One would think a chief media correspondent would at least pretend to be an advocate for the principles of free speech and diversity in media. But this is certainly not the case with CNN's Brian Stelter.
Over the weekend, left-wing operation Media Matters put audio clips of Fox News host Tucker Carlson appearing with a shock jock known as "Bubba The Love Sponge" from a decade ago in an attempt to get get Carlson booted from the network. Stelter sided with Media Matters.
On Tuesday, the CNN correspondent defending the left-wing group's attack on Carlson. "Don't be so hateful. Is that so much to ask? I don’t know. Maybe it is," Stelter said of Carlson, suggesting the host is deserving of the concerted effort to shut him up.
"Media Matters isn't actually calling for his firing. They may want it to happen, eventually. But what they're doing is they're saying is we just want the advertisers to know about it and the advertisers get to decide whether to support the show or not," Stelter said on CNN's "New Day," attempting to appear objective. "That is an interesting strategy. We can love that, we can hate that. But that is an interesting strategy."
Stelter then gleefully added that Carlson has seen advertisers "gradually" pulling support from his show after the Fox host said "anti-immigrant stuff."
Stelter is thus well aware that Media Matters' goal is to get advertisers to pull out from Carlson's show — leaving Fox no choice but to fire him. Stelter admitted as much on Twitter.
"Media Matters admits that it wants the Tucker Carlson tapes to impact Fox's ad sales event this week and this spring's upfront ad sales: 'We certainly want to make sure' tapes 'are released when they can be most helpful to the media buying decision makers,'" he posted Monday.
Stelter's defense of Media Matters grew stronger as the segment continued.
"This doesn't just resonate with a Fox audience. The idea that people are being cowed by political correctness and by this attempt to fire people and take people's scalps when they say something mildly errant ... this is something that resonates with a lot of Americans," argued CNN contributor Mary Katharine Ham. "This is actually a large part of why Donald Trump was elected, even though I’m not a huge fan and often disagree with Tucker Carlson."
"Let's just raise the bar for everybody, though. Let's make the standards higher across the board," Stelter argued. "Don’t be so hateful. Is that so much to ask? I don't know. Maybe it is."
Last week, Carlson likened Stelter to a "eunuch." The comment was made in the context of CNN's routine bias toward Democrats and the Democratic National Committee's choice to bar Fox News from a 2020 presidential primary debate. The Wrap reported:
Tucker Carlson came out swinging at the top of his show Thursday evening with the Fox News host blasting Democrats for their decision to not offer his network a 2020 presidential primary debate. He also took aim at CNN’s Brian Stelter and Ana Navarro, and accused the mainstream media of allowing a political party to dictate news coverage.
"'They criticize Nancy Pelosi,' screams the eunuch. 'That’s not allowed. They must be excluded,'" Carlson said in a mocking tone moments after playing footage of Stelter justifying the DNC decision by citing Fox’s relentlessly critical coverage of Democrats. "Needless to say ubiquitous windbag Ana Navarro agrees with that," Carlson continued, before playing footage of her.
Stelter apparently saw the segment, offering a reaction on Twitter. "Misplaced priorities: Instead of leading his hour with, let's say, Paul Manafort's sentencing, Tucker led with... me," said the CNN media critic.
Perhaps Stelter's shameful and predictable Media Matters support is fueled by some personal feelings.
Partial transcript via Grabien.