CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter tore into critics of the liberal media in his email newsletter that came just after midnight on Wednesday. In response to a terrible week for CNN’s public relations, he claimed CNN’s critics were “anti-journalism.”
This makes about as much sense as saying that when CNN is critical of Trump, they are opposed to the presidency. When Stelter rips into Fox News on a regular basis, and his Media Unit tries to rip advertisers away from their shows, he doesn’t think that is “anti-journalism.” But that’s where Stelter was going in his midnight rant [emphasis his]:
Here's what I see: a divide between "pro-journalism" and "anti-journalism." People on the left, right and in-between who are pro-J recognize that most journalists try to be fair and right. Accuracy and credibility are our currencies. Checks and balances and layers of editing are guardrails. When screw-ups happen, corrections are made and lessons are learned. Newsrooms are imperfect but hopefully improving all the time. Media critics and persnickety readers and sharp-elbowed competitors all play an accountability role.
The consensus pro-J view, as far as I can tell, is that CNN made mistakes with this Russia-related story last week; that the company took serious action as a result; and that it hopefully will learn from this affair.
But there's an alternative view, popular on partisan web sites and social media, that is straight-up "anti-journalism." These activists and commenters don't promote accountability, they promote resentment and hatred. They claim that most, if not all, journalists have sinister agendas... that newsrooms are occupied by "enemies of the people..." and that the evil "MSM" is propaganda. These anti-J people claim that reporters routinely cover up good news and invent bad news. I've noticed a disturbing increase in terrorist lingo, like "CNN is ISIS," a phrase promoted by Alex Jones. This Tuesday night Breitbart story also invokes CNN and ISIS in the same sentence.
Some of this "anti-journalism" spin isn't about eradicating bias or improving news coverage, it's about trying to stamp out reporting altogether. It's nutty, but it's insidious, and that's why I'm bringing it up. Millions of Americans are exposed to these extreme views every single day through social media...
Comparing CNN to ISIS is just trolling. But Stelter and his crew are incredibly tolerant of leftists comparing President Trump to Stalin, Hitler, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Un, and terrorists. That’s another day at the office for the liberal media. The mellow liberals compare Trump to Richard Nixon.
Breitbart's James Delingpole offered a point Stelter won't consider, their laughable pretense that the liberal, partisan media isn't liberal or partisan. Delingpole recalled being on a panel discussion: "What amazed me that, while I was perfectly frank with the audience that Breitbart was a conservative media organization which catered for a largely conservative readership, both the guy from CNN and the guy from [the] New York Times were adamant that they were objective seekers-after-truth." The truth about their bias they just never admit.
Stelter insists that unless you honor and respect the intentions of liberal journalists – never questioning that their motives might be partisan – then you are “anti-journalism.” If you actually document that the media elites “cover up good news and invent bad news,” then you’re “anti-journalism.” If you document that journalists and Democratic operatives are operating hand in glove – like, for example, CNN analysts offering questions to Hillary Clinton in advance, or journalists sending e-mails offering Clinton officials the chance to edit their stories before publication – that’s somehow “anti-journalism.”
What we’re doing at NewsBusters isn’t “anti-journalism.” It’s journalism on journalism.