‘Cannot Be Trusted’: CNN Promotes Conspiracies After Slamming Liar Trump

President Trump was set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, and the liberal media were in full campaign mode as they pushed speculation the President was a Russian agent meeting with his handler.

CNN’s Brian Stelter admitted as much during Sunday’s Reliable Sources, saying, “Trump opponents will speculate that he's really a Russian agent, having a meeting with his handler, betraying America.” While he did say that, Stelter also declared that no one could trust the President’s account of the meeting and gave those conspiracy theories room to grow.

Stelter kicked off the program by casting doubt over whether or not the President was trustworthy enough for us to believe his account of the one-on-one meeting Putin. “No aides, no note-takers. So, we'll never really know what is said because, really, can we trust either man? No. We can't,” he bitterly spat.

The CNN host bemoaned about how long-gone were the days of presidents who spoke only in truth and commanded power. “But not now. Not anymore,” he decried:

What President Trump says is so frequently false or nonsensical that his words don't have the same meaning, the same power, the same impact as past presidents. It's a shame but it's true. Trump simply cannot be trusted. He has proven this himself time and time again. It's his own lies and his own contradictions that have proven it.

Interestingly enough, if you swapped out the references to Trump and replaced them with references to the media, it still worked.

 

 

While Stelter proceeded to rail against the President and “Trump partisans who will proclaim him to be a strong leader, improving the U.S./Russia relationship” in the vacuum of trusted accounts, he leaned on those liberal conspiracy theorists to drive his message home.

First up was, CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd who asserted that Trump and Putin had a lot in common since they were both “propaganda machines”. “And Donald Trump has proven himself to be a tool, a Russian tool for spreading that misinformation and disinformation,” she declared. Stelter failed to mention she was a former Obama official, which meant her analysis was biased.

Appearing not at all bothered by the assertion and not one to miss a chance to attack Fox News, Stelter tried to slime Chris Wallace for being the one who managed to snag a Putin interview for the powerhouse network. “Exactly. He knows that Fox is the president's preferred outlet. And he knows how to play his asset. And Donald Trump, either wittingly or unwittingly, is an asset of the Russian government,” Vinograd agreed.

Stelter seized onto her accusation of Trump being a Russian spy asset and turned to fringe conspiracy theorist and New York magazine writer, Jonathan Chait to share his wild accusation that Trump had been helping Russia in the U.S. since the late 1980’s.

Well, what I was trying to do in this story is to make the case that we've been behind the facts on the Russia story since the beginning,” he argued. “We keep catching up, we keep assuming the truth is just one or two steps ahead of us. And there's so much incriminating information. Much of it has been forgotten.” Chait appeared to hang his accusation on the claims of anti-Trump, former CIA-Director John Brennan. And he begged for people to believe him.

Clearly into the craziness, Stelter was fearful that “these conversations end up sounding like they’re conspiracy theories in the same way that, you know, I say Sean Hannity is engaging in that kind of behavior”.

Reliable Sources had become a place where media-televangelist Brian Stelter could sing the praises of the cult. It’s a place where hypocrisy could flourish. It’s a place where he could denounce the President for the lies he told while telling his own. Contrary to the network’s slogan, facts were not first there.

This is CNN.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

 

Sign Up for MRC Newsletters!

 

CNN
Reliable Sources
July 15, 2018
11:00:45 AM Eastern [1 minute 38 seconds]

(…)

BRIAN STELTER: But first, one of the world's big mysteries. How will we know what really happens when Trump and Putin get together? Right now, hundreds of journalists are descending on Helsinki. 1,500 reporters from 61 countries have applied for credentials to cover the U.S./Russia meeting. But they're going to have very little access to the key events. Putin and Trump plan to meet for a private conversation one-on-one conversation before official talks begin. No aides, no note-takers. So, we'll never really know what is said because, really, can we trust either man? No. We can't.

In the past, the U.S. President's words have projected power and shaped global decisions. What the president said meant something. It meant a lot. But not now. Not anymore. What President Trump says is so frequently false or nonsensical that his words don't have the same meaning, the same power, the same impact as past presidents. It's a shame but it's true. Trump simply cannot be trusted. He has proven this himself time and time again. It's his own lies and his own contradictions that have proven it. And that is why this is a profound test for journalists. How do you cover a person who twists truth like it's a game? Just saying, oh, well the president said, that is not sufficient anymore, if it ever was.

