CNN's Brian Stelter led his June 9 "Reliable Sources" newsletter with a truly weird angle: that is was bizarre for Fox News to be still fixated on rioting a week after it happened. This, from the liberal media that has adored replaying Trump statements on the coronavirus from February? This, from the liberal media that gave a Pulitzer Prize to the racialized fake history of the "1619 Project"?
Wouldn't it sound weird if we wrote it was a "lie" to focus on American slavery or Jim Crow or lynching when it ended a long time ago? Wouldn't it be condemned if anyone suggested it was a "lie" to still fixate on George Floyd's death? Stelter began:
The riot lie
Watch Fox News for a few hours, and you might think rioters are still prowling America's biggest cities, smashing windows and stealing handbags. You might think Minneapolis is still burning. You might think the unrest is getting worse.
In the "Fox & Friends" and "Hannity" alternative universe, the rioting is still a present-tense threat and could restart at any time. This is contradicted by every news report from every other outlet. The story now is about peaceful, powerful, sustained protest all across the country. But "riot porn" video is irresistible to Fox's producers and hosts, even though the video is out of date now.
How does Stelter know rioting won't "restart at any time"? Hasn't his network routinely touted a "second wave" of coronavirus? Stelter's CNN.com article taken from his newsletter copy is headlined "Conservative media is living in the past as unrest subsides across the US."
Stelter made a brief nod to rioting being a bad thing:
Look, I live in Manhattan and I hated what happened in this city on May 31 and June 1. The looting and mayhem was appalling. But it was more than a week ago. The graffiti has been scrubbed off the bodega on my block. The broken windows have been cleaned up. And today I noticed the city's garbage can -- taken away last week because vandals were lighting fires in them -- back on my building's corner today. I took it as a small but telling sign that things are getting back to normal. It is grossly misleading to show old video of looters on a loop while omitting what's going on today.
The violence wasn't just fires and graffiti -- he couldn't mention injured police officers?
Let's ask: how negative was Stelter about the rioting in real time? Look at video of his own show or his Don Lemon appearance -- he called the rioting "heinous" once, but he mostly promoted the "disturbances" as historic and widespread. He quoted CNN house historian Douglas Brinkley saying rioting hasn't been this widespread since the Martin Luther King assassination, in a way that sounded.....impressive, historic.
On his show, he touted a tweet from Jelani Cobb saying "You know we're in uncharted territory when something happens in Minneapolis and they're setting cars on fire in Salt Lake City." Does that sound like he "hated" what happened? Or does he sound quite detached from it? Maybe, in the end, it would cause "social change."
A look back at Stelter's Twitter account over the last week shows that he either promoted the rioting as entirely peaceful, or folding the rioting into a gain of momentum for the Left.
June 8: The "upwellings" give "the new movement a greater durability."
June 7: Forget the riots, just tout tabloids celebrating "PEACEFUL & POWERFUL" protests...
June 4: Not enough coverage of the "scope of the peaceful protests."
June 2: Stelter celebrates his New York Times pal Charlie Warzel writing up the "singular, collective trauma." Warzel touted a Twitter account offering video called "Unicorn Riot."
June 2 (earlier): Stelter condemned looters...but only if he could discount the effect of looting and lump the looters in with that "liar" Trump: