CNN’s Stelter Defends Media’s Russian Collusion Speculation, Decries Right-Wing Media Calling Them Out

During Sunday’s so-called Reliable Sources on CNN (before we learned there was no collusion), the liberal media’s janitor, Brian Stelter was rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as he played defense for the media’s two years of speculation in the face of no new indictments expected from the Special Counsel. Now, given the Special Counsel’s findings of no collusion, Stelter looked even more buffoonish.

At the start of his longwinded monologue, Stelter hyped how Robert Mueller’s name had become “mythical” and decried the right for making him seem like a “dirty cop.” “[The] President's friends have been pushing this view. Sean Hannity and others have been trashing the Mueller probe for months and months and months,” he whined.

So when people claim that Trump did not interfere in the Mueller probe remember what was happening on TV every single night, attack after attack after attack,” he added. But later that night, we found out that Trump didn’t obstruct justice. It was more baseless speculation that Stelter would soon defend as an acceptable form of journalism.

But before he got that far into the gutter, Stelter argued in favor of the Jeff Zucker-perfected cable news model of getting away from the news and spending more time on “talk,” a.k.a pushing opinion and agenda (click “expand”):

So, we are here on cable talking. Talking, guessing, standing by for information. I'm actually a defender of this cable talk show model. I’m an avid viewer of it. Because news headlines are ubiquitous these days. Our phones alert us to the news. So, cable is more like a rolling talk show letting people be a part of the daily debate about how our country should be governed and how our world should work. I think that’s a good thing. Some of the talk shows are really smart. But the bad thing is when folks mix up the talk with the news. And sometimes we do let it get too blurry. So, let me take this on.

Stelter then flashed his irritation with people on the right and right-wing media for celebrating and rubbing it in the face of him and his liberal media colleagues. “Partisans on the right are already claiming the end of the Mueller probe vindicates all of their prior positions. And they are saying the media, the evil media was wrong all along,” he huffed as he claimed Donald Trump Jr. made “rookie mistake” in chastising the media.

 

 

Speaking as if the viewing audience were unable to notice his spin job, Stelter lashed at those calling out the liberal media for their speculation and partisanship as being too dumb to know the difference between straight news reporters and “commentators” (click “expand”):

STELTER: But Jr. is making a rookie mistake. Mueller's assignment was to get to the truth about Russian interference. Now, did many commenters and Democratic politicians allege collusion? Yes. Did many journalists ask about it? Yes. But there is a giant difference between asking and telling. The job of the nation's news media is to ask, to question all sides to scrutinize, to scrutinize all sides, and report on opposing points of view, and to only take the side of truth and decency. Someone should tell Jesse Watters that.

JESSE WATTERS: I feel like this delivers a knockout blow to the press and Democrats who have been saying collusion, collusion, collusion for the last two years.

STELTER: Watters should take his blinders off.

Obviously, some opinion columnists and point-of-view news outlets have invested in an anti-Trump narrative. Others like Watters have promoted a pro-Trump narrative. That is our wild media world.

But the President's kids and friends on Fox should be able to tell the difference between agenda driven columnists and journalists just trying to report. There is a big difference. There is a big difference between news and opinion. And I realize it can be hard to tune out all of the noise and just tune into news these days.

This argument was disingenuous at best and gaslighting at worst. CNN had spent nearly two years suggesting President Trump’s campaign was working with the Russians and was a Russian asset in the White House. And not just their “commentators,” it was their paid analysts and their program hosts too. Heck, their “this is an apple” ad campaign suggested there as a “case” being built against Trump.

Stelter then suggested that if he “had to pick speculation and or solid reporting,” he “would pick solid reporting in a second.”

But to defend CNN for becoming the Cable Speculation Network, Stelter proclaimed that “speculation actually has value too.” His twisted argument? “It helps open our eyes, helps open our minds to what's possible.” No, it helps you do down deranged rabbit holes when there is a dearth of hard facts to back you up.

Speculation is the base on which conspiracy theories are constructed. There’s a reason that a vast majority of Democrats polled thought that Russia changed vote totals for Trump. It’s thanks to the liberal media that that kind of speculative environment has thrived.

Stelter then blamed Trump for the media’s suspicions about him:

He has proven time and time again that he cannot be trusted. He is so dishonest that even America's allies don't know what to believe. He is so unpredictable that his aides sometimes don't know what to say or how to respond. That's the crucial context for whatever comes next.

Maybe every time he said no collusion more than 231 times so far, maybe every time he said no collusion he was telling the truth. Maybe that's what Mueller found. If so it would be a relief for the country. But Trump's daily deceptions have given this country ample reason to be suspicious. That's why there is so much noise.

To make this liberal media clown show even more embarrassing, Stelter brought out Carl Bernstein, who often claimed Trump’s collusion was bigger than Watergate, to champion the media’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe and had a dubious Cohen story.

And I think the media, the press has done one of the great reporting jobs in the history, especially of covering a presidency by the most news organizations,” Bernstein declared. “Look, let’s look at where disinformation and mistakes and lie have come from. Hasn’t come from the press, it’s come from the President of the United States. And those around him.

What?! The media didn’t make any mistakes in their reporting about this?!

The Daily Caller’s Amber Athey put together a roundup of some of the worst collusion stories the liberal media botched over the last two years, and many of them came from CNN. They included accusations of Donald Trump Jr. colluding with WikiLeaks. And there was also CNN’s report that claimed former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was under investigation, which resulted in three CNN reporters getting fired.

So yeah, the liberal media can’t boast about their reporting over the last two years when it’s been this terrible. This is CNN.

