CNN host Brian Stelter has attempted to give viewers what he called “a reality check about the alternative reality” of right-wing media, which he said exists to tear down Democrat Joe Biden, failing to see any irony in the claim.
“Let’s go on a trip together to a totally alternative universe,” Stelter said on his Sunday show. “You never hear what’s happening there unless you tune into rightwing talk radio. But you need to know what they are saying because they’re the most popular, the most powerful talkers in the whole country.”
If you’re not listening to right-wing talk radio, you’re missing just how extreme the Biden bashing has become. It’s offensive and other-worldly. We showed examples on @ReliableSources this morning pic.twitter.com/GV302WkZAS
After warning viewers of the offensive and “mind-boggling” things they were about to hear, Stelter proceeded to show examples of how Fox News and conservative radio hosts like Mark Levin and Ben Shapiro have suggested that Biden has deteriorated mentally.
Yet even some Democrats, including former presidential candidates Julian Castro and Cory Booker, have also raised questions about Biden’s cognitive fitness. Levin, however, resorted to some hyperbole, quipping that Biden needs to be in a nursing home and that he’s an “invalid.”
Pointing to a clip of Biden riding a bicycle as proof of his fitness to be president, Stelter said, “I’m not here to say he’s perfect. He screwed up a couple of times in an interview with minority journalists . . ., but I am here to say, Joe Biden is not an invalid.”
Stelter told his panel of guests that conservative media’s attacks on Democrats are getting more severe and asked, “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?”
Apparently ignoring the mainstream media’s relentless attacks on Trump, panelist Errin Haines said, “There really isn’t. It’s really a diet of this type of information that a lot of these voters are getting.” She said many Americans are hearing only rightwing media and the Trump campaign’s social media programming.
“If that’s all they’re getting, to the exclusion of kind of the more traditional legacy media, then it really is no surprise what their understanding is of this country and of our politics,” said Haines, editor-at-large for The 19th, a website that covers “the intersection of gender, politics and policy.”
Stelter offered no pushback to the notion that mainstream “traditional legacy” media is balanced, and he expounded on Haines’ point about the Trump campaign’s efforts on social media, saying it created “an even safer space than Fox News” for his supporters.
Twitter users were quick to mock the CNN host’s suggestion that there is no equivalent to rightwing bashing of Biden. “I’m convinced this is an SNL skit,” one person wrote, while another said: “Vampires cast no reflection.”
One tweeter said in reply to Stelter’s question, “Let’s see: CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC . . . . Are we done yet?”
Let’s see: CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC…are we done yet??
After Stelter played more clips from the “alternate universe” of right-wing news, panelist David Zurawik, media critic for the Baltimore Sun, said Trump’s social media content is being “squeezed” as Facebook and Twitter take down some posts, but the Federal Communications Commission has failed to properly regulate content on talk radio.
Even most Democrats would no longer argue that the media is fair and balanced. A Knight Foundation/Gallup poll released last week showed that 86 percent of Americans, including 78 percent of Democrats, believe there is at least a fair amount of political bias in the media’s news coverage.
A whopping 84 percent of respondents said they blame the media for political divisions in the country. A Media Research Center report showed that in the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency, 90 percent of press coverage was negative toward him. The results haven’t been updated for 2019-2020.
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