CNN: Press Wrong to Say Trump Could Win, Biden Scandal Just a Smear

News & Politics

On Sunday, CNN showed off what kind of so-called “Reliable Sources” they could dredge up when chief media correspondent Brian Stelter brought on Politico founding editor John Harris to discuss election coverage. But according to Harris, the media were in the wrong for acting as though President Trump still had a chance at winning and avoiding “death watch coverage.” He and Stelter would later downplay the Biden family corruption scandal as something even the people reporting it don’t believe.

In the first panel discussion, where the chyron asked “are reporters overcorrecting in response to 2016,” Stelter lauded Harris’s critique of the media’s purported favorable coverage of Trump’s campaign:

John, you have a headline for Politico that to me this is the most interesting story I’ve read all week. It’s at Politico.com. It’s headlined: “Trump is doing worse than it seems but reporters are afraid to say so.” You and Daniel Lippman argue that by historical standards, Trump’s coverage is favorable in one key aspect. What is that key aspect?

The fact that reporters are giving generous allowance that Trump could still win. And they’re treating this as though it’s quite a close race based on the experience of 2016,” Harris gripped. He went on to suggest that Trump’s blind-side victory had left the media “gun shy,” and that has caused them to overcorrect “too far in the other direction.”

Though he wasn’t “sure that’s a bad thing,” Harris went on to complain that it had led the media to avoid “death watch coverage” claiming the Trump campaign was imploding and the wheels were coming off:

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But what Trump is avoiding, and it’s a huge gift the media is giving him, Brian, is he’s avoiding death watch coverage. The kind of coverage that John McCain got in 2006. Bob Dole got in ’96. Where everything is like a hospital vigil. “In a desperate move.” “With time running out.” With a — You know, “With advisors warring and finger-pointing over who is to blame for a debacle.” Et cetera. Trump’s largely avoiding that.

Over 30 minutes later, Stelter wanted to talk about the Hunter Biden laptop/Biden family corruption scandal was just a manufactured product of the Murdoch “smear machine.”

Of course, there’s still a lot unclear about the credibility of these emails and how significant they are, how real, whether they are all real, whether some are made up, all of these disinformation questions linger,” Stelter lied. He even suggested the story was “losing some steam in recent days.”

In reality, momentum had only increased after the Department of Justice and the FBI said the information on the laptop was not “disinformation” from a foreign power. Then a business associate of Hunter’s had come forward to confirm the messages about Chinese money being funneled to Joe.

And for his take, Harris suggested that not even the people pushing the story believed it. “Because neither the people pushing it nor, I think, people in the media who are very wary about the sourcing and credibility, really trying to push it to the margins, probably nobody really cares that much about the substance of it,” he proclaimed.

Adding: “Its interest is totally as a weapon in the kind of non-stop ideological and cultural war that defines our politics and the non-stop sort of media battle in the closing days of an election. The substance of the story almost beside the point.”

And you’re right, it just provides fuel, fodder for the 24/7 anti-Biden narrative,” agreed Stelter, the man whose show gave us such memorable moments such as Trump killed more people than Hitler/Stalin/Mao combined, calling Trump a “destructive cult” leader, and Michael “Creepy Porn Lawyer” Avenatti was a “serious” 2020 contender. This is CNN.

This continuation of CNN’s 24/7 anti-Trump narrative was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Uber and Facebook. Their contact information is linked so you can tell them about the biased news they’re funding.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

CNN’s Reliable Sources
October 25, 2020
11:08:a.m. Eastern

(…)

BRIAN STELTER: John, you have a headline for Politico that to me this is the most interesting story I’ve read all week. It’s at Politico.com. It’s headlined: “Trump is doing worse than it seems but reporters are afraid to say so.” You and Daniel Lippman argue that by historical standards, Trump’s coverage is favorable in one key aspect. What is that key aspect?

JOHN HARRIS (Founding editor, Politico): The fact that reporters are giving generous allowance that Trump could still win. And they’re treating this as though it’s quite a close race based on the experience of 2016.

Let’s face it. A lot of us did not see the Trump victory in 2016 coming. So we’re gun shy this time. I am not sure that’s a bad thing, actually. I think sometimes we go too far in the other direction of looking like the race is over when we don’t know that. Probably we made that mistake in 2016.

But what Trump is avoiding, and it’s a huge gift the media is giving him, Brian, is he’s avoiding death watch coverage. The kind of coverage that John McCain got in 2006.

STELTER: Death watch? Interesting.

HARRIS: Bob Dole got in ’96. Where everything is like a hospital vigil. “In a desperate move.” “With time running out.” With a — You know, “With advisors warring and finger-pointing over who is to blame for a debacle.” Et cetera. Trump’s largely avoiding that.

STELTER: Interesting.

(…)

11:34:51 a.m. Eastern

STELTER: Hey, welcome back to Reliable Sources. You know, the media outlets employed by Rupert Murdoch and is son Lachlan employ a lot of great reporters, but they often – they also sometimes operate as a smear machine.

Look at the graphic here. You’ll see Fox Corporation includes Fox News and Fox Business. The other half of the empire, News Corporation includes The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post. It is the New York Post that first launched the Hunter Biden email story that was then parroted by Fox News, promoted by Fox News stars, and it seems to be losing some steam in recent days.

We have seen this storyline start to change with The Wall Street Journal actually challenging it and parts of Fox News as well. Let me explain to you what’s been going on with these stories. The Wall Street Journal‘s news division published an account that really cast doubt on the so-called “scandal,” that the opinion operation has been promoting. And yet the opinion part of The Wall Street Journal is still hyping it, still claiming these emails are a massive story.

Of course, there’s still a lot unclear about the credibility of these emails and how significant they are, how real, whether they are all real, whether some are made up, all of these disinformation questions linger.

And what we see a news versus opinion fight at The Wall Street Journal. The panel is back with me.

(…)

11:38:06 a.m. Eastern

STELTER: Now, John, you say in some ways it’s a perfect modern media political story. Why is that?

HARRIS: Because neither the people pushing it nor, I think, people in the media who are very wary about the sourcing and credibility, really trying to push it to the margins, probably nobody really cares that much about the substance of it. It’s total— Its interest is totally as a weapon in the kind of non-stop ideological and cultural war that defines our politics and the non-stop sort of media battle in the closing days of an election.

STELTER: Right.

HARRIS: The substance of the story almost beside the point.

STELTER: And you’re right, it just provides fuel, fodder for the 24/7 anti-Biden narrative.

(…)

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