‘Kudos to the German Journalists’; CNN Swoons Over Foreign Questions to Trump on Wiretaps

On Friday afternoon, a slew of CNN personalities could barely contain their approval with the German journalists who questioned President Trump, swooning how they exclusively stuck to the wiretapping claims and should be given “kudos” for their questions from the left. 

Senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny was more subtle with his praise than others, telling host Wolf Blitzer how unnerved Trump was with “[t]he look on his face when it was a German reporter who asked the question about the British about wiretapping.”

As for the two American reporters who received questions in NBC News analyst/Showtime host Mark Halperin and Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli, Zeleny took a dig at them for not focusing on “the news of the day” (i.e. what the media wants you to think was most important): 

The two U.S. reporters asked about health care not — certainly an important issue here in the U.S. — not necessarily the news of the day at the White House, but the look on the President's face when he was asked that was — was certainly — was certainly interesting.

On Twitter, Zeleny tweeted a picture of one German questioning Trump with the caption: “It took this German reporter to ask @realDonaldTrump about wire tapping. Two US journalists did not.” 

It’s interesting for Zeleny to chide Halperin and Cirilli seeing as how he’s the person who asked Obama what enchanted him most about the presidency.

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Blitzer turned next to chief political analyst Gloria Borger, who was far more blatant in praising the liberal journalists from Deutschland, exclaiming: “First of all, I think we have to give kudos to the German journalists for asking the tough questions.”

She added that, unfortunately, the “tough questions” weren’t from “American journalists” because they “talk[ed] about health care...an important issue, but the news of the day and the questions revolve around the President's claims on wiretapping and the international incident that occurred over Sean Spicer's reading of a — quotes from Fox News about the United Kingdom participating in spying.”

Back on Twitter, senior media and political reporter Dylan Byers gushed: 

CNN contributor Ryan Lizza added: “Quite a contrast between the questions from the American reporter and the German reporter.”

The discussion wasn’t complete without Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter, who seized on this softball from Blitzer: “It was interesting that the sensitive questions about wiretaps, about what British intelligence supposedly was doing didn't come from American journalists but from a German journalist.”

“Yes, the first American reporter question was about health care from Mark Halperin of Showtime. He's working on a documentary series, so he's following the President around this week. Another question later, the topic of wiretapping only coming up from German reporters,” Stelter responded. 

Later, the man who has lumped NewsBusters in with fake news sites and accused us of misleading readers slammed conservative media as being part of a “ditch” filled with misinformation:

[Trump’s] comment about wiretapping was incredibly weak. He said talk to Fox, talk to Fox, so I have talked to Fox and right now, Fox News doesn’t have much to say. The word is that this is going to be addressed on the air later today. Apparently, Napolitano does stand by his remark that it was actually — his intel sources, saying it was the British that were spying on Trump for Obama....They say this is going to be addressed on one of their newscasts later today, but this issue is not just about Napolitano, it’s about the credibility of all of Fox because President is citing Fox, saying it was Fox's reporting that he is citing. Bottomline, we’re stuck in a ditch again. We’re stuck in this conservative media ditch where the President is relying on something that may or may not have actually been reliable and doesn’t seem to know the difference between an opinion commentator saying something on an opinion show, relying on sources that are apparently wrong versus real reporting[.]

Lumping a questionable statement by a commentator with conservative media writ large is rather dubious. If we want to play that game and breathlessly hype how the Fox News Channel’s credibility is on the line or why a segment of the media represents a “ditch,” why not ask how is CNN considered credible seeing as how it employs a serial plagiarist in Fareed Zakaria.

Further, why should viewers believe MSNBC because their payroll includes plagiarist Mike Barnicle and serial liar Brian Williams? 

The answer is not one person can take down a site’s credibility. Instead, it is (or should be) a pattern of behavior and whether the men and women of any channel or site report the news without fear or favor as well as employ people of character.

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from CNN’s post-presidential news conference coverage on March 17:

CNN Newsroom
March 17, 2017
2:39 p.m. Eastern

JEFF ZELENY: Wolf, I do think it is the wiretapping question, of course, again, that claim, that cloud has been hanging over the White House here and just to give you a sense of perspective, Wolf, I am just about five or six feet from the President. The look on his face when it was a German reporter who asked the question about the British about wiretapping, he didn't look pleased. The two U.S. reporters asked about health care not — certainly an important issue here in the U.S. — not necessarily the news of the day at the White House, but the look on the President's face when he was asked that was — was certainly — was certainly interesting.

(....)

GLORIA BORGER: First of all, I think we have to give kudos to the German journalists for asking the tough questions. Wasn’t American journalists, we’re talking about health care, as Jeff points out, an important issue, but the news of the day and the questions revolve around the President's claims on wiretapping and the international incident that occurred over Sean Spicer's reading of a — quotes from Fox News about the United Kingdom participating in spying and I think the President today elevated it. I mean, he elevated it. 

(....)

BLITZER: Brian, it was interesting that the sensitive questions about wiretaps, about what British intelligence supposedly was doing didn't come from American journalists but from a German journalist. 

BRIAN STELTER: Yes, the first American reporter question was about health care from Mark Halperin of Showtime. He's working on a documentary series, so he's following the President around this week. Another question later, the topic of wiretapping only coming up from German reporters. Wolf, this really was a one-note press conference from President Trump and the signal note was strength. He kept talking about strength, saying America will be stronger, will stronger, but his comment about wiretapping was incredibly weak. He said talk to Fox, talk to Fox, so I have talked to Fox and right now, Fox News doesn’t have much to say. The word is that this is going to be addressed on the air later today. Apparently, Napolitano does stand by his remark that it was actually — his intel sources, saying it was the British that were spying on Trump for Obama. Now, that comment from Napolitano was made on an opinion show and Fox News makes a big deal about the difference between opinion shows like their morning show and newscasts. They say this is going to be addressed on one of their newscasts later today, but this issue is not just about Napolitano, it’s about the credibility of all of Fox because President is citing Fox, saying it was Fox's reporting that he is citing. Bottomline, we’re stuck in a ditch again. We’re stuck in this conservative media ditch where the President is relying on something that may or may not have actually been reliable and doesn’t seem to know the difference between an opinion commentator saying something on an opinion show, relying on sources that are apparently wrong versus real reporting, and it's just not a good look for any political leader to be doing that. Now, I suppose Wolf the ball is back in Napolitano's court.

NB Daily Foreign Policy Europe Media Bias Debate Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Web 2.0 Twitter CNN CNN Newsroom Video Government & Press Wolf Blitzer Ryan Lizza Gloria Borger Mark Halperin Brian Stelter Jeff Zeleny Angela Merkel Donald Trump
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