CNN’s Brian Stelter described President Donald Trump’s description of the “fake news media” - including The New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN - as “poison” during his introductory monologue on Sunday’s Reliable Sources.
In his now weekly sermon in defense of the American media landscape, Stelter described Trump as a “demagogue” unjustifiably undermining news media outlets such as his employer.
Partial transcript below:
"The American press is stronger than any demagogue but President Trump's attacks do present real challenges. That's what today's program is about. For as long as I've been alive and for as long as you've been alive, no leader of the free world has publicly spoken this way about the press.
Poison. That's what it is. It's a verbal form of poison meant to affect your view of the media world. Meant to harm news organizations. Notice what Trump was doing with this tweet, this now famous tweet from Friday - you saw it - it says, ‘The fake news media, failing New York Times, NBC, CBS, CNN is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people.’ He was singling out specific news outlets as enemies, including this one. He wasn't talking about the entire press, he was talking about those five. And he wasn't saying they are his enemy, but your enemy. Maybe trying to drive another wedge between the sources he likes and the sources he dislikes. Maybe he was also trying to just distract us, right?"
Stelter then drew a parallel between Trump and Richard Nixon, playing audio of the 37th president describing the press as “the enemy.”
Carl Bernstein was then invited to describe Trump's criticisms of news media outlets as "demagogic" and reminiscent of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
On Friday, Trump took to Twitter to describe certain news media outlets as "the enemy of the American People."
Two weeks ago, Michael Wolff of The Hollywood Reporter advised Stelter against continuing with his weekly "religious" sermon in defense of "the virtues of the media," describing him as edging towards becoming a "ridiculous figure" with its perpetuation:
"I think you can border on being, sort of, quite a ridiculous figure. It's not a good look to repeatedly and self-righteously defend your own self-interest. The media should not be the story. Every week, in this religious sense, you make it the story... I just wish you wouldn't turn to the camera and lecture America about the virtues of the media."
Despite hosting a weekly show ostensibly dedicated to critically examining the American media landscape, Stelter regularly ignores the industry's widespread left-wing and partisan Democrat biases.
Stelter presents himself as an objective and non-partisan news media analyst.
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