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

CNN’s Reliable Sources
March 24, 2019
11:01: 09 a.m. Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: Mueller, just the name Mueller has come to mean so many different things in America. His name has almost achieved mythical status. Liberals have been hoping Mueller will take down the President. In another corner, conservatives have been claiming that Mueller is a dirty cop. The President's friends have been pushing this view. Sean Hannity and others have been trashing the Mueller probe for months and months and months.

(…)

So when people claim that Trump did not interfere in the Mueller probe remember what was happening on TV every single night, attack after attack after attack.

Now, at the same time, over at left-wing blogs, Mueller was casted as a saint and a savior. Look at SNL. Comedians last Christmas sang, “all I want for Christmas is you, Mueller.”

It is so easy to subscribe to either of those narratives: Mueller the hitman or Mueller the hero. So easy to subscribe with the click of a button or a click of a remote. It is so hard to tune all that out. Turn out the partisanship and just tune into the news. And right now there's not much actual news to report. We are standing by. Camera crews are outside the DOJ and White House and Mar a Lago waiting for information.

So, we are here on cable talking. Talking, guessing, standing by for information. I'm actually a defender of this cable talk show model. I’m an avid viewer of it. Because news headlines are ubiquitous these days. Our phones alert us to the news. So, cable is more like a rolling talk show letting people be a part of the daily debate about how our country should be governed and how our world should work. I think that’s a good thing.

Some of the talk shows are really smart. But the bad thing is when folks mix up the talk with the news. And sometimes we do let it get too blurry. So, let me take this on.

Partisans on the right are already claiming the end of the Mueller probe vindicates all of their prior positions. And they are saying the media, the evil media was wrong all along. Donald Trump Jr. is tweeting out messages like this: #CollusionTruthers he says, accusing the press of pushing a narrative against his dad.

But Jr. is making a rookie mistake. Mueller's assignment was to get to the truth about Russian interference. Now, did many commenters and Democratic politicians allege collusion? Yes. Did many journalists ask about it? Yes. But there is a giant difference between asking and telling. The job of the nation's news media is to ask, to question all sides to scrutinize, to scrutinize all sides, and report on opposing points of view, and to only take the side of truth and decency. Someone should tell Jesse Watters that.

JESSE WATTERS: I feel like this delivers a knockout blow to the press and Democrats who have been saying collusion, collusion, collusion for the last two years.

STELTER: Watters should take his blinders off.

Obviously, some opinion columnists and point-of-view news outlets have invested in an anti-Trump narrative. Others like Watters have promoted a pro-Trump narrative. That is our wild media world.

But the President's kids and friends on Fox should be able to tell the difference between agenda driven columnists and journalists just trying to report. There is a big difference. There is a big difference between news and opinion. And I realize it can be hard to tune out all of the noise and just tune into news these days.

But if I had to pick speculation and or solid reporting, I would pick solid reporting in a second. I bet you would too. Reporting is what adds the most value. Finding out something new, putting out new information into the world is the best feeling in journalism. It is the greatest value add. That’s what hundreds of journalists have been doing. Trying to solve pieces of this Trump-Russia puzzle.

But speculation actually has value too. It helps open our eyes, helps open our minds to what's possible. I know people like to mock cable news in moments like this. It's an easy punch line, right? We are kind of standing by to find out what the news is going to be, waiting for AG Barr to tell us something. But that does have value too. It gives you a place to go, a place to turn to. A recognition that you’re not the only one who wants to know.

Me, I rearranged my plans so I can be close to a TV all day today with the hope that we are going to get some news from Barr by the end of the day. This country needs to know what Mueller found and needs to know what he didn't find. I think all of us news citizens and news consumers need to make sure our tuners work so we can distinguish between what is true and what is news versus what is wishful thinking, speculation, opinion. We need to distinguish between what has happened, what has actually happened, and what might happen.

So don't be fooled by the partisans who cherry pick the worst mistakes of individual journalists or the craziest ideas from commentators and claim that's the entire media. It's not. We are waiting for the facts. Because here is what I know. You're going to hear this from the right for the next days and weeks to come, that the press has made all of this up to take down President Trump. But the press is just following a trail that Trump created.

He has proven time and time again that he cannot be trusted. He is so dishonest that even America's allies don't know what to believe. He is so unpredictable that his aides sometimes don't know what to say or how to respond. That's the crucial context for whatever comes next.

Maybe every time he said no collusion more than 231 times so far, maybe every time he said no collusion he was telling the truth. Maybe that's what Mueller found. If so it would be a relief for the country. But Trump's daily deceptions have given this country ample reason to be suspicious. That's why there is so much noise.

News coverage does not happen in a vacuum. Reporters don't ask questions for no good reason. Speculation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. So, let's hope real investigating and real research and real reporting can lead us out of this. The name Mueller has come to mean a lot of things. Hopefully it means truth. And hopefully soon! Let's get this report out!

(…)

Carl, I’ve got to admit, I'm getting a little bit impatient. The waiting game is frustrating for a lot of viewers at home as well. When you look at the media coverage of the past two years, as the media’s reputation been helped or hurt by the combination of news and speculation.

CARL BERNSTEIN: I think you have to look at the larger context of the cold civil war that is going on in this county, and the division in this country. And clearly, half of the country, 40 percent, 45 percent of the most intense Trump supporters would say that we have been terrible. And then I think the rest of probably the majority have done a really good job of it. And I think the media, the press has done one of the great reporting jobs in the history, especially of covering a presidency by the most news organizations.

Look, let’s look at where disinformation and mistakes and lie have come from. Hasn’t come from the press, it’s come from the President of the United States. And those around him.

(…)

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Events Mueller Report Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Double Standards Political Scandals Trump-Russia probe Cable Television CNN Reliable Sources NB Polls Robert Mueller Brian Stelter Donald Trump Donald Trump Jr.

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