on his theory of building a wall and appears very critical of him during current segments, so she seems to be performing her job objectively despite whatever former relationship she may have had.
However, another voicemail is from Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, thanking Trump for his donation to a charity event. Both Mika and Joe seem overly friendly, and at times deferential, to the now-Republican frontrunner.
“We’re so, so grateful for everything Donald, and just wanted to call and tell you how much it means to us,” Scarborough said. “It was amazing, thank you Donald.”
On its own, this third voicemail may seem innocuous. But when coupling the friendly tone these reporters have with Trump with recently-leaked audio of Brzezinski and Scarborough showing preferential treatment to Trump during a commercial break in an exclusive MSNBC town hall with the billionaire Republican presidential candidate, it’s hard not to question the objectivity of the network’s top prime-time anchors.
In one of the exchanges, Trump is heard instructing the two anchors to “make us all look good.” Before returning from break, Trump tells Brzezinski, “Nothing too hard, Mika,” when she asked Trump about questioning him over his policy to deport all undocumented immigrants.
In the GDELT project’s analysis of media mentions of Democratic and Republican presidential candidates on major cable news networks, Trump’s name was mentioned more than all the others, and MSNBC led the field of the networks that were analyzed. They had 87,554 mentions since the start of Trump’s presidential campaign, which is over 11,000 more mentions than CNN, where Trump’s name was mentioned second-most out of all networks.