CNN’s Reliable Sources used to be a show about journalism, but Brian Stelter and his bosses have made it all about Donald Trump. The president was responsible for the coronavirus outbreak, and in the entire show, the words “Cuomo” and “Biden” never came up.
This was especially fascinating because Stelter offered the CNN audience three journalists from his last employer, The New York Times, including executive editor Dean Baquet. Stelter teased that interview with "President Trump's ignorance has been on sad display this weekend. "
The Times finally offered a story on Sunday on Tara Reade, who accused Joe Biden of sexual assault. But Stelter couldn’t breathe a word about it. (The silence continued in his Sunday night newsletter.) Instead, Stelter only wanted to underline the big Times expose insisting what a historic failure Trump was on the pandemic:
STELTER: I remember about a month ago, you said to The New York Times newsroom that this was the biggest story to be covering since 9/11. Does it still feel that way to you? Does this feel like a 9/11-level failure of the federal government?
BAQUET: You know, I don't know if it's a 9/11 failure. I think we have a lot more reporting to do. It's clearly a failure. 9/11 was also a dramatic failure. But it's a large story in a sense that there's no part of America, no part of the world that's not touched by it. The fact that it touches everybody's lives, the tragedies of people dying alone, hospitals struggling, the sheer enormity of the story, I think, it's larger than any story I've been involved in in my career.
STELTER: In your career, wow.
Stelter's colleagues at New York magazine noted Sunday morning:
-- 188,694 total cases in New York State
-- 9,385 deaths from the coronavirus in the state
-- 103,208 cases in New York City, including at least 6,717 deaths
But he can't even mention Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Stelter continued attacking Trump:
STELTER: And that makes the president's tweets toward you and The New York Times seem all the smaller. He's tweeting these small complaints, claiming that anonymous sources are made up. Can you just help us reality-check, fact-check that?
BAQUET: I think if anybody reads the stories he's referring to, they will see quotes from emails within the government, quotes from reports from within the government, on-the-record interviews from people within the government.
Yes, there are some anonymous sources, but largely, this is a very powerful portrait inside the government based on the writings and the words of people in the government. I would actually hope that people read the story and the headline.
I would hope that the president reads it, because I think his tweet maybe indicates that he had not read it. And I think he will see a very important historic portrait of a government that was slow to deal with crisis.
After all this unchallenged smug talk, it was not surprising Baquet ended the interview with the words "It was great to be here, my friend."