CNN chief medial reporter Brian Stelter beclowned himself yet again during Sunday’s no-so Reliable Sources. Between raging at right-wing media and talk radio for questioning Joe Biden’s mental lucidity, and claiming left-wing hacks like himself weren’t dedicated to “tearing down” President Trump, Stelter was out to prove that he was willing to lie with impunity. And at one point, a guest floated the idea of weaponizing the Federal Communication Commission to target and presumably shut down right-wing talk radio.

Gaslighting his viewers from the get-go, Stelter hoped they wouldn’t remember how he was among the first in the liberal media to demand the press start questioning Trump’s mental health, as he railed against right-wing media for now questioning Biden’s.

Suggesting his opponents lived in “a totally alternative universe,” he warned CNN’s gullible, lefty viewers: “What you are about to hear them say is mind-boggling. Look, whether you like Biden or not, this stuff is offensive and other-worldly.”

After acting like it was some great mystery as to why right-wing figures were switching over to discussing the election instead of coronavirus (it’s not like two conventions are coming up later this month and debates in September), Stelter argued that what we’re seeing was hyper “negative partisanship” coming from right-wing media (Click “expand”):

You know what this is? This is negative partisanship in action. So, what’s negative partisanship? Well, these researchers from Emory University define it as a pretty simple content. They say in this article for Politico magazine that, “over the past few decades American politics has become like a bitter sports rivalry, in which the parties hang together mainly out of sheer hatred of the other team, rather than a shared sense of purpose.”

The researchers showed that partisans, meaning strong supporters of a specific party, have grown to dislike the opposing party, quote, “more than they like their own party.”

So, when the President, for example, says that Biden is against God, that’s negative partisanship. It is so hateful.

 

 

And according to Stelter, negative partisanship was a problem almost entirely from the right. “But I want to be clear, there’s a lot of negative partisanship that happens on the left as well (…) but it is especially extreme, especially vitriolic on the right, directed at Joe Biden. And directed at other Democrats right now,” he lied.

It’s a good thing that his show wasn’t home to “negative partisanship” like unethical shrinks claiming Trump has killed more people than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined. Or telling Trump’s lawyer that she’s a disgrace to her kids and grandkids. Or claiming Trump was trying to intentionally “crash” America. Or blaming Fox News for a synagogue shooting and Trump for a firebombing. Or promoting the doxing of a Trump supporter.

Yup, it’s a good thing he hasn’t done any of that over the last four years.

But back on Sunday, Stelter flipped out after playing soundbites to conservative stars questioning Biden’s mental fitness (that thing Stelter has never ever done) (Click “expand”):

STELTER: Every day, every day this is what’s airing on the radio. There’s Michael Savage saying, “I pity the man.” There’s morning Levin saying, “I think Biden’s in a nursing home.” The heck is going on on these programs?! Look at what Fox News saw on Saturday at a Rehoboth beach, Delaware. This is Joe Biden out there on a vigorous bike ride. Not wearing a helmet but definitely wearing a mask, by the way.

Fox’s narrative and talk radio’s narrative for months has been that Joe Biden is falling apart. You just heard Ben Shapiro say it, “falling apart.” And there he is riding a bike, out for a bike ride. And Fox, of all networks, is the one that showed it happen.

Look, we are going to see negative partisanship fuel the next three months. The last three months of this never-ending campaign. It is a key part of what is going on. Is a potion, an ugly potion that’s only, only getting worse.

Following the introduction of his panel of unreliable sources, Stelter looked to left-wing historian Nicole Hemmer to confirm his unfounded claim that “negative partisanship” was worse on the right. “Yes. I would say it’s more severe on the right currently. In part because the right just has a longer tradition of these overtly ideological media outlets,” she falsely claimed.

Then, in switching to Errin Haines, editor-at-large for The 19th, Stelter ridiculously suggested that there weren’t left-wing news outlets dedicated to damaging the President. “When you see entire media companies essentially exist to tear down Joe Biden, is there an equivalent to that on the left, tearing down Trump?” Of course, his lefty guest agreed, saying: “There really isn’t.”

But things took a disturbing turn when Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik floated the idea of weaponizing the FCC to go after and presumably shut down conservative talk radio.

“The irony is, is that we have a Federal Communications Commission that’s supposed to monitor, supposed to watch talk radio and yet they can get away with all of this on talk radio (…) it’s because the regulators don’t pay attention to it. It is so far out there now that it’s frightening,” he suggested.

All sarcasm aside, this segment would be comical if it wasn’t so dangerous to the national discourse and the First Amendment. CNN has been spinning an alternate universe for years now, and particularly Stelter, who has so often been caught spreading outright falsehoods about the media landscape. Just look at what NewsBusters has called him out on.

This ridiculous split from reality was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Consumer Cellular, Mr. Clean, and Arby’s. They’re contact information is linked if you want to tell them what kind of unreliable sources they’re funding. Brian Stelter has also people let him know what they thought about the show by reaching out on Twitter.

