A college freshman reported to be a conservative writer at a university media outlet confronted CNN media analyst Brian Stelter at a University of Chicago event on Friday.
A young man attending the “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference and identifying himself as Chris Phillips began by telling Stelter that his and other panelists’ criticisms of rival network Fox News are not justified given his own outlet’s past performance during the Trump years.
“My question is for Mr. Stelter, you’ve all spoken extensively about Fox News being a purveyor of disinformation but CNN is right up there with them,” Phillips began.
“They pushed the Russian collusion hoax, they pushed the Jussie Smollett hoax, they smeared Justice Kavanaugh as a racist, and they also smeared Nick Sandmann as a white supremacist, and yes, they dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop affair as pure Russian disinformation,” he continued.
“With mainstream corporate journalists becoming little more than apologists and cheerleaders for the regime is it time to finally declare the canon of journalistic ethics is dead or no longer operative?” he asked, adding: “All the mistakes of mainstream media and CNN, in particular, seem to magically all go in one direction, are we expected to believe that this all sort of random coincidence, or is there something else behind it?
A clearly uncomfortable Stelter initially responded, “It’s too bad, it’s time for lunch!” to some applause from the audience before going on to respond to the student with what critics labeled as hyperbole.
“I think my honest answer to you, and I’ll come over and talk in more detail after this, is that I think you’re describing a different channel than the one that I watch. But I understand that that is a popular right-wing narrative about CNN,” replied Stelter.
“We talk about shared reality and Democracy all these networks and all these channels have to defend Democracy,” he added. “And when they screw up, admit it.”
Stelter then talked about how CNN crews and other news outlets demonstrated their support for each other when they assisted Fox News journalists after they were attacked while covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We don’t talk about it enough though, we don’t share that reality about how that happens. And with regards to the regime, I think you mean President Biden, well, the last time I spoke with a Biden aide, we yelled with each other,” Stelter continued.
“So that’s the reality of the news business, the people don’t see, the people don’t hear, they imagine it’s a situation that it simply is not, but I think your question speaks to the failure of journalism to show our work and show the reality of how our profession operates,” he added.
“We have a lot of work to do, I think,” Stelter concluded.
A college freshman just ruined Brian Stelter's career.