On Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN, during a discussion of the possibility that the Russian government actively tried to thwart Hillary Clinton from getting elected, host Brian Stelter at one point wondered if Russia's ability to exploit Trump not winning the popular vote means there's a "national emergency" in Donald Trump's election that the media are afraid to give light to out of fear of being called "partisan."
After former Russia Today anchor Liz Wahl worried that Russia was trying to "undermine democracy" in the U.S. with "propaganda," Stelter followed up: "Let's go there. Let's go there directly. I mean, here's something I've been asking myself. Julia, we're talking about a candidate who's lost in a historic way in terms of the popular vote but clearly won in the Electoral College. Is this something of a national emergency? And are journalists afraid to say so because they're going to sound partisan?"
Stelter has a history of using the term "national emergency" while discussing Trump's election. A few weeks ago, as he joined a CNN panel who worried that Trump advisor Steve Bannon had ties to "white supremacists," the CNN host intoned: "I want to recognize a lot of our viewers at home, this is frightening to them, and I think we should acknowledge that. This may feel to a lot of viewers at home like a national emergency. Why? Because Steve Bannon has been described as someone who has been described as a 'white supremacist,' as someone who is an anti-Semite."
Returning to Sunday's show, Julia Ioffe of Politico began by fretting that something "potentially awful" was about to happen:
You know, I've been thinking about this because it does feel like we're on the verge of something potentially awful, and Trump seems to be taking us there daily with his cabinet picks, with his statements, you know, talk about sowing chaos. We have elected, you know, the chaos-sower in chief, you know, undermining the validity of intelligence reports, undermining the work of the press, of various government institutions, of democratic institutions.
She then worried that the public ignores the press:
So, but, on the other hand, I feel like we've been reporting on this all along, but, A, people don't read us -- I remember going out into the country talking to voters, and people would tell me their main news sources were YouTube, Facebook, and word of mouth. You saw BuzzFeed did an excellent story on fake news and how much traffic they get, and how much more traffic each of these false news stories gets than New York Times stories and Washington Post stories. So we're writing about it, but, A, people aren't listening or, and, , they don't believe us.
She added there's a kind of anti-Trump fatigue:
The one other thing is that the press has been hitting, leaning on the panic button for about a year with Donald Trump, and I think, and the -- and it's kind of the -- the boy who cried "Trump." And now Trump is here, and people are like, I think people are exhausted by the election and by all the negativity of it and are, like, "Whatever, let's just move on," even though it's only getting worse.