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

CNN’s Reliable Sources
August 9, 2020
11:02:09 a.m. Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: But first, let’s go on a trip together to a totally alternative universe. You never hear what’s happening there unless you tune into right-wing talk radio, but you need to know what they are saying because the most popular, most powerful talkers in the country have trained their sights on Joe Biden. What you are about to hear them say is mind-boggling. Look, whether you like Biden or not, this stuff is offensive and other-worldly.

So, let me set the stage for this before I play the clips. Keep in mind that news and talk radio is still really popular, even in the internet age. Guys like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity can influences tens of millions of listeners. And as this HuffPost headline pointed out earlier this year, talk radio stars were shopping dangerous claims about the coronavirus, they were downplaying its severity. But nowadays, if you listen those shows, you hardly hear about COVID at all. They have shifted to big-time Biden bashing instead.

You know what this is? This is negative partisanship in action. So, what’s negative partisanship? Well, these researchers from Emory University define it as a pretty simple content. They say in this article for Politico magazine that, “over the past few decades American politics has become like a bitter sports rivalry, in which the parties hang together mainly out of sheer hatred of the other team, rather than a shared sense of purpose.”

The researchers showed that partisans, meaning strong supporters of a specific party, have grown to dislike the opposing party, quote, “more than they like their own party.”

So, when the President, for example, says that Biden is against God, that’s negative partisanship. It is so hateful.

But I want to be clear, there’s a lot of negative partisanship that happens on the left as well. Disdain and nastiness directed at the right. This is happening in all directions, but it is especially extreme, especially vitriolic on the right, directed at Joe Biden. And directed at other Democrats right now. We see it all the time on Fox News, a channel that often seems more anti-Democrat than pro-trump.

These shows are the pro-Trump media. Right? But they have so much venom towards the Democrats, they use that to distract from Trump’s failures. And some commentary on the radio is even worse. That’s why this week our producing team listened to these right-wing radio shows, took them seriously, tried to get a sense of what they are saying about Biden because they’re barely talking about COVID anymore. They’re all focused on Biden. This stuff is outrageous, but it does impact the campaign.

(…)

STELTER: Every day, every day this is what’s airing on the radio. There’s Michael Savage saying, “I pity the man.” There’s morning Levin saying, “I think Biden’s in a nursing home.” The heck is going on on these programs? Look at what Fox News saw on Saturday at a Rehoboth beach, Delaware. This is Joe Biden out there on a vigorous bike ride. Not wearing a helmet but definitely wearing a mask, by the way.

Fox’s narrative and talk radio’s narrative for months has been that Joe Biden is falling apart. You just heard Ben Shapiro say it, “falling apart.” And there he is riding a bike, out for a bike ride. And Fox, of all networks, is the one that showed it happen.

Look, we are going to see negative partisanship fuel the next three months. The last three months of this never-ending campaign. It is a key part of what is going on. Is a potion, an ugly potion that’s only, only getting worse.

(…)

Nicole, first to you, negative partisanship, it kind of explains everything about what is broken in our media environment because there’s all of these media outlets, all these talk radio stars and TV shows that are just constantly attacking, fueling hatred of the other side. Am I right to say this happens on the left and the right but that it’s more severe on the right currently?

NICOLE HEMMER: Yes. I would say it’s more severe on the right currently. In part because the right just has a longer tradition of these overtly ideological media outlets. Right? There is this sort of habit of attacking Democrats that goes pretty far back. If you look at like the 1990s and the way that Rush Limbaugh and others sort of sharpened their teeth on Bill Clinton, this has been the way they built audiences for three decades now.

STELTER: I don’t want to claim it’s new, but I’m just arguing that it’s getting worse, it’s getting more severe. Errin, your view of this, when you see entire media companies essentially exist to tear down Joe Biden, is there an equivalent to that on the left, tearing down Trump?

ERRIN HAINES: There really isn’t. And, you know, what I would say is it’s really a diet of this type of information that a lot of these voters are getting. A lot of the voters that I talk to, I can — when I interview them, I do hear them saying a lot of the talking points that sound very familiar from some of these shows, which I try to listen to when I’m out on the campaign trail or when I’m home, you know watching TV. You can hear these comments being echoed by voters. And you know that this is the diet they’re on, you know, AM radio, conservative talk, also social media.

The Trump campaign is running a full-blown campaign on social media that is completely off the radar for a lot of regular media is not covering this,

(…)

DAVID ZURAWIK: The irony is, is that we have a Federal Communications Commission that’s supposed to monitor, supposed to watch talk radio and yet they can get away with all of this on talk radio. Not just because we in the mainstream media don’t pay enough attention to it. And it’s true, we don’t, but it’s because the regulators don’t pay attention to it. It is so far out there now that it’s frightening.

(…)