And it insults both unethical journalists and dunces.
Stelter is special. Consider that this mega-hack and shameless partisan shill was the media reporter for the New York Times before taking on the job for CNN, and you know all you need to know about the trustworthiness of both Stelter and the Times.
We already know about the the trustworthiness of CNN.
A little background on Stelter’s latest equivalent of hiring a skywriter to put “I am a the King of the Hacks!” in blue and white over every major city:
One of the many, many things Democrats are terrified of as the 2020 election campaign approaches in earnest is that they have as a presumptive nominee for President a man who was once a gaffe-prone mediocrity but absolutely adequate to serve as a Vice-President for a healthy young POTUS, but who, in his late seventies, has shown unmistakable signs of cognitive decline. This, it should be said, was screamingly obvious the second Biden announced his candidacy: I was alarmed the first time I saw him speak. It was irresponsible and cynical for Democrats to encourage him to run; cruel for his family to let him run, and proof of desperation that primary voters supported him.
It is an open secret that Biden and his party have allowed the pandemic and lock-down to minimize his public exposure this long, but that lucky circumstance is running out quickly. Biden will have to be interviewed by some non-generous journalists eventually. He also will have to debate Donald Trump, but some progressives and Democrats, and their media allies, are trying to find a way to let Joe avoid the debates, which have been a feature of every Presidential campaign since 1976. That’s 44 years and eleven campaigns. The public expects debates. If Biden refuses to debate while the President repeatedly calls him out, it will be a disaster for him. Even knowing this, Democrats seem to think that Joe engaging in debates will be an even greater disaster given the rate of Biden’s deterioration.
Thus they have been floating the idea, through various mouthpeices, that we shouldn’t have debates this time. Karen Tumulty, a reliably left-leaning political columnist for the Washington Post, issued an op-ed in June titled “It’s time to rethink the presidential debates.” “They’re so predictable,” commented conservative uber-blogger Glenn Reynolds regarding the Democratic Part’s sudden aversion to debates. Convetional wisdom has always been that the challenger benefits by being seen next to the President. Why would that factor apply now? Oh. Right.
A few days later, the openly partisan and fanatically progressive—he’s a big fan of Communist China—New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman llaid out a debate-ducking strategy for Biden: conditions precedent. One has nothing to do with the debate; the other would disrupt any debate to the point of incoherence.
First, Biden should declare that he will take part in a debate only if Trump releases his tax returns for 2016 through 2018. Biden has already done so, and they are on his website. Trump must, too. No more gifting Trump something he can attack while hiding his own questionable finances.
And second, Biden should insist that a real-time fact-checking team approved by both candidates be hired by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates — and that 10 minutes before the scheduled conclusion of the debate this team report on any misleading statements, phony numbers or outright lies either candidate had uttered. That way no one in that massive television audience can go away easily misled.
Of course, it will be impossible for the two sides to agree on “fact checkers,” and as anyone can see from how this deceptive practice has evolved over the last five years, fact checking is inevitably subjective, not objective. Moreover, in a debate, it’s the job of an opposing candidate, not third party observers, to fact check material false statements by his adversary. We saw how well that worked in 2012 when Candy Crowley falsely fact checked Mitt Romney on the Obama administration’s deceitful characterization of the Benghazi attack as a reaction to a YouTube video.
Following up on this theme, former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart has been making the rounds—I saw briefly him on Fox, and quickly turned to “Everybody Loves Raymond”—urging Biden to not debate President Trump because of the Washington’s Post’s risible list of Trump “lies.” (For Lockhart, the most truth-shaving of Bill’s paid liars, to be the one to carry this message for Democrats is the stuff of satire.) Next, Democratic strategist Zac Petkanas argued, “This is not a normal presidential election, and Trump is not a legitimate candidate” and so he doesn’t deserve a debate. At The New York Times, ancient Democratic pundit Elizabeth Drew took the tack of pooh-poohing debates because they “aren’t substantive.” Oddly, she never made this objection when her party had a candidate that was compos mentis.
So how did Stelter characterize this drumbeat of Democrats and progressives attempting to insulate Joe Biden from the dangers of being exposed by a head-to-head confrontation with the President?
“It is mostly a right-wing media tempest, fueled by hour after hour of Fox commentary (not reporting), far removed from campaign reality,” Stelter said. Like so much of what Stelter feeds his gullible viewers, this was the Ethics Alarms rationalization #64, “It isn’t what it is.” CNN.com published CNN analyst Joe Lockhart’s disingenuous piece, and a subsequent Lockhart interview appeared over the weekend on CNN’s Michael Smerconish hosted show.
You know: it’s Fox News’ fault.
Stelter knows very well what’s going on here, and as a host of a show called “Reliable Sources,” he is ethically obligated to explain it to viewers. Democrats are floating the idea of Biden not debating to see if the public will accept that, and the party’s allies in the media are assisting. An ethical “media reporter” would say so, even if his own network was part of the push to save Joe from being humiliated.
Brian Stelter, however, doesn’t have the integrity to do that, and isn’t smart enough to know that by trying to blame Fox News, he further erodes his own credibility.