Apologies in advance, my friends: I usually try to write about something or someone important but today I’m making an exception. I’m writing about Brian Stelter, CNN’s so-called chief media correspondent.
It’s not just that Stelter is a hopelessly biased newsman. It’s also that he doesn’t know it, that he lacks introspection. He’s a media critic who doesn’t recognize his own media shortcomings. #Sad.
Week in and week out he goes after his two favorite targets – President Trump and Fox News. Good. No problem. When they screw up, which they often do, go after them. Hold them accountable.
But when he had the opportunity not long ago to grill his fellow Trump-detesting liberal, Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, he chose instead to do what he does best: toss softballs and then sit there like a potted plant.
Here’s one of Stelter’s tough questions: What is the cumulative effect of President Trump’s attacks on the media?
Here’s another: Are the attacks out of control?
One more: How much has Donald Trump’s election contributed to a jump in online subscriptions at the New York Times?
I wrote a column about Stelter’s less than stellar performance and suggested a few questions he might have asked the editor of the Times, if Stelter didn’t have a man crush on Baquet.
Do you think diversity is important in America’s newsrooms? Why?
What about diversity of opinion? Do you think you have enough of that kind of diversity at the Times?
Do you think that a newsroom populated overwhelmingly by liberal journalists poses no problems with bias, subconscious or otherwise?
Would you be okay with a newsroom overwhelmingly populated by conservativejournalists?
Do you believe, as many of your critics do, that there’s a liberal bias at the Times and in the media in general?
You’ve been a frequent critic of Fox News. Do you think Fox is any more biased than CNN or MSNBC?
There were more questions like that, but you get the idea.
I would have been more than happy to move on, to never write or think about Brian Stelter again. But along comes Jussie Smollett who inadvertently gives Stelter another opportunity to show us how dense he is.
Why in the world, Stelter wondered, would Smollett make up a story about being mugged by two white guys, who put a noose over his head, poured bleach on him and proclaimed “This is MAGA country.”
“It’s hard to imagine why anyone would think of orchestrating something like this,” Stelter said on CNN. “It just boggles the mind.” Several liberal colleagues sitting there with him were equally baffled.
“It boggles the mind! One struggles in vain to think of another profession in which someone could evince or affect as much incompetence as Stelter and Co. and expect to remain employed.” is how Kyle Smith so elegantly put it in National Review.
Never mind that Stelter, as Smith points out, “has lived nearly his entire life in the era of hate-crime hoaxes” and so, you might think, wouldn’t find Smollett’s made up story so mind-boggling.
Did Stelter forget about the Duke-lacrosse gang-rape hoax of 2006? How about the University of Virginia gang-rape hoax of 2014? What about the incident just after Trump’s election when a woman on the New York City subway claimed drunken white men had ripped off her hijab – did CNN’s chief media reporter forget about that too? Did he forget about the Catholic high school kid in the MAGA hat in Washington and how the media got that story all wrong? Does the name Tawana Brawley ring a bell?
“Smollett purchased with his story things of immeasurable value: Attention, sympathy, love,” Smith says. “The world’s eyes were upon him when, the weekend after the attack, he gave a tearful, impassioned performance on stage in L.A. ‘I had to be here tonight, y’all. I couldn’t let those motherf***ers win. I will always stand for love. I will only stand for love.’”
Whatever you say, Jussie!
What about Brian Stelter? What does he stand for? Well, we can start with gullibility and move on to cluelessness. Like so many liberals, both in an out of the media, he was eager to believe the worst about Trump supporters, which led to his bafflement on why such a nice gay, black man would ever make up such a story.
But there’s a piece of evidence that should have set off alarms for Brian Stelter and his baffled compatriots in the media, in Hollywood and in the world of pandering politicians: Al Sharpton didn’t jump on a jet and head to Chicago to hold a well-publicized rally at the “scene of the crime.”
When white guys attack a black man in the dead of night and shout a pro-Trump warning at their helpless victim, and Reverend Al doesn’t head for the cameras and microphones … there probably is no scene of the crime.