At a network fighting to disprove perceptions about its bias, Brian Stelter has become CNN’s most glaring defect on credit worthiness among media consumers.
Granted, CNN doesn’t employ a single host who isn’t a flagrantly anti-Trump partisan. Literally every person they put in front of the camera to help audiences navigate any particular hour, hates Donald Trump (and his supporters) with every fiber of their being. I often note that many in the liberal mainstream media aren’t personally liberal activists. For most, they have to “go along to get along” and ever since their indoctrination in academia, that’s meant persistently leaning in to the idea that Democrats are cool and Republicans are jerks. But at CNN, the vitriol for President Trump and the MAGA movement is so pronounced that every one of their hosts — from morning anchors like Alysin Camerota and John Berman, to the afternoon crew like Brooke Baldwin and Jake Tapper, to nights with Erin Burnett and Don Lemon, and weekends with Fredricka Whitfield and Ana Cabrera — they all hate you. And they all manufacture fake news to support their ferocious anti-Trump narrative.
And they all do it while masquerading as impartial journalists who are “just reporting the facts.”
That’s what makes CNN so egregious.
As noted previously, both Fox News and MSNBC admit their partisan leanings. But CNN claims to be impartial. They do this despite starting and ending every story with about 2% fact, and 98% partisan characterization used to shape those facts to fit their narrative. This parody of their “First Facts” advertisement helps demonstrate the point…
For a long time CNN was no worse than any of the other mainstream media networks. They were biased to the left, but people of all political leanings could still at least tolerate tuning in. At some point in 2015 however, CNN set out to become the least-trusted and least-watched name in news. And they achieved that goal with flying colors long before the 2016 election even occurred.
Since the 2016 election, rather than try to regain credibility and live up to their claims of being a legitimate, neutral news organization — they instead made a collective decision to dig in to their anti-Trump bias even further. And it’s resulted in 18 straight months of hyperventilating “BREAKING NEWS” alerts that literally every time amount to laughably inconsequential, entirely sensationalized and predictably unmemorable nothingburgers. What the network does manage to push forward is a 24×7 stream of anti-Trump propaganda that, if not for the internet which enables media consumers to do their own research, could otherwise help shift the political tide just by the sheer volume of constant hatred they spew at and about President Trump. And for the literally tens of people who still watch the network, 99% of whom hate President Trump and tune in for confirmation bias, it’s a pretty effective model. But in terms of helping the media’s credibility or pushing back on President Trump’s claims that the media is dishonest, CNN and their blatantly biased line-up fail miserably.
Enter Brian Stelter.
Stelter is sort of a media ombudsman for CNN. His initial charter at the network was to host a weekend program called “Reliable Sources,” dedicated to auditing the media and helping elevate the importance and integrity of the free press. And for a while, at first, he’d provide some interesting reporting on the media’s inner workings.
But then Donald Trump came along, and Stelter made it his mission to be CNN’s most aggressive attack dog. And to be fair, that’s not entirely unreasonable: President Trump won in 2016 in part by attacking the media, so it stands to reason that CNN’s foremost media advocate would be its most aggrieved by Trump’s ascent.
The problem is that President Trump was right about the media and their pro-swamp dependency and bias, just as millions of Americans had already known for decades. So for Stelter to be CNN’s most vicious and partisan attack dog, all under the guise of defending a fair and impartial media, is just laughable.
At every turn, from his Twitter activity to his guest appearances to his own show, Brian Stelter defends the media’s role as non-partisan brokers by being the most pathetically partisan personality anywhere in the media landscape.
A few days ago I wrote about Stelter dunking on himself thanks to his obsession with President Trump’s spelling. But a more recent example of his bias can be found on his Twitter feed, where Stelter spent most of the day promoting defenses of the universally-panned comedy act at 2018’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The headline act was comedian Michelle Wolf, whose disgusting personal attacks completely discredited the narrative the media hoped the event would elevate.
As Kyle Cheney noted…
And Kyle is a Politico reporter, which is itself no bastion of neutrality or impartiality.
Then there was Meg Kinnard…
Meg is a reporter at The Associated Press, which is also largely an outhouse of liberal bias.
The verdict was swift and uniform: But for admitted anti-Trump partisans, Wolf’s comedy act was a blight on the media’s reputation at a time when that reputation needs all the help it can get.
Enter Brian Stelter (again).
I could go on. Stelter will say that he’s just reporting what others are saying, and that he’s not weighing in personally. But as noted, the general verdict is that Wolf’s disgraceful act was just that: Disgraceful. Meanwhile, Stelter’s entire accounting for the viciously mean-spirited and one-sided performance is eagerly in defense of it.
“Well that’s just one example from one day. That doesn’t prove that he’s the partisan hack you claim he is.”
I could have written this post literally any day in the last 18 months, and had fresh material from that very day with which to make my case: CNN is the least trusted and most partisan name in news, and Brian Stelter is the least trusted and most partisan of the network’s hosts. And if he were even moderately effective, then more people would care and be making the same point more often. But thankfully, he’s not. He’s a joke across the board who’s not even taken seriously by his fellow anti-Trump partisan peers. But they all know they’re all lying constantly, so they continue to prop each other up, hoping the American people won’t catch on to their act.
That tact didn’t work out so well for them in 2016, and there’s no reason to think it will start working out for them now. The truly unfortunate part is that the media does have a role to play that serves some purpose, and right now there’s virtually no one in the media who’s doing it. (Mark Knoller is the sole exception who, from what I’ve seen, truly reports “just the facts.”) But as long as networks like CNN claim to be impartial despite operating as the Democrat party’s most creative propaganda arm, and hosts like Brian Stelter claim to be the backbone of media integrity while more forcefully than anyone else discrediting the media’s brand, don’t expect the partisan divides in media — or the media’s reputation — to get any better.
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