CNN's Stelter: It’s ‘False’ and ‘Ludicrous’ that the Media Colluded with Clinton Campaign

Following the recent reporting from major news sources about Donald Trump’s alleged sexual assaults against numerous women, he has railed against the media for colluding with Hillary Clinton campaign. In spite of Media Research Center data which shows how lopsided recent coverage of the candidates had been, CNN’s Brian Stelter denied any such effort by the media to sway the election on Reliable Sources Sunday. “This is not just false, it's ludicrous and it's damaging,” he complained.

In Trump's world, journalists are really just Clinton campaign workers in disguise collaborating with her in an attempt to rig the election,” he said before questioning, “How do we prove that we are not all conspiring?

The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan didn’t know how they could convince people and described beliefs of a colluding media as “absurd.” “Nobody is sitting in a room with each other and planning to, you know, do anything evil to a candidate. It's just not the case,” she explained. She even went so far as to say that there was no such thing as “the media,” arguing:

I mean, there are media outlets, there are newspapers, there are cable TV stations, there are network news, but there is no, sort of, little group called “the media” that gets together and decides to do terrible things to Donald Trump. How do you prove that? It's a reality check.

The strawman argument presented by Sullivan is just about as absurd as she believes Trump’s is about the media. The media doesn’t need to meet like a cabal to push an agenda. There are members of the media who admit that the industry is dominated by liberals. And the fact that most of them see the world through a similar prism means their coverage is colored how they perceive it.

Later on in the program, Stelter brought on The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald to discuss the WikiLeaks scandal and the flood of Clinton Campaign e-mails coming from it. Eventually, a skeptical sounding Stelter brought up a select set of e-mails that allegedly show members of the media cozying up to the Clinton campaign. He seemed to suggest that Fox News and others were making something out nothing, saying to Greenwald, “I’ve gotten the sense that they believe there are bombshells.

Greenwald seemed to pop Stelters bubble by confirming the seriousness of some the e-mails. “Some of them are just normal standard back and forth jockeying between campaigns and journalists. Others though I think are examples of serious impropriety,” he said. He even described Donna Brazile’s passing on of a town hall question to Clinton and not Sanders as “journalistically unethical.”

The CNN host has chalked up his own list of arguable improprieties this election cycle. He didn’t bat an eye when Univision’s Jorge Ramos argued for journalist to toss objectivity out the window. Before the first presidential debate he demanded that Trump receive harsher treatment than Clinton from the moderator. He even attacked Associated Press reporters for exposing connections between the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton State Department. Obviously, Stelter’s claim that the liberal media does not aid the Clinton campaign is also “ludicrous,” or maybe he’s trying to land a spot in Clinton’s next media party.  

Transcript below: 

CNN
Reliable Sources
October 16, 2016
11:14:46 AM Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: [Sigh] Corrupt media. In Trump's world, journalists are really just Clinton campaign workers in disguise collaborating with her in an attempt to rig the election. This is not just false, it's ludicrous and it's damaging. But you know what, his current conspiracy theory is ripped from these pages, the pages of the right wing website of Breitbart News. It says right there, the press is colluding to elect Hillary. That might popup in your Facebook feed, you might share it with friends, and it starts to become believed. You know, these are strange, strange times. Trump even cancelled on his friend Sean Hannity this week. He’s giving no interviews, and by the way neither is Hillary Clinton, as Clinton prepared for Wednesday’s debate.

So, what are the consequences of this conspiratorial talk? Joining me now, David Frum a senior editor at The Atlantic and former speech writer for President George W. Bush. And Margaret media columnist with the Washington Post.

Margaret, what do we even say? How do we prove that we are not all conspiring?

MARGARET SULLIVAN: Brian, I'm not sure how you prove it. It's an absurd claim. I mean, I've spent decades in the newspaper business. I've worked at The New York Times and the Washington Post. Nobody is sitting in a room with each other and planning to, you know, do anything evil to a candidate. It's just not the case. And I also think that this idea that there's something called “the media,” my colleague at the Washington Post, Paul Farry, wrote a piece about how there is really no such thing.

I mean, there are media outlets, there are newspapers, there are cable TV stations, there are network news, but there is no, sort of, little group called “the media” that gets together and decides to do terrible things to Donald Trump. How do you prove that? It's a reality check.

STELTER: Especially now that we’re all media makers. Now that we’re all snapchatting and Facebooking we’re all making media. And I would say, the traditional media, we are competitive we are market driven. I compete with you Margaret. I want to beat you to stories. That’s the kind of thing that discourages what Trump would call “collusion” in the media.   

Tell the Truth 2016

11:27:48 AM Eastern

STELTER: Watching Fox News coverage of this leak this week, this stolen trove this week. I’ve gotten the sense that they believe there are bombshells. Let me put on screen a few examples of what Sean Hannity said really stood out to him. Examples of media collusion between the Clinton campaign and journalists. “CNBC’s John Harwood offering advice to the Clinton campaign. The New York Times allowing edits to quotes of Clinton. The Boston globe pumping up the campaign. Univision pressured to attack Trump. Campaign bragged about media support. And Donna Brazile receiving a leaked town hall question.” Are these isolated examples, Glenn of journalistic improprieties or are they evidence of collusion?

GLENN GREENWALD: I think they’re examples—at least some of them-- Some of them are just normal standard back and forth jockeying between campaigns and journalists. Others though I think are examples of serious impropriety. I think Donna Brazil leaking—getting a hold of a town hall question and only giving it to the Clinton campaign and not the Sanders campaign is an example of cheating. It’s journalistically unethical—[Cut off by Stelter to look at an article he wrote about it on CNN.com.]

… 

Nicholas Fondacaro
Nicholas Fondacaro
Nicholas C. Fondacaro