Sparks were flying Wednesday on CNN Tonight, as The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael Wolff shot down the liberal media’s obsession with President-Elect Donald Trump’s press-less dinner at the 21 Club. “All the press has talked about this for the last 24 hours,” he exclaimed to a fuming Brian Stelter, “We have to stop talking about ourselves. It's not about us.”
Wolff went on to warn Stelter and the rest of the CNN panel that that mentality is how the election result snuck up on them. “And unless we learn that, we're going to continue to go down the road-- find ourselves in the position that we found ourselves last Tuesday,” he argued.
Proving themselves to be completely oblivious to figures of speech, both Stelter and host Don Lemon both defended themselves by claiming that they have talked about other news items in the last 24 hours. “But nevertheless, they have talked about enormous amount about something that only effects them,” Wolff shot back.
The host of “Reliable Sources” took umbrage with Wolff’s position that the press was in the wrong, and argued that Trump was really to blame. “He made a mistake last night. His administration made a mistake. They should have brought the press with them. It was a mistake,” Stelter rambled even though Trump has no administration yet. Wolff told Stelter, “I don’t think they should have brought the press with them at all,” and then said anything else was “ridiculous.”
Stelter seemed to snap as he started to yell over Wolff and Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes “They have made a series of mistakes for the past eight days! They can correct his mistakes at any time! The press pool is in the lobby of Trump Tower!”
It was a fairly angry response from someone who said “I’m not angry” when talking about why the media is fixated on Trump’s dinner. “He's not president yet and I find it really interesting you want the American people to be angry at a man who has not been sworn into office yet for just wanting to go have dinner with his family,” Hughes stated.
Lemon agreed with Stelter, claiming, “I don’t think anyone insinuated that.” But the way Stelter exploded, and the media have been framing the story proves just the opposite. When ABC reports the dinner as “bucking the tradition of transparency;” and Bloomberg calls it “a major brake in protocol;” and the White Correspondents Association describes it as “unacceptable,” what other emotion could the press possibly be trying to impart to the public other than anger?
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CNN Tonight with Don Lemon
November 16, 2016
10:45:04 PM Eastern
DON LEMON: This is what Hope Hicks said, that Trump spokesperson said, “We fully expect to operate a traditional pool and look forward to implementing our plans in the near future. We appreciate your patience as we navigate the transition.”
BRIAN STELTER: Hope Hicks should show, not tell. Right now she's telling. They should show it.
LEMON: Go ahead Scottie.
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES: Here's the point here that we're missing. He's not president yet and I find it really interesting you want the American people to be angry at a man who has not been sworn into office yet for just wanting to go have dinner with his family—
STELTER: I’m not angry.
HUGHES:-- and he did alert Secret Service to it. So you know, he's not president. After he becomes president sworn to oval office then fine, he's open to all of your criticism, but right now president Obama is still in office. I also want to bring this Idea—
LEMON: But Scottie, before that, do you think people want -- do you think that people sitting here want the American people to be angry at him? I don’t think anyone insinuated that.
HUGHES: Well, if you lasted to the last 24 hours coverage of steak-gate [Stelter giggles], it seems a lot of reporters are not able to get, I guess, reservations at the same restaurant to find out if Mr. Trump likes his steaks well done.
LEMON: Scottie, you know that's not true.
STELTER: That’s not what it was about.
LEMON: That’s not what it was about. What if when Ronald Reagan—when there was the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan’s life. Part of the thing that helped was to have the footage from the press threre. You saw what happened to the president.
HUGHES: But he was the president. This is the key. He's the president Don and right now he's the president-elect.
MICHAEL WOLFF: That is certainly a valid point he's not the president. It's also a valid point that he's only been the president elect for a week. It is a third valid point all the press has talked about this for the last 24 hours. Again – and I would say this is a red flag warning, stop. We have to stop talking about ourselves. It's not about us.
WOLFF: And unless we learn that, we're going to continue to go down the road-- find ourselves in the position that we found ourselves last Tuesday.
LEMON: But Michael let me ask you this—
STELTER: The press has talked about a hundred other things in the last 24 hours.
LEMON: Yes, I have talked about a lot of things.
WOLFF: But nevertheless, they have talked about enormous amount about something that only effects them.
STELTER: He made a mistake last night. His administration made a mistake. They should have brought the press with them. It was a mistake.
WOLFF: I don’t think they should have brought the press with them at all.
HUGHES: He doesn’t have an administration yet Brian. I don’t know what to say. He doesn’t have one yet. He has a press secretary.
WOLFF: And I think it’s ridiculous. A matter of fact, I have listened—
STELTER [Cutting Wolff off]: They have made a series of mistakes for the past eight days! They can correct his mistakes at any time! The press pool is in the lobby of Trump Tower!
WOLFF: I have listened to this again and again that they should have done this. WHY?! I don’t know why they should. What’s the advantage?