Unethical Quote Of The Month: CNN’s Brian Stelter

“You understand that, like, some day you’re going to regret this, right? Some day you’re going to regret this, when your kids and your grandkids look back at this time, and you use slurs and smear us as fake news to hurt news outlets. I think in 10 or 20 years if we sit down and talk about this, you’ll recognize how damaging it was to use terms like fake news, to attack journalists who are trying to do their jobs.”

—-Brian Stelter, CNN’s alleged media expert, excoriating Trump campiagn legal advisor Jenna Ellis.  on his Sunday show “Reliable Sources.”

And with that, Stelter completed an unholy CNN trinity  with Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo who have had on-air emotional outbursts and tantrums because, to put it simply, none of them are very smart or professional. The antics of all three would embarrass any legitimate, trustworthy news organization, which CNN obviously is no longer, and the fact that it continues to employ Stelter, a virulent partisan who covers for CNN’s constant journalism sins, is a smoking gun, one of many.

Stelter replaced media ethics watchdog Howard Kurtz, now the host of Fox News’s “Media Buzz” program. I was very critical of Kurtz, who lost his job as the journalism critic at the Washington Post and CNN after some dubious episodes involving conflicts of interest, but he was and is carefully non-partisan Compared to Stelter he’s Diogenes.

Stelter’s rant against Ellis wasn’t journalism and it wasn’t punditry. It was just visceral personal abuse, and it translates into, “You’ll be sorry you criticized us, because we’re right and you’re wrong, and we’re on the right side of history!”

Ellis’s response was mostly apt:

[Y]ou’re not trying to do your job. You’re not a journalist. You’re an activist. That’s the problem. You have an agenda, anti-Trump. The American people see through this. This president is finally hold the fake news media accountable because you’re activists. You’re not reporting facts and truth.

This is largely accurate, except that at CNN (and MSNBC, and to a lesser extent ABC, CBS, NBC and NPR), distorting the news to bring down the Trump Presidency is what the journalists believe is their job.

It is also problematical that the particular topic Ellis was on CNN to discuss was the Trump campaign’s demand that CNN retract its recent poll showing Joe Biden in a commanding lead. Yes, polls are easily and often manipulated, yes they are literally worthless at this stage in a Presidential race, yes they are misleading and yes the news media uses them to try to influence public opinion. Nevertheless,

  • Complaining about them triggers the Streisand Effect, so it’s stupid strategy.
  • A President demanding that a news organization change its story appears weak and like he’s trying to bully the press, and
  • With so many stronger, more egregious examples of biased journalism to criticize, complaining about a single poll is self-defeating.

Also less than impressive was Ellis’s defense of one of Trump’s worst tweets (that means one of the top 500 bad ones):


  • The President of the United States must not use his office and position to attack American companies and individual citizens.
  • Trump’s juvenile use of deliberate name-distorting insults like “Concast” and “MSDNC” is so far below the dignity of the Presidency that Superman couldn’t see it. It’s also insulting to any readers with an IQ above 80. These gags aren’t funny, they aren’t clever, and they aren’t original. I know that conservative radio pundit Mark Levin, who  is undeniably intelligent, is addicted to using monikers like “The New York Slimes,” and that’s one reason why I won’t listen to him. I also spam commenters on Ethics Alarms who apply with posts about “repugs” or”libtards.”

Ellis’s defense was that that Trump had the right to state his opinion, adding, “He is also a citizen. He’s the first one to actually use — to use his platform as an American citizen to be able to call out the fake news media.”

For the one millionth time, exercising a right isn’t necessarily “right,” or ethical. The President is a citizen but he’s not like other citizens: he speaks for the nation and his office, and for that reason is obligated to use restraint, prudence, and good judgment. That’s what a competent, professional, trustworthy journalist should have said, calmly and unemotionally, to Ellis. But Stelter is an irredeemable hack, so he replied instead with ‘Mark my words, you’ll regret this!”


Pointer: Daily Caller


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.