CNN’s Gregory: The Media Are ‘Not Responsible for Creating a Tone’

The liberal media were irate Wednesday night after President Trump called for civility, unity, and for the media to turn down their own heated rhetoric. A lot of CNN’s prime time line up after that point involved them berating the President for his own rhetoric and tone deafly denying they needed to take any such action. And during the first hour of CNN Tonight, D.C. political news veteran David Gregory laughably declared that the media was “not responsible for creating a tone,” the President was.

Coming back from a commercial break, host Don Lemon huffed about how Trump was “ramping up his attacks on the media tonight, suggesting the media is contributing to what he calls endless hostility.

“Do you think it was appropriate for the President to continue to hold this rally tonight on a day when someone tried to kill two former U.S. Presidents, former secretary of state, a former attorney general, and a congresswoman,” he asked Gregory.

Gregory responded by groaning about how he was “well past being surprised by, you know, this President's approach to those kinds of political norms.” After claiming he gave the President “his due” when he thought Trump did “the right thing”, Gregory said he wished Trump “could accept more and be more self-reflective, more presidential. I think it was completely inappropriate.”

Earlier in the program, Gregory tried to portray himself as someone open to criticism of the media, claiming: “I'm willing to engage in all kinds of press criticism. I'm willing to take responsibility for our role writ-large in the political culture.”

 

 

But he was not at all willing to listen to the criticism coming from the President. “I'm not willing to have this conversation with the leader of the free world who cannot own his own behavior and his own rhetoric,” he complained. Gregory would walk away from his claim that he would consider the media’s “role writ-large in the political culture.”

By the way, the press's job, the media's job, is not to create a tone in this country. The media's job is to cover power and seek accountability, to ask tough questions, and to do it fairly,” Gregory indignantly proclaimed a short time later. “We are not responsible for creating a tone. He creates the tone. Politicians create the tone.” This coming from the guy who broke a D.C. gun law to push liberal efforts for gun control.

He then suggested that the media were merely “part of that context” and their “job” was to “try to hold leaders accountable.” “And so for him to try to dictate what we should be doing, he should do his own job, which should not include injecting a level of toxicity into public discourse as he does. Even when he has legitimate grievances with the press or political opponents,” Gregory spat.

But CNN were masters of setting the tone against the President. In 2017, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter often urged people to start questioning Trump’s mental fitness. He then praised the media when they finally did, earlier this year. And on Thursday, CNN ran completely ridiculous chyrons setting the tone that the bomber(s) had gone after “Trump’s targets” like they were given marching orders.

Gregory’s assertion that the media never sets a tone was laughable. How would he explain The Washington Post’s “democracy dies in darkness” declaration after Trump’s inauguration? What a joke. This is CNN.

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

CNN Tonight
October 24, 2018
10:25 p.m. Eastern

(…)

DON LEMON: So blame the media, Brian. I mean, people could have been killed today, and this is part of what he says? This is his response?

BRIAN STELTER: He may not know what the nation needs, but he knows what his fans want. And I think tonight at the rally he's speaking to his fans. He's speaking to that base that wants to hear him, yes, condemn political violence, but then turn around and say it's partly the fault of the press. Or it's partly the fault of the press that this happens or that people are out there feeling these extreme and crazy emotions. I think that's what he was doing. It's as simple as playing to the base.

(…)

DAVID GREGORY: But, you know, I'm willing to engage in all kinds of press criticism. I'm willing to take responsibility for our role writ-large in the political culture. I'm not willing to have this conversation with the leader of the free world who cannot own his own behavior and his own rhetoric, which has broken every norm that I've ever covered in politics over the past quarter, you know, 25 years.

(…)

10:31 p.m. Eastern

LEMON: So President Trump ramping up his attacks on the media tonight, suggesting the media is contributing to what he calls endless hostility. This comes hours after a pipe bomb was sent here to CNN. So, back with me, Brian, David, and Phil. David, let me ask you. Do you think it was appropriate for the President to continue to hold this rally tonight on a day when someone tried to kill two former U.S. presidents, former secretary of state, a former attorney general, and a congresswoman?

GREGORY: No. But I'm kind of well past being surprised by, you know, this President's approach to those kinds of political norms. You know, what I think -- you know, as I so often react to the President, I'm willing to give him his due when I think he does the right thing. I thought he said some of the right things earlier today and even tonight. But you end up wanting more. You wish he could accept more and be more self-reflective, more presidential. I think it was completely inappropriate.

By the way, he said something about the press. Inappropriate to go after the press. There's a long line of people who want to do that, and that's fine, and we often have it coming to some degree. People always complain about the press. Presidents always complain about the press.

By the way, the press's job, the media's job, is not to create a tone in this country. The media's job is to cover power and seek accountability, to ask tough questions, and to do it fairly. We have our credibility issues, and we have to be credible with our audience. That is incredibly important to us. We are not responsible for creating a tone. He creates the tone. Politicians create the tone. We are part of that context, but our job is to try to hold leaders accountable. And so for him to try to dictate what we should be doing, he should do his own job, which should not include injecting a level of toxicity into public discourse as he does. Even when he has legitimate grievances with the press or political opponents. Nobody thinks this is child's play here. We get it, but he's taken it to a different level.

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