CNN Panel Politicizes Hurricane Reporters, Claim Trump Attacking Them

With the remains of Hurricane Harvey still threatening the communities and lives of the people living along the coast of Texas, the liberal media still couldn’t put their obsession with President Trump aside. In a segment of CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday, host Brian Stelter wanted to talk about Trump’s description of political journalists as “sick people” from earlier in the week. But his panel twisted Trump’s words to connect them to those reporters covering the hurricane and those in war zones.

Stelter began the segment by describing Trump’s criticism of the press as a dose of poison. “I think of these words as poison, meaning that they're a slow acting poison, gradually hurting the country by causing more and more distrust of the media,” he explained to Journalist Jeff Greenfield.

And that is to inoculate his supporters against believing whatever is said about Donald Trump in the mainstream press,” Greenfield responded. He then tried to make Trump’s distaste for political journalists into a distaste for those who risk their lives to report the news. “The idea that the press doesn't love our country, I mean, you know, I don't how many reporters have died covering wars, trying to bring stories to the attention of the people,” he conflated.

Playing off of Greenfield, Joanne Lipman, the editor-in-chief of USA Today, tried to argue that Trump was disparaging her reporters that were in Texas.

Yeah, I have to point out the deep irony here. Right? Just hours after he made those remarks, we had a hurricane category 4 making landfall in Corpus Christi, Texas,” she bemoaned. “Our reporters, every single person in that newsroom, while the rest of the city is being evacuated and going to higher ground, was going into danger to cover danger, to cover it, to bring this to the rest of the world.

But to his credit, Stelter pushed back on Lipman’s conflation between the national political reporters and local news people. “The President is not talking about them. He’s talking about me. He’s talking about you. He is talking about the leaders in newsrooms or the anchors on CNN that he doesn't like.”

The point is, I think there's just a deep irony to think that reporters who are the ones who put themselves in danger's way are the ones who are at fault here somehow,” Lipman continued to complain. I mean, we also own the paper in Guam which is 14 minutes away from nuclear destruction!

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The Huffington Post’s Editor-in-Chief, Lydia Polgreen agreed with Lipman’s flawed equation. But she decided to add a swipe at Fox News and other right-wing media outlets for not having people on the ground in Texas. “It's not Sean Hannity,” out there reporting on the destruction, she spat while ignoring the fact that Sean Hannity was just a political commentator and not a journalist. “It's actually their colleagues at the local Fox News affiliates who are actually in harm's way doing the work.

Speaking of stuff that’s actually “ironic,” Greenfield later admitted that he believed that most of the media were in fact ideologically liberal. “I think that’s true … it's been true for a very long time. It's silly not to acknowledge that ” he told Stelter. But he then tried to suggest that despite the liberal bent, their reporting wasn’t biased. “The point is, does that mean that the coverage Donald Trump is getting is necessarily biased,” Greenfield asserted, pointing to the criticism Trump received from the right.

It’s ironic because Greenfield’s claims about no political bias from journalists came during a segment where his colleagues politicized a natural disaster, which had taken lives, for political gain.

Transcript below:

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CNN
Reliable Sources
August 27, 2017
11:32:36 AM Eastern

(…)

BRIAN STELTER: Jeff, I think of these words as poison, meaning that they're a slow acting poison, gradually hurting the country by causing more and more distrust of the media. We all know, distrust has been very high for a long time, but it's getting even worse. Do you agree with me that it's a poison when the President talks this way?

JEFF GREENFIELD: Yeah. It is a quite deliberate tactic and one he’s been using from the time he ran for president. And that is to inoculate his supporters against believing whatever is said about Donald Trump in the mainstream press. And the idea is -- he said it in so many words -- whatever you hear from those sources, whether it's CNN or The New York Times or ABC, don't believe it. And I don't think it takes a conspiratorial mind to understand the strategy. So, the next time a news outlet comes out with a story that puts Donald Trump in a bad light, the idea is his core supporters will have been taught to say: “Fake news, don't believe it.”

The idea that the press doesn't love our country, I mean, you know, I don't how many reporters have died covering wars, trying to bring stories to the attention of the people. You can say that the press is elitist. You can say we make a lot of mistakes. You can say that we're biased. But the idea that we're sick people who don't love our country is at a level that exceeds anything I can remember in discourse with a president of the United States or anything close to it.

STELTER: Joanne?

JOANNE LIPMAN: Yeah, I have to point out the deep irony here. Right? Just hours after he made those remarks, we had a hurricane category 4 making landfall in Corpus Christi, Texas, where we own the Corpus Christi Caller Times. Our reporters, every single person in that newsroom, while the rest of the city is being evacuated and going to higher ground, was going into danger to cover danger, to cover it, to bring this to the rest of the world.

(…)

STELTER: The President is not talking about them. He’s talking about me. He is talking about you. He is talking about the leaders in newsrooms or the anchors on CNN that he doesn't like.

LIPMAN: The point is, I think there's just a deep irony to think that reporters who are the ones who put themselves in danger's way are the ones who are at fault here somehow. I mean, we also own the paper in Guam which is 14 minutes away from nuclear destruction. What happened when North Korea made that threat? This small newspaper in Guam, every single person there was activated fanning out across the island. They weren't running away.

(…)

LYDIA POLGREEN: I think that to Joann's point, it's kind of ironic that in a moment of disaster like this, that you have reporters from -- it's not Sean Hannity, it's not Breitbart that’s out there covering the destruction in Houston and Corpus Christi or in Guam, for that matter. It's actually their colleagues at the local Fox News affiliates who are actually in harm's way doing the work.

(…)

STELTER: You covered the cold war on television. Do you subscribe to that analogy?

GREENFIELD: He [Rich Lowery] may be overstating but not that much. Particularly as it relates to the way that the President and his supporters are framing this argument. Look, the idea that the mainstream press tilts liberal in terms of the beliefs of the people who practice it, I think that's true. I think the question is -- it's been true for a very long time. It's silly not to acknowledge that. The point is, does that mean that the coverage Donald Trump is getting is necessarily biased?

When you put down the facts about his business relationships, about the dissembling if not outright lying, the delusional way that he approaches reality, the incredible narcissism. Is that a product of being left? Because some of the most conservative people in America believe that.

So the point is, yes, Trump now is saying, because the press -- you know the press is liberal. Don't believe anything they say no matter how factual it is because they are your enemy. If he can keep that message in the forefront of his most intense supporters, that's the base he means to hold on to as his popularity continues to decline.

(…)

NB Daily Environment Hurricanes Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Blogs Huffington Post CNN Reliable Sources Major Newspapers USA Today Video Brian Stelter Jeff Greenfield Joanne Lipman Lydia Polgreen Donald Trump

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