Fox-Deplatforming Advocate Brian Stelter Warns of Re-Elected Trump Harming MSNBC

November 30th, 2023 8:58 AM

So much of the journalism surrounding Donald Trump since 2015 has been speculation about the dystopian, often authoritarian future he will create. This has only gotten worse since he brought his most fervent supporters to Washington on January 6, 2021, and is now facing 91 felony indictments. If Trump is somehow reelected despite everything the Left has done, now they are really imagining a massive mountain of revenge. It’s like the opposite of Willy Wonka’s paradise of imagination:

We'll begin with a spin

Traveling in the world of my creation

What we'll see will defy


On Wednesday night's All In on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes brought in Brian Stelter to address the latest Trump outburst on his Truth Social account threatening Comcast and MSNBC for their left-wing propaganda: "our so-called government should come down on hard on them and make them pay for the illegal political activity. Much more to come, watch."

There's nothing there defining what is "illegal" in all of MSNBC's propagandizing. But it certainly allows MSNBC to feel good about their "defending democracy" credentials. Hayes warned Trump's "whining" could turn into "real punitive action."

Hayes and Stelter talked up how the Trump Justice Department sought to block AT&T's merger with Time Warner in 2017, which went through in 2018. The top antitrust official at the time said he never spoke to Trump or his aides about AT&T, but the liberals only believe the Justice staff is independent when Democrats are running it. 

You know liberal media outlets are involved when liberals love a merger of mega-corporations. Before long, AT&T dumped Warner's media assets like CNN to Discovery.

Hayes and Stelter wanted to laugh at Trump's social-media sabre-rattling, but they also want to compare this to right-wing governments in Europe:

STELTER: I've covered this Comcast for nearly 20 years. I know the executives in philly, they don't get rattled by a Truth Social post. [Laughs] They defended NBC for as long as I've owned it. We are seeing this with other media companies, and as you said, CNN -- Hungary, Turkey, when the state comes in and takes regulatory action, takes legal action, uses an IRS, a branch of the government to punish a media company, and sometimes you take that media company off the playing field. It is a very real thing. 

Hayes imagined that a re-elected Trump could harass a media company with IRS probes and other state actions and then suggest to the media company they should sell to a Trump ally like Rupert Murdoch. Stelter maintained his measured panic: "On one level, Trump's post is just the weather. Stormy today, sunny tomorrow. You will write about someone else tomorrow. On another level, a severe thunderstorm warning. It is a warning about what he will do if he regains power."

The perfect response to this segment are the segments on Stelter's own show shortly after January 6, where he put on guests who explicitly lobbied that "We have to turn down the capability of these conservative influencers to reach these huge audiences" on YouTube, and "we're gonna have to figure out the OANN and Newsmax problem, that these companies have freedom of speech, but I’m not sure we need Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and such to be bringing them into tens of millions of homes."

Stelter sat placidly through that tornado alert. This wasn't "threatening the free press" with an "authoritarian move."

Two weeks later, he said Fox News had to be curbed as a "harm reduction" model. How is it curbed without government action? He brought on New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who'd written a column advocating Fox News be removed from cable: "advertisers should stop supporting networks that spread lies and hatred, and cable companies should drop channels that persist in doing so. As a start, don’t force people to subsidize Fox News by including it in basic packages."


So all the dark talk about punishing MSNBC should be placed next to Stelter's (and CNN's) record of wanting to deplatform conservative channels.