C-SPAN on Thursday suspended political editor Steve Scully indefinitely after he admitted that he lied about his Twitter feed being attacked just before he was set to moderate the second presidential debate.
In a statement, Mr. Scully said he falsely claimed his Twitter account was hacked after he was criticized about a questionable exchange with Anthony Scaramucci, a former aide to President Trump who has turned into a Trump foe.
Mr. Scully said both the tweet and hacking claims were “errors in judgment.”
“These actions let down a lot of people, including my colleagues at C-SPAN, where I have worked for the past 30 years, professional colleagues in the media, and the team at the Commission on Presidential Debates,” he said. “I ask for their forgiveness as I try to move forward in a moment of reflection and disappointment in myself.”
In its own statement, C-SPAN said Mr. Scully came clean about the false claim Wednesday.
“He understands that he made a mistake,” the network said of Mr. Scully. “We are very saddened by this news and do not condone his actions.”
Initially, C-SPAN stood by Mr. Scully, issuing a statement last week alleging that he “did not originate” the much-criticized tweet.
Still, many people, including Mr. Trump, were dubious of the veteran news anchor’s hacking claim, noted that he had made previous claims of being hacked after posting a controversial tweet.
“@SteveScully, the Never Trumper next debate moderator got caught cold,” the president tweeted last week. “Pulled the old, ‘I’ve been hacked,’ line. That never works. His bosses are furious at him as he’s lost all credibility.”
Last week, after the president described Mr. Scully as a “never Trumper,” the news anchor tweeted, “@Scaramucci should I respond to Trump.” Mr. Scaramucci responded that he should ignore the president.
Mr. Scully said he sent the tweet because of growing frustration over criticism lodged against him on social media and in conservative news outlets about his role as a moderator. That criticism included attacks directed at his family, he said.
His firing comes on the day he was scheduled to moderator the second debate, which would have been a career highlight for Mr. Scully. The debate was canceled last week after Mr. Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus and refused to agree to a virtual debate.
A third debate scheduled for Oct. 22 is still on.
The Commission on Presidential Debates did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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