During Tuesday’s New Day on CNN, Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter compiled a report trying to blame Fox News for Saturday's massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This came almost two days after he and his band of supporters made the exact same point on Reliable Sources 48 hours earlier.
Co-host John Berman led in by stating: “Social media posts by the man who police say carried out a massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue showed that he was railing against what he called immigrant invaders. Now that is language you have heard from the President and somewhere else a lot. A whole lot.”
Stelter first remarked that:
The Pittsburgh shooting suspect’s hatred of Jews merged with his hatred of immigrants to deadly results. He called migrants ‘invaders,’ using the same dehumanizing language that’s been saturating right wing radio and TV.” Stelter admitted that “we may never know where the suspect heard these ideas, or why he believed them, but we do know that the hate crime coincided with a rise in hateful language from the Info Wars fringe to Fox’s primetime lineup.
Stelter pointed out how Fox News hosts and guests have claimed that left-wing groups were funding the migrant caravan making its way to the United States from Honduras. Responding to the warnings of an “invasion,” Stelter assured Fox News hosts and viewers they had nothing to worry about since the caravan is “1,000 miles away” and downplayed the idea that the migrants presented a national security threat, claiming that they are merely “fleeing danger.”
After Stelter talked about how “Soros is a favorite boogeyman of the right,” Stelter mentioned that Soros is both “a billionaire donor and....Jewish,” apparently trying to make the point that critics of Soros, one of the far-left’s biggest bankrollers, dislike him because of his religion.
Once the voice-over report ended, Stelter appeared live in studio where Berman, Stelter, and fellow co-host Alisyn Camerota engaged in a brief discussion about whether or not the President’s words “mattered.” Stelter expressed his wish that “some of those Fox hosts…take a minute to think about their role in this environment.” This is the same person who amplified an argument last week by David Gregory that the media aren't responsible for setting at one in this country. So it appears as though Stelter is only interested in that mantra when it applies to media outlets he likes.
While Stelter complained about “the ridiculousness of this rhetoric” from Fox News, it seems unlikely that CNN will dial back on the “ridiculousness” of their own rhetoric, instead continuing to divide the American people and demonize millions of Trump supporters
A transcript of the relevant portion of CNN’s New Day is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN's New Day
JOHN BERMAN: Social media posts by the man who police say carried out a massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue showed that he was railing against what he called immigrant invaders. Now, that is language you have heard from the President and also somewhere else a lot. A whole lot. Let’s get more from Brian Stelter.
BRIAN STELTER: The Pittsburgh shooting suspect’s hatred of Jews merged with his hatred of immigrants to deadly results. He called migrants “invaders,” using the same dehumanizing language that’s been saturating right wing radio and TV.
LAURA INGRAHAM: This invading hoard.
NEWT GINGRICH: This is an invasion.
KATRINA PIERSON: This is an invasion.
STELTER: We may never know where the suspect heard these ideas, or why he believed them, but we do know that the hate crime coincided with a rise in hateful language from the Info Wars fringe to Fox’s primetime lineup.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have this invasion coming over every day.
STELTER: Almost as soon as the migrant caravan formed in Central America…
TUCKER CARLSON: It’s a kind of invasion.
STELTER: …Fox News talking heads and President Trump made it out to be a major threat.
JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO: You do not have the right to come here. We did not invite you here. You cannot stay here.
STELTER: Republican leaders echoed this line.
REP. STEVE SCALISE: We have to treat this as an invasion.
STELTER: And look at the online reactions.
NEWT GINGRICH: This is an invasion. This is an act of attacking the United States sovereignty.
STELTER: Scroll down on any of these videos on YouTube and the fire was raging, with commenters screaming about an invading army, even though the migrants were 1,000 miles away and fleeing danger. One voice on Fox tried to point that out.
SHEPARD SMITH: The President has called it an assault on the U.S. border. It is absolutely not.
STELTER: But his audience rejected that. Shep Smith reading a tweet from a viewer.
SMITH: Sorry, Shep, we are not falling for your fake story. This is an invasion.
STELTER: Was the gunman watching? We may never know. But the right wing climate was full of outrage. Six days before the shooting, the suspect wrote, “I have noticed a change in people saying ‘illegals’ that now say ‘invaders.’ I like this.” In the past two weeks, the word “invasion” was spouted on Fox more than 60 times and on Fox Business 75.
DAVID BOSSIE: The American people are seeing these visuals on television every day and they think of it as an invasion.
STELTER: Combine that with the claims that Democrats were funding the caravan.
PIERSON: Another leftist funded operation.
STELTER: Laura Ingraham saying leftists were aiding and abetting. Congressman Matt Gaetz sharing a video saying people were being paid to storm the U.S. border. Soros is a favorite boogeyman of the right. He’s a billionaire donor and he’s Jewish. Dark corners of social media filled up with conspiracy theories and it spilled on to TV.
CHRIS FARRELL: From the Soros-occupied State Department.
STELTER: This Lou Dobbs guest blaming the caravan on Soros, calling to mind an anti-Semitic trope about Jews secretly running the government. The suspect’s final post on Gab blamed a Jewish refugee group for bringing in invaders. Now, The Washington Post arguing that the conspiracy theory about Soros and the caravan inspired the horror in Pittsburgh. And Adam Serwer writing in The Atlantic saying “Trump’s Caravan Hysteria Led to This.” The President’s reaction, he tweeted on Monday, “This is an invasion of our Country.”
CAMEROTA: Brian, what I’m so struck by is, do the President of the United States’ words matter or not? Let’s just decide. So, generally, up until 2016, we felt as a country that the President of the United States’ words mattered. But now the White House…and this is the part that baffles me, from Sarah Sanders yesterday, to the President himself, they’re saying that they don’t think that his words have any impact. He can say whatever he wants and people are not listening. I don’t understand the logic.
STELTER: But I think that dodge, which is illogical, is specifically because Trump and his aides know he’s vulnerable. They recognize that he’s lit a fire and added more and more fuel every day and is not able to control it. By the way, he doesn’t want to control it. He doesn’t seem interested in controlling it. But even if he wanted to, I’m not sure he could. He has unleashed forces in this country. And so what do they do? They have to attack the press. They have to change the subject because they’re vulnerable on this problem.
BERMAN: They may be vulnerable, but the President is leaning in.
BERMAN: I think it’s fascinating how much he has chosen to lean in on these very subjects and it’s…he’s telegraphing he’s going to do it even more over the next few days. He’s using the language of invaders since the murders in Pittsburgh. He’s attacked the press since bombs were sent around. He’s all in.
STELTER: Yeah, trying to limit his losses in the midterms by saying two things; number one, hate the media, number two, fear the caravan. Very clear messages. I think most Americans see through them, but not all Americans. So we can talk about fear mongering. We’ve talked about the ridiculousness of this rhetoric. But it is effective among some people. I sure hope some of those Fox hosts, some of those commentators, take a moment, take a minute to think about their role in this environment. Hopefully there’s some soul searching right now in the wake of this massacre.
CAMEROTA: Brian, do you have a fever right now? I mean, what are you thinking? What are you thinking? They like ratings. They like winning the ratings war. That’s what this is about.
BERMAN: Jeanine Pirro may want to lay off the coffee before going on air.
CAMEROTA: Well, also, I…maybe she perhaps…she doesn’t know that you actually are allowed to seek asylum in this country.
BERMAN: Or move the microphone down further. It doesn’t…
STELTER: I just want to ask her, what is she so afraid of?
BERMAN: Thanks, Brian, appreciate it.