Stelter: ESPN Story Was ‘Petty,’ Pushed by ‘Wannabe-Rival Fox Sports’

CNN’s “ridiculous figure,” Brian Stelter earned his moniker during Sunday’s Reliable Sources when he opened his show by completely dismissing the ESPN/Jemele Hill controversy as just an annoyance stirred up conservative media.

This controversy gave conservative media like rival Fox Sports -- ESPN’s wannabe-rival Fox Sports -- the opportunity to cast ESPN as the liberal enemy,” Stelter proclaimed during his unholy Sunday morning sermon, A.K.A. his opening monologue. It’s quite telling that he went out of his way to correct himself by calling Fox Sports the “wanna-be rival” instead of keeping the “like rival” he initially said.

Stelter’s liberalism was showing when he expressed shocked that Hill’s tweet calling President Trump a “white supremacist” became controversial. “After all, she's not the first to call Trump a racist or white supremacist,” he huffed. And this is far from the first time members of the media or news outlets have questioned Trump's complicated relationship with white supremacy.

Of course, Stelter wouldn’t find Hill’s smears controversial. For over a year Stelter and CNN have been openly talking about Trump in such terms, including calling him a totalitarian dictator, questioning his sanity, claiming he’s threatening the lives of journalists, and asserting Trump was to blame for a firebombing at a GOP headquarters.

So, why did this particular tweet back on Monday made on Hill's personal account catch fire and become a week-long story,” he rhetorically asked the audience. He expanded on that question when he was addressing USA Today Sports Writer Christine Brennan, while taking childlike jabs at Fox, claiming they were beneath ESPN:

Is there something just petty about this, that a single tweet, part of a tweet storm by Jemele Hill, while she was fighting with people on Twitter on Monday, was picked up by Fox and other conservative outlets, turned into an uproar, and caused a week-long story? Is there something kind of competitive going on here?

Oh, I'm sure there is. I mean, this is the world we live in,” Brennan replied.

His question implies that, for some reason, Hill’s tweet should be off-limits for criticism because it met his arbitrary criteria of being from her personal account and said in the middle of an argument with folks. Someone needs to take that to CNN’s Human Resources because that’s exactly what happened when the network fired conservative commentator Jeffrey Lord.

If Stelter really wants to talk about pettiness coming from inferior rivals, he really should look in the mirror.

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In the past, Stelter actually hammered Fox News for daring to report the Rockville rape case where it was alleged that two young illegal immigrants raped an underaged girl. The charges were eventually shifted to child pornography, which Fox News did report. But Stelter still hammered them as if the child porn charges were any less serious.

It also seemed that whenever a Fox News personality was facing some kind of outrage the public, Stelter and his CNN Money ilk would eagerly call and pester their advertisers to see if they’ll drop the associated program. And very few weekends go by without some segment of his show being dedicated in some way to his gripes about Fox News, often moaning about how the President prefers to watch Fox and Friends.

There was one Republican sports journalist on Stelter's stacked liberal panel who pushed back on his ridiculousness: former ESPN Reporter Britt McHenry. “Brit, am I being cynical saying this was partly a controversy created or triggered by conservative media that rivals ESPN,” he asked her.

“I don't think this was a controversy. Fox 1 wasn't calling me or any other conservatives to get in or give their two cents. There was a poll by the--” she began to answer before Stelter rudely interrupted her to bring it back to his favorite punching bag.

Well, Fox News made a lot of this this week, not the only network, of course, but this was a big story in conservative media on Tuesday. That's partly what triggered all the reactions,” he asserted while failing to mention that it was The Washington Post’s David Nakamura who pressed the White House for a reaction.

McHenry hit back with the major part of the story that Stelter’s lopsided interpretation of the facts prevented him from mentioning: ESPN’s blatant double standard in disciplining employees for their political opinions:

If you're going to send Linda Cohn home … because she just said the company was a little too political, and then another colleague calls the President of the United States … a white supremacist and essentially anyone who voted for him an enabler of that, that's when people around the country, whether you're conservative or not, are going to take a step back and say: ‘Wait a minute, where's the fair treatment here?’

