One of the silliest things that liberal journalists can pretend to oppose is media outlets that tilt toward aiding an ideology and aiding their favorite candidates. But CNN’s Reliable Sources is a silly show.
On Sunday, Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, one of Stelter’s Trump-trashing regulars, insisted the “mainstream press” is at a “disadvantage” because they operate fairly and politely, while “right-wing outlets” like Fox News, Breitbart, and the Daily Caller were “founded as political tools” and shameless lie and slander people.
The topic was replacing fiercely leftist Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stelter was whipping on Fox News host Jesse Watters, who insisted on his Saturday night show that Mitch McConnell “pull the trigger” on confirmation and not behave politely while leftists riot in the streets. He spoke metaphorically, as he mentioned the ruthless, unsubstantiated allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, that they are “bloodthirsty killers on the Left.” Stelter, who tolerates kooks comparing Trump to mass murderers like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao on his show, played Rhetoric Nanny:
STELTER: Talk about authoritarian and creep. He’s talking about Democrats as blood-thirsty political killers, David Zurawik.
DAVID ZURAWIK, BALTIMORE SUN: You know, I watched that, Brian, last night. And I thought, oh, my God, you know, this is going to be so ugly. We already had six weeks ahead of us that were going to be epic in terms of the battle between Biden and Trump. In terms of media, what they were going to do. Then you put this Supreme Court fight on top of it, and then you have the right-wing media — this isn’t cheerleading. This is beyond rabble-rousing. This is waving the shirt and calling for blood.
And I’ll tell you what, Brian, we have to admit, we in the mainstream press have to admit that we are at a disadvantage in this. We were founded and we operate — CNN operates at a journalistic institution. We play by those rules. Fox News, as you so — as you chronicle in your book so well, Fox News, Breitbart, Daily Caller, many of these right-wing outlets were founded as political tools to aid an ideology and to aid candidates. If your goal as a political outlet to just simply win, you can lie — you can be just like Donald Trump. You can lie, you can smear, you can libel, slander, do all of that. The goal is to win. We can’t do that. We have to think about that! Pardon?
STELTER: The rhetoric of war. It’s the rhetoric of war, and, unfortunately, there’s a lot of it right now.
Stelter’s other guest, RBG filmmaker Julie Cohen, pretended it was a more glorious era when Ginsburg was confirmed, 96-3, in 1993. That’s because the Republicans believed in letting the president have his nominees, as long as they are ethical and qualified. That skips over the Left smearing Clarence Thomas with unproven allegations of sexually harassing language in 1991. He squeaked through, 52 to 48. In 1987, the Left savaged Robert Bork, and he was defeated, 42 to 58. So who was first in savage confirmation fights?
Brian Stelter may be too young to remember those.