CNN’s Brian Stelter dedicated his Halloween monologue to predicting a dark, dystopian future in which insults from Fox News personalities and Republican politicians lead to “bombs in newsrooms” of honest news outlets, like CNN. The only thing that can prevent a full-blown civil war, Stelter said, is the power of genuine “news sources” like CNN.
His monologue contributed to the growing number of recent incidents in which the legacy media have treated conservatives, or all Trump voters, as potential domestic terrorists.
Stelter opened Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” by scoping out the allegedly violence-strewn path between now and the 2024 presidential election. “So much of what might happen in the next three years is sadly predictable,” he said.
He then broke up his monologue into three blocks, “Imagine It’s” 2022, 2023, and 2024.
Next year, “Right-wing media keeps pummeling President Biden, weakening him, calling him a tyrant one minute and senile the next,” Stelter said.
“Donald Trump is in complete control of the GOP,” and “the agenda is revenge,” he said. “Establishment GOP figures have to play along in order to keep their jobs,” wary of “enforcers” like Sean Hannity, Stelter’s onetime friend.
“In the Right’s media echo chamber, growing ever more extreme, the words ‘Democrats’ and ‘criminals’ are conflated constantly, so the other side loses legitimacy bit, by bit, by bit,” he continued. “Fear propelled by the likes of Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, who bring up things like caravans right at key moments during the election … in 2022 helps the GOP regain control of the House. Members of the January 6 sedition caucus are now in control of the body that completes the Electoral College process.”
“And most people, by the end of 2022, have a sinking feeling that more riots are ahead,” Stelter fretted.
He then took aim at the independence of social media. “New fan groups organize in private Facebook groups. They call themselves the Trumpets. They pledge to share only real news about the candidate to get around the CNNs of the world. Of course, their real news is largely misinformation,” Stelter said, reassuring his viewers.
“Columnists who point out that Trump is a wannabe autocrat are insulted by Fox stars, triggering hate campaigns against them,” Stelter said.
He did not specify why the American people should assume that former President Donald Trump is an aspiring dictator nor clarify how reporters should square that starting point with their obligation to provide unbiased news coverage.
“Reporters who try to counter Trump’s lies are jeered and smeared more than ever before. His verbal attacks against the media are so pervasive now that physical violence erupts more often: beatings at rallies, bombs in newsrooms,” he said. He bizarrely minimized the threat, saying, “The bombs don’t explode, but that isn’t the point. Fear is the point: silence through force.”
To cover the daily assault on democracy, maybe we should map out the road ahead. Imagine what could happen in 2022, 2023, 2024… pic.twitter.com/AQZoscZya2
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 31, 2021
Stelter then warned that, in 2023, a growing number of conservative websites will “spin the news in Trump’s favor. They start to publish explicit enemies lists, and in the comments sections of the websites, people dream up what they’ll do if Trump is denied power, which weapons they’ll use, who they’ll hurt.”
Stelter then ascribed a racial motivation to conservatives’ actions. “Every day some random, hyper-local story about a migrant from Haiti or a refugee from Afghanistan is blown out of proportion into some doomsday, international story about the death of white America’s way of life. That is all you hear about on right-wing radio,” he said, painting a fantasy world picture unrelated to the content of actual talk radio. “It’s as if America has been swallowed up by QAnon conspiracy theories.”
Finally, Stelter introduced his favorite bogeyman: Fox News. In 2024, “Fox responds by running even further to the Right, quadrupling down on red meat opinion over news. There will be no repeat of the Arizona race call. Telling the truth is too risky,” he said.
“Election boards are, to borrow a word, rigged,” Stelter said. That conflicts with his expressed view in 2016, when he said, “It’s dangerous for a talk show host to promote conspiracy theories about election-rigging.”
Back in Stelter’s Manichean fantasy world, “The country is on pins and needles. Landlords board up downtown windows. And the looting starts, shooting starts.”
“We know what Trump will do, so what will the rest of us do?” Stelter asked. “That’s the story for the American media for the next three years.”
The theme is a favorite of Stelter’s: Donald Trump is a totalitarian-in-waiting; he single-handedly controls every right-of-center politician and news outlet; and only courageous, embattled journalists like Brian Stelter can maintain democracy against rampaging Republican rioters.
While Stelter noted that some of these events, such as looting and boarded-up windows in advance of a presidential election, have occurred in the past, he did not mention that they were done to guard against the widely anticipated explosions of violence by Democrats in the event of President Trump’s reelection.
There was no national campaign of looting, or shooting, by Republicans following President Donald Trump’s ouster from office.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.