It’s this kind sorely lacking “reporting” is what caused Brian Stelter to lose his credibility as a journalist. He painted himself as an intellectual defender of the press, but it’s clear that he’s just a liberal partisan masquerading as an objective media critic.

Transcript below:

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CNN
Reliable Sources
September 17, 2017
11:01:01 PM Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: The world's biggest sports network, ESPN, is in the crosshairs after Sports Center host Jemele Jill tweeted that President Trump is a white supremacist. Hill prompted new conversations about whether the U.S. President is a racist. So, why did this particular tweet back on Monday made on Hill's personal account catch fire and become a week-long story?

After all, she's not the first to call Trump a racist or white supremacist. And this is far from the first time members of the media or news outlets have questioned Trump's complicated relationship with white supremacy. You can see these recent magazine covers all published in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

There’s a couple things going on here that we should be honest about. Number one: This controversy gave conservative media like rival Fox Sports -- ESPN’s wanna-be rival Fox Sports -- the opportunity to cast ESPN as the liberal enemy. We also saw President Trump and his White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders addressing this controversy, being asked about this it. It seemed the White House embraced this fight. Perhaps another example of media bashing.

So, there's a lot of dynamics at play here, including ESPN's social media policies. And we’re going to get into that with two top newsroom leaders. But maybe we should call this was what it is: It’s media bashing of another color.

(…)

STELTER: Is there something just petty about this, that a single tweet, part of a tweet storm by Jemele Hill, while she was fighting with people on Twitter on Monday, was picked up by Fox and other conservative outlets, turned into an uproar, and caused a week-long story? Is there something kind of competitive going on here?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Oh, I'm sure there is. I mean, this is the world we live in.

(…)

STELTER: Brit, am I being cynical saying this was partly a controversy created or triggered by conservative media that rivals ESPN?

BRITT MCHENRY: A little bit, in my opinion, Brian. I don't think this was a controversy. Fox 1 wasn't calling me or any other conservatives to get in or give their two cents. There was a poll by the –

STELTER: Well, Fox News made a lot of this this week, not the only network, of course, but this was a big story in conservative media on Tuesday. That's partly what triggered all the reactions.

MCHENRY: Well, as you know, I used to work there so I have experience being there and just knowing the conduct policy and I think what really agitated a lot of people was the inconsistency of treatment. If you're going to send Linda Cohn home, one of the most celebrated Sports Center anchors because she just said the company was a little too political, and then another colleague calls the President of the United States -- the highest office in the land -- a white supremacist and essentially anyone who voted for him an enabler of that, that's when people around the country, whether you're conservative or not, are going to take a step back and say wait a minute, where's the fair treatment here?

And a poll by The Big Lead, as I mentioned, this past spring -- which is owned by USA Today -- showed that from a small sample size only 6 percent of respondents were identifying themselves as Republican. But you know what, Brian? The people consuming this media, sports fans across the country, Alabama fans, a red state that voted for Trump, they're all over. That's not necessarily what the consumption demographic breakdown is. And I think that needs to be taken into account when a network gets too political more to this case perhaps too far to the left.

STELTER: So, you think ESPN has—You think ESPN is simply too liberal? All of ESPN?

MCHENRY: I think that's a broad statement that I'm not equipped to label, I just will say my personal opinion that this did violate their conduct policy and there have been colleagues including myself -- I had something in my personal life two and a half years ago private -- an argument that I had that was put out there and I was suspended for a week without pay for something in my personal life. And there's plenty of other examples of suspensions at the network and that's why there's a feeling of discontent because you see this and people really scratch their heads. Is that an okay thing to say for a sports network?

(…)

NB Daily Censorship Media Diversity Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Double Standards Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Fox News Channel CNN Reliable Sources Video Jemele Hill Brian Stelter

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