Following a week where the liberal media suffered an arguably crippling blow to their credibility by the Special Counsel investigation finding no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, CNN offered little reflection on their role in pushing and generating fake news and conspiracy theories. And during their program dedicated to the worshiping the media, so-called Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter once again obsessed about what Fox News was doing and how the network was called out his colleagues.
Shortly after Stelter brought on CNN global affairs analyst and New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser complain even more about Fox News’s reporting on the media’s collusion conspiracy snafu. Or as they called it: the “anti-journalism” message.
Of course, Stelter had to bring up Trump’s personal relationships with Fox News prime time hosts, acting as though it was completely unprecedented. “But the existence of Fox as a repeater of his narrative, over and over again, I think those clip I was playing in the intro underscore how powerful it is for him, that he has the megaphone,” he decried.
There was no mention of how the Obama administration worked with and hired from friendly media outlets, or the CNN folks caught parting it up with accused shakedown artist Michael Avenatti, or the recent case of an NBC editor intimidating a reporter on behalf of the Democratic National Committee.
“He fills in as a Fox News PR person. He really does,” Stelter added. But that was false. There was no evidence the President had ever or “really does” fill-in for any PR person that works for Fox News. So much for “facts first”.
Stelter’s real concern about Fox News? How their reporting about the liberal media’s massive two-year screw-up was hurting the media’s credibility. “Do you think with these anti-media, anti-journalism messages coming out of Fox's prime time line up every day to 3 to 5 million people, is it doing damage to the press's credibility,” he asked Glasser.
“No question,” Glasser blurted out before admitting that slide predated the President. “Conflating investigative journalists with idiot resistance tweeters is a time-honored tactic of the President’s media allies. It’s cynical. It's ridiculous but effective for them,” Stelter proclaimed, offering no clarification on who those idiots were.
It’s no surprise these liberal media talking heads refused to take responsibility for their politically motivated and overzealous reporting. Just looking back at the last week, we can see why the media’s credibility was in the toilet. Throughout the week, CNN’s own prime time hosts continuously pushed the debunked conspiracy that the President was a Russian agent.
Those conspiracy theories also flourished on the broadcast networks were ABC seemed to suggest Attorney General William Barr was lying in his summary letter of the investigation’s findings. And shortly before Stelter’s show, NBC’s Meet the Press moderator, Chuck Todd claimed Trump was only “technically exonerated of a crime.”
So, clearly, Fox News was to blame.
Shortly after pivoting to whining about Fox News, to begin with, Stelter made hay out of an innocent chyron error where Fox News that morning had an on-screen headline read: “Trump cuts U.S. aid to three Mexican countries”, instead of Central American countries.
“The network apologized several hours later, said the banner never should have appeared. Obviously, that's the case. But I don't know what is going on over there,” Stelter literally huffed (pictured above).
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CNN’s Reliable Sources
March 31, 2019
11:19:46 a.m. Eastern
BRIAN STELTER: And if the President was watching Fox & Friends this morning he saw this banner. It says, “Trump cuts U.S. Aid to three Mexican countries”. The reference, of course, to Central American countries. [Exaggerated exhale] The network apologized several hours later, said the banner never should have appeared. Obviously, that's the case. But I don't know what is going on over there.
11:23:18 a.m. Eastern
STELTER: But the existence of Fox as a repeater of his narrative, over and over again, I think those clip I was playing in the intro underscore how powerful it is for him, that he has the megaphone.
SUSAN GLASSER: Well, that's right. You know, my colleague, Jane Mayer, has obviously done incredible reporting helping to understand this feedback-loop between Trump and Fox in an almost seamless way it operates. If you listen to the President's Grand Rapids rally the other night, to me, it's always amazing when he starts to call out -- he attacks the fake news media, as you know, quote, unquote repeatedly, he did so in a direct way the other day. Blamed them for the greatest political hoax in American history. But at the same time, he also calls out the Fox hosts as if he was actually a part of the Fox line up. And I'm always amused by that. He's on a first-name basis with them. And he goes down and he says, “well, of course there’s Sean and Tucker” and he goes on and on about the Fox line up in a way as if he was a paid promoter of the network in his public appearances.
STELTER: He fills in as a Fox News PR person. He really does. He credited the network's ratings which have been quite high since the Barr letter came out. We can put the Washington Post headline on screen about TV ratings being one barometer for Trump's success. Do you think with these anti-media, anti-journalism messages coming out of Fox's prime time line up every day to 3 to 5 million people, is it doing damage to the press's credibility?
GLASSER: No question. If you just -- it's very graphic. If you look at the numbers over the press's institutional credibility it has gone down dramatically. By the way, this is a trend that predates Donald Trump. As with many of the ongoing political disruptions in our national life, Trump is an amplifier and accelerator of those trends rather than an originator of them. I think that's true for the attacks on the media as well.
And, by the way, Trump just likes to find things that work for him. He said something revealing the other day along those lines. He said, you know, they like it when you attack the press. And so, you know, is he doing it because it works for him politically? Or because it's something he believes. Who knows? But, you know, we do know that Donald Trump is somebody who likes and needs an enemy and from the beginning of his administration, that's been a tactic.
So, there was nobody, right, who was surprised that his response to the Mueller findings as reported by Barr this week that he was going to attack the media. There was nobody. What unfortunately means, they're conflating, you know, lots of terrific reporting out there by The Washington Post, The New York Times, and other news outlets with every statement and characterization and speculation surrounding the investigation, as well. And that is very bad news, I think, for the media.
STELTER: Right. Conflating investigative journalists with idiot resistance tweeters is a time-honored tactic of the President’s media allies. It’s cynical. It's ridiculous but effective for them.