CNN’s Stelter Confused By D.C. Reporters Supporting Fox News Regarding DNC Debate Ban

CNN media hack and host of the inaccurately named program “Reliable Sources,” Brian Stelter drew a lot of flak last week when he came out in defense of the Democratic National Committee’s ban on allowing Fox News to host debates for them. Then, during his show on Sunday, Stelter flashed his deep-seated hatred for his more highly rated competitor when he expressed confusion as to why D.C. reporters were stand up in solitary with Fox News.

Towards the end of the program’s A-block, which was dedicated to his unhealthy obsession with Fox News, Stelter was pitching a question to a guest when he shared his bewilderment.

First Stelter claimed he would support Fox News if they had a reporter banned from the White House as CNN did, and Fox News backed them up on. But then he slipped in his qualifier for not supporting them now: “Fox's fight is with the DNC, not the media. (… ) So many D.C. reporters were coming out supporting Fox, taking Jeff’s view, right, about out and going on Fox. There was a kind of -- I don't know what that was about.

What?! Fox News is part of the media and they’re being banned by a major political organization. If it was the GOP banning CNN, he and his network would be calling it an “attack” on the First Amendment and claim it was putting their lives in danger.

But Stelter’s not fooling anyone. That fact that he’s not afraid to call Fox News “state-run TV” and encourages it from his guests proves it’s unlikely he’d defend them on anything. That’s not to mention his near-constant railing against them. It’s clearly a political fight for him and CNN.

In fact, Stelter ended his first segment with The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer by agreeing with that point. “We don’t have state-run TV until now,” she proclaimed. To which Stelter responded: “Yeah, we’ve never seen anything like it.

Stelter even appeared disgusted by the idea that he, as a journalist, should defend Fox News from the DNC. At one point stating: "There’s also an argument about media solidarity. And hosts on Fox have been making this argument, saying people like me should be defending them and standing up for them to host a DNC debate."

 

 

After bringing on his panel, he smeared and minimized FNC's news division. “It’s relatively small compared to the huge opinion division which has all the highest rated shows, Fox and Friends and Hannity, etcetera etcetera. Both exist, but it's getting really uncomfortable for both to exist in the same body.” Of course, Stelter and CNN still refuse to discuss how and which of their programs are also opinion based.

I mean, for goodness’ sakes, Ed Henry, who’s one of their top correspondents co-hosts their weekend conservative talk show. There's so much blurring of the lines every day,” he later decried. But meanwhile, CNN hired Obama administration official Jim Sciutto to be a reporter and fill-in host.

Out of Stelter’s three liberal panelists, only one, veteran journalist Jeff Greenfield, supported Fox News. But as might be expected, it was in an arguably backhanded way. “Let's assume that Fox is state-TV. If during the Cold War, Andrei Sakharov had somehow been given 90 minutes on Soviet TV, uncensored, unblockable, without reprisals to make his case, would he have taken it,” Greenfield rhetorically asked.

It was an argument that would become a theme for Greenfield as he debated young Democratic strategist Tara Dowdell, who was staunchly opposed to allowing Fox News to host a DNC debate. He even embarrassed her when he cornered her on what she would advise Sakharov (click “expand”):

 

GREENFIELD: Would you have had Andrei Sakharov go on Soviet TV in 1973?

DOWDELL: Would I?

GREENFIELD: Soviet TV was a total state operation of totalitarian.

DOWDELL: Still is. It still is. [Laugh]

GREENFIELD: Would you have had Sakharov, had somehow that opportunity emerged would you have had him go on Soviet TV for 90 minutes and tell the Soviet people this is a totalitarian, dictatorial regime? Should he have taken an opportunity?

DOWDELL: You know –um – I – Look, I'm not going to engage in something that was before I was born.

 

But Dowdell repeatedly went back to the Democratic, and CNN, talking point that the “revolving door” between Fox News and the Trump administration was somehow unprecedented.

As NewsBusters had documented previously, that talking point is a lie. During the Obama years, the Democratic president hired over 30 friendly journalists to fill out roles in his administration. He even hired roughly the same amount of CNN journalists as Trump had hired from Fox News. An ABC reporter was even married to one of Obama’s press secretaries.

But, as CNN boss Jeff Zucker demonstrated over the weekend in a talk at the liberal SXSW convention, it’s all part of a smear campaign against their superior rival. Of course, Stelter refuses to discuss his boss’s own political aspirations. This is CNN.

