The folks over at the Media Research Center, which tracks left-wing media bias, had some fun with the latest episode of "Good Morning America," in which the GMA team did their best to do some "damage control" over the "softball" interview of actor/singer Jussie Smollett by anchor Robin Roberts over the alleged "hate crime" attack against him — an incident attack law enforcement sources say evidence increasingly suggests may have been orchestrated by the actor himself. GMA's spin comes as multiple high-profile media personalities, including CNN's Brian Stelter, are attempting to defend the media's handling of the case.
After refusing to qualify the January 29 "hate crime" attack against Smollett as "alleged" last week, Roberts was finally willing to apply the journalistically responsible descriptor Monday morning after "a new twist" in the case, as she put it euphemistically.
"A new twist in the Jussie Smollett case," Roberts said Monday, MRC reports. "The actor firing back this morning as the story of his alleged attack faces questions." Roberts then revealed the bombshell that dropped Saturday from multiple oultets, including CBS News: "Police in Chicago say they're working to corroborate allegations that Smollett paid two men to stage the assault," said the anchor.
"When I sat down with Jussie, it was Tuesday night in Chicago," she explained, her tone a bit defensive (video below). "At the time to give his first account, publicly give his first account, of what he said happened. And we have to remember, at that time, on Tuesday, police officers were saying that his account was consistent. It was credible. And that he was being cooperative. Now this was all before the interview aired on Thursday and then we found out about the brothers."
She went on to acknowledge that sometimes police say one thing publicly and another behind the scenes.
In her interview and follow-up reporting last week, Roberts repeatedly refused to qualify his claims, as MRC pointed out last week: "If the attackers are never found, how will you be able to heal?" she asked him. "It's been two weeks since that night left actor Jussie Smollett bruised but not broken," she said, again failing to qualify the language. "That's the first time he's given a detailed account, an account that Chicago police have saids that been consistent," she stressed after her interview. "He hasn't changed his story and they also said it's credible. The police have said that and also that he's been very cooperative."
As MRC points out, her fellow media personalities were ready to come to her defense Monday, ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams praising her for her what he portrayed as a fair and balanced interview. "[E]ven in the interview you did, you were talking about the skeptics. You were talking about the people who questioned his account," he said, failing to note the dismissive attitude about those "skeptics" promoted by the network and other mainstream outlets. "So, it's not new this idea that there are questions about what happened. What's new is that the police now seem to be making it clear that they believe the brothers and have, at the very least, serious questions about Jussie."
The panel went on to discuss the potential negative impact on real victims of hate crimes if this whole thing turns out to be a hoax, but notably failed to mention the smear of Trump supporters involved in the initial narrative promoted largely unquestioningly by the media.
Video below via MRC:
Another Smollett coverage damage control effort by a big name media personality has been pointed out by Grabien Media Editor Tom Elliott and Mediate writer Julia Rosas (h/t Twitchy): While CNN's Brian Stelter has admitted that "perhaps the questioning was not tough enough on Good Morning America," he insists that this is ultimately not about the media.
"Perhaps the questioning was not tough enough on Good Morning America, but ultimately this is not about the media or politicians or activists, or any of the other people that might have been fooled," Stelter said after the bombshell reports on the "new twist" in the case Saturday. "It's about Jussie."
"There was a rush to judgment, I think it was mostly in the celebrity press and among activists and among Twitter people," Stelter asserted. "I think it was a really careful reporting by news organizations. But it all gets lumped in together at the end of the day."