This week’s Mainstream Media Scream features CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter on Sunday denouncing Fox News Channel for giving so much time to the political agenda revelations of those on special counsel Robert Mueller’s staff.
“This isn’t just an alternate reality. This is a reversal of reality,” said Stelter, who’s own network has been slapped as the lead anti-Trump outlet. “They’re talking like propagandists. This sounds like propaganda and it sounds dangerous,” he added. “The conservative media choir is telling Trump,” Stelter complained, that “Mueller is out to get you, trying to reverse the outcome of the election. It doesn’t get any more dangerous than that.”
Stelter introduced his lead segment with a clip of Kellyanne Conway on FNC saying “the fix was in against Donald Trump from the beginning and they were pro-Hillary.”
Robert Mueller, investigating Russia's attack on the American election, is under attack himself. The new assault is not coming from Moscow — it's coming from Fox News HQ and the White House. Here's my Sunday essay... https://t.co/254y1TT2EN— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 17, 2017
BRIAN STELTER: This is the feedback loop in action. I want you to see it over and over again. Fox, Trump, his aides, GOP lawmakers, all of them, they’re taking a legitimate issue, which is the discovery of a Mueller team member who expressed his hatred of Trump in text messages, and then they’re blowing it up, trying to discredit the entire probe.
CNN’S slogan is CNN, THE MOST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS. Everyone knows this is not true, that this could, in fact, be a fraud on the American Public. There are many outlets that are far more trusted than Fake News CNN. Their slogan should be CNN, THE LEAST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017
Now, remember, that team member was removed from the probe when the text messages were found. But everyday, it’s something new, some reason to claim that special counsel is illegitimate. So, as you watch the coverage, try to notice how this works. Notice how right wing commentators and GOP lawmakers are echoing each other and pay close attention to the banners on the bottom of Fox’s screen.
Last night – I can’t believe this -- Fox is asking if the FBI has engaged in a coup. This morning, the banner said the investigators are in the hot seat.
Cable news banners don’t just appear out of thin air. Producers brainstorm, fact-check, proof-read them. Hosts are sometimes involved too. Yes, mistakes slip through occasionally. But this doesn’t look like a mistake... pic.twitter.com/nZkbRyKxUE— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 17, 2017
This isn’t just an alternate reality. This is a reversal of reality. Obviously, it’s Trump world that is on the hot seat. Four Trump associates have been charged with crimes. Two of the four have pled guilty. Mueller is investigating a massive fire. And everyone can see and smell the smoke.
But this, instead, is what the president’s hearing (he starts the following clip).
JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: The only thing that remains is whether we have the fortitude to not just fire these people immediately, but to take them out in cuffs.
STELTER: That is Jeanine Pirro, one of Trump’s informal advisers, not just calling for firings but arrests.
Look, I don't say this lightly, but these FOTs, these friends of Trumps, they are -- they’re talking like propagandists. This sounds like propaganda and it sounds dangerous. Pirro is demanding a cleansing of the FBI. Sean Hannity is calling Mueller the head of the snake. Other Fox hosts are calling the FBI corrupt and out of control. Rush Limbaugh is describing it as a coup and guests on these programs are comparing the FBI to the KGB.
I think I have subscribed to this newsletter since its inception - but no more. It is propelled by an anti-FOX, anti-Trump animus that makes it terribly slanted. It’s not what I signed up for. I wish Brian well, but goodbye. https://t.co/hO6B1eIset— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) December 16, 2017
The conservative media choir is telling Trump that Mueller is out to get you, trying to reverse the outcome of the election. It doesn’t get any more dangerous than that.
Prior to this morment, @presssec issued a warning to me. She said if I asked a question of Trump at the bill signing "I can't promise you will be allowed into a pool spray again." Sorry Sarah.. we won't be intimidated. https://t.co/RZgJpXpyEg— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) December 12, 2017
Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our weekly pick: “After two years of CNN leading incessant attacks on Donald Trump, sometimes allocating the entirety of prime time to panel after panel speculating wildly about supposed Russian collusion and on other nights talking about allegations against Trump they must later retract, it takes chutzpah to denounce another network for ‘talking like propagandists.’”
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org