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

CNN’s Reliable Sources
March 10, 2019
11:06:33 a.m. Eastern

(…)

JANE MAYER: Well, I sort of started the story taking a look at Bill Shine and – and – and the question I had was does - does Fox program the White House or does Trump program Fox. Is it state-run TV or is it a TV-run state? I don't think we have a definitive answer on that even though I spent months on the story, interviewed over 75 people. You can certainly-- It goes both ways. It's – It’s – It’s a very unusual situation and particularly for our country.

BRIAN STELTER: We've never --

MAYER: We don't have state-run TV until now.

STELTER: We’ve never seen anything like it.

(…)

11:08:43 a.m. Eastern

STELTER: They've been emphasizing the news division. My view is, they have a news division. It’s relatively small compared to the huge opinion division which has all the highest rated shows. Fox and Friends and Hannity, etcetera etcetera. Both exist, but it's getting really uncomfortable for both to exist in the same body.

(…)

JEFF GREENFIELD: I think they're missing a golden opportunity. Let's assume that Fox is state-TV. If during the Cold War, Andrei Sakharov had somehow been given 90 minutes on Soviet TV, uncensored, unblockable, without reprisals to make his case would he have taken it?

This was a chase, first, for the Democrats to call out Fox on precisely what it does that violates journalistic standards without fear of being interrupted. Second, one of the things that's different from 2016, Democrats have learned who they're not reaching who they used to reach to. Not everyone at Fox is a cool-aid drinking Trumpist. There are a lot of marginal voters there. And if you want to win an election you should be able to make your argument beyond your base. I think the Democrats are already in a little bit of trouble because they're so anxious to appeal to their base. It has nothing to do with respecting Fox as a real news institution to say, “this is a forum that would have redounded to their political benefit.

(…)

STELTER: I mean, for goodness’ sakes, Ed Henry, who’s one of their top correspondents co-hosts their weekend conservative talk show. There's so much blurring of the lines every day.

GREENFIELD: This is exactly why you have a chance to break through this. If you can reach 3 million people at a time. Look, when John Kennedy went to the Houston Ministerial Association in 1960, all of whom were opposed to a Catholic in the White House, and then took that exchange, that very tough exchange, and used it in political advertising. It helped, I think, tremendously. I worked on a few campaigns myself before I became a virgin journalist. One of the things that was most effective, whether it’s on TV or face-to-face, is saying to people you and I may have a disagreement. Here's where I stand. I think it is, as I said, tactically -- it doesn't validate Fox it’s a chance to say you guys are--

[Crosstalk]

GREENFIELD: So then, what's the problem with doing a debate with three journalists which you use that forum to say here's why your network is poisoning the conversation?

(…)

STELTER: There’s also an argument about media solidarity. And hosts on Fox have been making this argument, saying people like me should be defending them and standing up for them to host a DNC debate. How do you all feel?

TARA DOWDELL: But what if we said that about doctors? What if we said a bad doctor who does something terrible, other doctors should stand up for that doctor? That's a ridiculous argument. (…) Here's what we know about Fox and this is what matters. It's a revolving door for talent from Fox coming into the Trump administration. We know that there’s Heather Nauert. There are many Fox contributors now working within the Trump administration. Roger Ailes was actually advising President Trump for a period of time following his departure from Fox News. Bill Shine, as has been widely reported, as we all know, who just stepped down, was working there. This is something completely different. And is something that’s dangerous. And I don’t think it make sense, in any way, to validate this as normal.

GREENFIELD: Would you have had Andrei Sakharov go on Soviet TV in 1973?

DOWDELL: Would I?

GREENFIELD: Soviet TV was a total state operation of totalitarian.

DOWDELL: Still is. It still is. [Laugh]

GREENFIELD: Would you have had Sakharov, had somehow that opportunity emerged would you have had him go on Soviet TV for 90 minutes and tell the Soviet people this is a totalitarian, dictatorial regime? Should he have taken an opportunity?

DOWDELL: You know –um – I – Look, I'm not going to engage in something that was before I was born. But what I will say is that at the end of the day we know -- I want to talk about what we know now right now in the present here and now. What we know here and now about Fox News is that it's basically completely aligned with the Trump administration.

(…)

STELTER: There should be solidarity in certain situations. If a Fox News reporter was blacklisted from the White House, the way that Jim Acosta was, we should all stand up for that Fox News reporter. But in this case, this is a Democratic National Committee issue. Fox's fight is with the DNC, not the media. And I thought it was interesting, Angelo, so many D.C. reporters were coming out supporting Fox, taking Jeff’s view, right, about out and going on Fox. There was a kind of -- I don't know what that was about.


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