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CNN commentator and Washington Post syndicated columnist Catherine Rampell claimed Sunday that Fox News had exaggerated stories about a “senile president” and Critical Race Theory (CRT) “brainwashing kids” — among other topics — or worse, had “invented” those stories “out of whole cloth.”
Rampell joined anchor Brian Stelter on his Sunday morning media show, “Reliable Sources,” and she claimed that stories like those were targeted to a specific audience and designed to spike the blood pressure over issues that weren’t “actually mortal threats.”
Stelter began the segment with a scrolling list of Fox News chyrons, saying that if one were simply to watch the coverage on that network, they might get the impression that America had “gone to hell,” and that the quality of life for most people was just short of unbearable.
“America as an ‘apocalyptic hellscape,’ that was one of the actual banners,” Stelter continued, arguing that Fox News seemed intent on painting President Joe Biden’s administration as “a clown car driving off a cliff.”
CNN’s Oliver Darcy described Fox News’ coverage as an “Instagram filter,” arguing that the story might be true to start out with but the presentation is what makes things appear distorted.
“Catherine, when we talk about polls showing most Americans think the country is on the wrong track, most Americans are filled with doom and gloom, we need to link it back to the media coverage,” Stelter continued.
“Obviously they’re getting that messaging from the media they consume. That set of headlines that you just scrolled through, I could feel my blood pressure rising just reading those. That’s the goal, right? The goal of this kind of coverage is to freak people out, to cause them to live in fear,” Rampell replied.
Rampell went on to suggest that coverage also focused on promoting the fear of issues that were less likely to be “mortal threats” while downplaying issues that she believed were more serious.
“Ironically a lot of the fearmongering is about the things that are not actually mortal threats and then there is ignoring the things that are mortal threats, you know, COVID isn’t real and climate change isn’t real,” Rampell added. “I would argue that, to me anyway, those things are a little scarier or have been scarier at various points in the past couple years. Instead it’s about the immigrant hoards and a senile president and Critical Race Theory brainwashing your kids, things that are if not just exaggerated, are invented out of whole cloth.”
.@crampell to @brianstelter: Fox News’ coverage of the border crisis “and the senile president and Critical Race Theory brainwashing your kids, and things that are, you know, if not just exaggerated, invented out of whole cloth.” pic.twitter.com/fWbGl51ZV3
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) January 23, 2022
Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin, who has done quite a bit of on-location reporting on the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, responded to the segment with just one word: WOW.