(…)

11:03:38 AM Eastern [33 seconds]

STELTER: Typically, usually, the truth comes out. But it might not this time. Not when Trump and Putin meet privately. Of course, nature and the media both abhor a vacuum. So the unknowns are going to be filled up by Trump partisans who will proclaim him to be a strong leader, improving the U.S./Russia relationship. At the same time, Trump opponents will speculate that he's really a Russian agent, having a meeting with his handler, betraying America. The divide is that stark.

(…)

11:05:53 AM Eastern [4 minutes 39 seconds]

STELTER: With regards to all the reporting that has been done, about Trump’s views of Putin and views of Russia, Samantha Vinograd, what do we know for sure about he's walking into? What do we know for sure about Trump’s attitude?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD: Well, we definitely know that Trump and Vladimir Putin have a few things in common when it comes to the media. Both of them happen to be propaganda machines. They spread misinformation, disinformation, and sow divisions in the United States. That’s Russia’s mission we know from the intelligence community. And Donald Trump has proven himself to be a tool, a Russian tool for spreading that misinformation and disinformation.

(…)

STELTER: I wonder what it means, if anything, that Putin has selected Fox's Chris Wallace to sit down with, to have an exclusive conversation after the meeting. It seems like Putin knows to go to Fox. But at the same time, Wallace is a really tough interviewer.

VINOGRAD: Exactly. He knows that Fox is the president's preferred outlet. And he knows how to play his asset. And Donald Trump, either wittingly or unwittingly, is an asset of the Russian government. If you're Vladimir Putin, you're going into this meeting and you’re thinking, “Okay, I have my playbook, I'm going to flatter President Trump, he likes compliments. I'm going to talk to him about conspiracies within the United States. And I'm going to talk about things that he likes and things that he trusts, like Fox News."

Imagine if Putin had said, “No, I'm going to go give an interview to CNN or MSNBC.” President Trump's spine would have been up, he would have been worried that Putin was going to say something that he didn't like. This way, President Trump is incredibly comfortable going into this meeting. To use president trump's words from a few days ago, he's easy. President Trump is an easy target.

STELTER: You talked about him being an unwitting Russian asset. Jonathan Chait, you went a step further in your cover story for New York magazine this week. If we could put in on screen, I think. You talked about whether President Trump has actually been a Russian asset for decades! Now, you acknowledge this is unlikely, but you're making the point that it's possible.

JONATHAN CHAIT: Yeah.

STELTER: Talk us through it.

CHAIT: Well, what I was trying to do in this story is to make the case that we've been behind the facts on the Russia story since the beginning. When the hack was first reported, nobody thought that Russia was actually trying to help Donald Trump. We keep catching up, we keep assuming the truth is just one or two steps ahead of us. And there's so much incriminating information. Much of it has been forgotten.

One of the things I begin with is the fact that the former CIA director, John Brennan, received intercepts from European intelligence agencies of Russian officials talking about their connections to the Trump campaign. And then Brennan came out and said that he thinks Putin has something secret, some blackmail leverage over the President of the United States. That's an astonishing charge. And it's made by someone who actually has some information at his disposal and I think we should actually take it seriously.

STELTER: Is there a risk, Jonathan, these conversations end up sounding like they’re conspiracy theories in the same way that, you know, I say Sean Hannity is engaging in that kind of behavior?

CHAIT: There certainly is a risk. I mean, I think you have to be cautious about what the facts show. You can't get ahead of the facts, you can't say this definitely happened when you think possibly it just happened. You have to look at other possibilities, as I do. In every step, I try to show where there could be innocent explanations. Sometimes when someone does something that doesn't make sense, sometimes people do things that don't make sense, and you have to be open to that.

But look, when you have serious information and you’ve got serious figures making these charges, I think you actually have to, not just blind yourself to the outcomes that they're putting right in front of your face, but say, this is one of the things that might actually be where the story is going.

(…)


Please support NewsBusters today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)

DONATE
CyberAlerts Foreign Policy Russia Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Labeling Cable Television CNN Reliable Sources Video Brian Stelter Jonathan Chait Donald Trump Vladimir Putin