Stelter: Liberal Bias on Coronavirus Is a 'Crazed Conspiracy Theory from Right-Wing Media'

March 2nd, 2020 7:51 AM

For days now, the CNN Media Unit has been flailing away at the bizarre notion that the liberal media is NOT trying to use the coronavirus problem to damage President Trump’s standing in an election year….even as CNN and other media outlets are trying to do exactly that. On Sunday, CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter opened with a lecture about how coronavirus is a “nonpartisan illness,” by golly.

The screen carried graphics like "RIGHT-WING MEDIA INFECTING TRUST IN MEDIA?"

Then he turned to a professor, Dannagal Young of the University of Delaware (who donated to Barack Obama for President), who said conservatives are obsessed with hygiene, which might explain their fear of sex and immigrants.

STELTER: Dannagal, I want to ask what you think is going on with the crazed conspiracy theories from right-wing media. What is this about?

DANNAGAL YOUNG: This poses a unique challenge to the conservative media landscape because their base, which constitutes social conservatives, tends to be more concerned about issues related to pathogens and hygiene and cleanliness. This is a hard pill to swallow, but there’s a lot of research from psychology that suggests that those kind of concerns may actually result in attitudes and behaviors that are socially or culturally conservative, like on matters of race, sexually, immigration, et cetera.

STELTER: Look, let me make sure I make sense.


STELTER: You're saying political science finds that conservatives have more of a disgust reaction when they hear about something like a virus?

YOUNG: Yes, correct, exactly right.

Where do they find these people? 

Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell echoed the theme, that the right-wingers can say Trump scandals are a "hoax," but "presumably if grandma gets sick and dies, people will start to used to be that the right-wing media would say facts don't care about your feelings. Well, pandemics don't care about your political grievances." 

Then Stelter returned to the "cheap" focus on media bias: 

STELTER: And, Daniel, this idea of, you know, making it about media bias, it's the easy thing for the president and his allies to do. It's this kind of the cheap, easy solution. Are you seeing that happen this week?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely. I mean, I think with any story that is bad for the president, I think the simplest thing for opinion media to do to attempt to protect him is to say, look over there. Don't look at the president. Look at what they are saying about the president.

They know that these types of sentiments feed into the preexisting grievances of the people who are watching opinion shows on networks like Fox. They know that these messages resonate because they've tested it with Russia with impeachment and so on. So, this is -- this is the go-to response, no matter what the facts on the ground.

STELTER: And, look, it brings me no joy to say that the president doesn't have credibility. He just doesn't, though. And that's the -- the heart of this entire story politically is that people don't know if they can trust what the president is saying.

This was another perfect liberal bubble for Stelter, whose argument couldn't last for a minute with anyone quoting the content of CNN back to him. Or quoting the contents of our fast-growing page on coronavirus bias.