CNN’s Brian Stelter flailed and floundered Thursday when trying to defend his network after it was accused of spreading disinformation.
Stelter, CNN’s chief media correspondent and the host of “Reliable Sources,” attended a conference Thursday at the University of Chicago on “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy”
Christopher Phillips, a freshman at the university, had a question that Stelter never really did answer.
“You’ve all spoken extensively about Fox News being a purveyor of disinformation. But CNN is right up there with them,” he said.
“They pushed the Russian collusion hoax, they pushed the Jussie Smollett hoax, they smeared Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh as a rapist, and they also smeared [Kentucky high school student] Nick Sandmann as a white supremacist. And yes, they dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop affair as pure Russian disinformation,” he continued.
Phillips then hit Stelter with his questions.
“With mainstream corporate journalists becoming little more than apologists and cheerleaders for the regime,” he said, “is it time to finally declare that the canon of journalistic ethics is dead or no longer operative?
“All the mistakes of the mainstream media, and CNN in particular, seem to magically all go in one direction. Are we expected to believe that this is all just some sort of random coincidence, or is there something else behind it?”
Stelter bought time to frame an answer with the comment, “Too bad it’s time for lunch.”
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“There’s a clock that says 30 seconds, but I think my honest answer to you, and I will come over and talk in more detail after this, is that I think you’re describing a different channel than the one that I watch,” the CNN host said.
“But I understand that that is a popular right-wing narrative about CNN,” he said. “I think it’s important, when talking about shared reality and democracy, all these networks, all these news outlets, have to defend democracy. And when they screw up, admit it.”
After claiming that CNN pitched in to help after Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall was wounded in Ukraine, Stelter returned to the general subject area of the question.
I still can’t believe Brian Stelter’s answer to questions about how CNN covered the Steele dossier, Jussie Smollet, regular Reliable Sources guest Michael Avenatti’s gang rape accusations against Kavanaugh and Nicholas Sandmann was “What about the dead Fox News camera man?”
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) April 8, 2022
“And with regards to the regime, I think you mean President [Joe] Biden. The last time I spoke with a Biden aide, we yelled at each other,” he said.
“So that’s the reality of the news business that people don’t see, that people don’t hear,” Stelter said.
“They imagine that it’s a situation that simply is not. But I think your question, it speaks to the failure of journalism to show our work and show the reality of how our profession operates. We have a lot of work to do, I think,” he said.
So how did that answer play? A follow-up tweet from Phillips said it all.
thank you @brianstelter for taking my question and having a conversation with me afterwards, but i am STILL wondering: if CNN is truly unbiased, WHY is every mistake they make an overstep in favor of democrats and against republicans?? https://t.co/ofx0ghtrfD
— chris phillips 🚨🇺🇸 (@chrispthetruth) April 7, 2022
He thanked Stelter for taking his question but added, “I am STILL wondering: if CNN is truly unbiased, WHY is every mistake they make an overstep in favor of Democrats and against Republicans??”