“The media has become the opposition to Trump,” said Ken Kurson, former editor of the New York Observer.
The Democrats have become like totally irrelevant,” added Kurson, describing left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media outlets as having usurped the Democrat Party’s role as opposition to the Trump administration.
Kurson made his comments during a Sunday-aired discussion panel on CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter.
"A lot of journalists are against lying, against deceit," alleged Stelter, framing CNN and similarly left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media outlets as politically balanced, non-partisan, and operating in good faith.
Watch Kurson's exchange with Stelter below.
Partial transcript below (emphases added).
STELTER: Ken, do you agree or disagree? The White House briefings, are they a waste of time?
KURSON: I think they are a waste of time because they're so canned.
I think that it's — the reporters come — I really believe that ...
STELTER: Do you think that is the fault of the Trump White House? If they're not answering questions, that's not the reporters' fault.
KURSON: Right. So, the idea here is that the media has become the opposition to Trump.
I mean, they're — just listening to intro to this show ...
STELTER: That's your idea.
KURSON: Just listening to the intro to this show, listening to Fareed's show before it, it's that — it's no longer that the Republicans' point of view holds forth and the Democrats hold them accountable, and the media covers it.
It's that the president and the White House put forth their point of view, the media argues with them, and the Democrats have become like totally irrelevant to the discussion. It's a stunning thing to watch unfold during this presidency. And I don't know if ...
STELTER: It's about the irrelevancy of the Democratic Party?
KURSON: Totally, the way that the press has assigned itself the chore of undoing the results of this election, which they simply don't accept.
STELTER: Who do you think has assigned themselves that?
There's not some secret cabal of people in the journalism world.
KURSON: Did you read "The New York Times" editorial page at all this week? Do you see even David Brooks, the faux conservative they've got in there, says, I brought somebody without a high school — with only a high school diploma to work, and, insensitively, she couldn't pronounce the sandwiches.
STELTER: It was a stupid column. What does that have to do with the president's lies and misstatements?
KURSON: OK. Gail Collins — Gail Collins says, let's rate how bad all of the president's children are.
One of the president's children is 11. These are the people we're rating for how bad they are? It is a ludicrous thing.
STELTER: These are people paid to have opinions, just like Eric Bolling or someone at FOX.
KURSON: You're talking about a newspaper that holds itself out as the most dignified place for American thought in journalism today.
And this is what they put forth. It's unprecedented. Whether you agree with it or disagree with the point of view, I'm saying that there's something in the air right now that makes these personal attacks, these relentless, ongoing attacks palatable to the American people.
And I think the shame of it is, we no longer have even a two-party system, which many think is too few. We have a one-party system, and the media is the other party.
STELTER: You're talking about editorial people, though, people that write opinion columnists for a living. "The New York Times"' reporting staff has been breaking stories left and right, holding Trump accountable. You think that's the opposition?
KURSON: I think that they've been breaking stories like crazy, "The Washington Post" as well.
KURSON: And "The Wall Street Journal" got into the mix in a big way a couple weeks ago with some important stories.
And I think that's a critical function of journalism. But I think that the way — you know, during these breaks, when I watch you go on Twitter ...
KURSON: ... the way journalists reward each other for stabbing and needling, there's a new system of reward that is out there for journalists that has very little to do with policy and very little to do with advancing this country.
STELTER: When the president says things that are untrue, should we sit here and ignore it?
KURSON: No. You should report it. You should hold him accountable.
STELTER: Then ...
STELTER: ... where do you go from that to the media is the opposition?
KURSON: Because when I look at the tone and the way these attacks are launched — and I cited a couple examples for you — and or the way that whenever there's need for the appearance of balance, NPR will hire some conservative who hates the president, or "The New York Times" will go get Bret Stephens, whose main contribution is that he hates the president.
Whenever there's a need for the appearance of fairness, there's no real effort to — you know, where are the pro-Trump journalists in the mainstream media? They don't exist, because the entire mainstream media is against Trump. And that is, I think, is not just bad for American policy. I think it's bad for journalism.
STELTER: I think a lot of journalists are against lying, against deceit. That's where we are right now.
KURSON: I'm against lying, against deceit. I think that the function of the journalists the hold the administration accountable is a critical function enshrined in the — in our Bill of Rights.
But when you have a system where the most outrageous attack is what is rewarded with likes on Facebook and followings on Twitter, you are setting yourself up.
STELTER: Those are opinion columns.
KURSON: No, it's not just opinion columns.
STELTER: They're opinion columns.
KURSON: It is reporters.
KURSON: And they audition for each other and they audition for popularity.
Rush Limbaugh recently described the Democrat Party as an extension of the left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media, as opposed to framing news media outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post as arms of the Democrat Party.
Despite his role as CNN’s premier news media reporter, Stelter regularly denies the existence of widespread left-wing and partisan Democrat biases across the news media landscape, including at CNN. He presents himself as a politically objective and non-partisan news media figure.
CNN describes itself as “The Most Trusted Name In News” in presenting itself as a politically objective and non-partisan news media outlet.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.