The Mirror

We Watch CNN’s Terrible Media Show So You Don’t Have To (02-25-18)


Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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A GRAY AND RAINY DAY IN DC — The human-egg hybrid that is CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter wants us to take a trip with him to “President Trump’s Fantasyland.”

But wait…

Is there no Brian Stelter fantasyland where a supposed media reporter feverishly forgets that his job is to cover the media — and instead expresses his puke-y hatred and disgust for President Trump?

I’m thankful for only one thing today — that Brian hasn’t attempted the male facial hair trend that Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker has been trying as of late — skimming his jaw line with whiskers. Brad Pitt can pull this sort of thing off. but nerdy Washington reporters? Please.

Doug Heye, a longtime conservative GOP operative who isn’t a Trump fan, is on the program today. He boasts that he always gave Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro‘s show the shaft, and not just because he was asked to appear on a Saturday night.

Heye says he was at a cookout at Fletcher’s farm a few weekends back in which grill side chatter turned to how shitty the press in that it recites the left’s talking points. The CNN contributor apparently held an informal focus group. Seriously, this sounds like one hell of a cookout. (Who spends the weekend at a cookout outside of Washington talking about the press?) Props to Heye for bringing a new perspective to the otherwise obviously lefty program. I’m sure the cookout was a blast, that the hotdogs were delicious and that kite-flying fun was had by all.

Before that, Stelter played a clip of Pirro sickening display of sucking up to Trump by telling him that his approval rating at CPAC was a whopping 93 percent. Of course, gross by any standards. CPAC is a mecca for Trump. There’s no need to puff him up about that on national TV.

Brian is dwelling on Trump’s favorability ratings.

Longtime newsman Dan Rather, the former anchor of the CBS Evening News who has something of a credibility problem ever since his George W. Bush flub on “60 Minutes” in 2004, is on the show and saying that if Trump dips below 30 percent, he’s in “Richard Nixon country during Watergate.” Brian counters that CNN has Trump right around the 35 percent mark and Gallup gives him a 37 percent rating.

Somehow I’m still wondering when we’re going to get around to media reporting. But I I think I can forget it because I’ve been waiting for this for the last 20 or so shows.

The chyron for the program so far is: “President Trump’s Fantasyland.”

Youngster David Hogg, a senior at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and survivor of the recent tragic shootings, is on the show today bragging about how great his negative press has been on social media. He is an intensely serious young man. He’s got his black and white checkered shirtsleeves rolled up.

Brian is all ready to feel sorry for Hogg. Internet trolls have been calling him a “crisis actor.”

But Hogg is high on his own hog. “It’s great,” he says. “It’s great advertising, honestly. They’re showing how disgusting they are. …it shows how sad I feel for these people, honestly. But it’s okay because we’re going to outlive them. …Honestly, these people that have been attacking me, they have been great advertisers. Ever since they’ve started attacking me, my following is over a quarter of a million people.”

Brian pretends be so shocked that this is his reaction. What did he expect, for the kid to be a crybaby because he has detractors on social media?

I for one am ecstatic that we’re focusing on what’s important: TWITTER FOLLOWERS.

Brian wants to know if Hogg plans to go into politics or journalism — something absolutely no viewer in America wants to know.

Hogg says he wants to go to Harvard and study politics and to Northwestern for journalism. He says he was just rejected by one of his “safety schools” — Cal State Long Beach — and says he may have to take a “gap year.” Ouch. Brian tries to soothe him, saying, “It happens to the best of us.” (Brian earned his degree in mass communications from Baltimore’s Towson University.)

Next up: The Blaze‘s Glenn Beck, who always makes for a fun guest no matter what he’s saying. He’s being dispatched from a living room with a beautiful fireplace and a pretty glass lamp that appears to be plunging into the right side of his head.

He says we need to stop being about “winning” and be more about “reconciliation.”

Beck is such a treat in the sense that he’s never shy about engaging in choke-worthy self-reflection.

“We have to start looking to heal, we have to start looking at ourselves and saying what role have I played?” he says. “…There are people who are watching you right now and hate my guts because they think I am the man I was in 2008. As you know, I have been preaching something different for a very long time.”

Brian asks an absolutely idiotic question about whether the media needs to re-market itself in the middle.

Beck smartly responds, “We need to stop looking at the market.” Which is pretty deep and therefore leapfrogs right over Brian’s fat head.

Brian and Beck trying to be on the same wavelength is a near impossibility.

Beck says CNN made everything worse by hosting a town hall on the recent school shooting and including “2,000 or 5,000” grieving, angry guests. “You did nothing,” Beck charges. “You made things worse. …Let’s have that conversation in a calm way. But adding the crowd, it became the Christians and the lions. It was despicable.”

“You would have told the students to shut up?” Brian asks, absurdly.

Beck replies, “No, this is too raw right now to have a stadium of people. You have the kids in a small room without the cheering crowds.”

He says it’s why he has refused to go on HBO Bill Maher‘s program for years. That appearing on the program is just about the cheering crowd. He has standards. It’s about “winning” — a concept Beck despises.

The two men do the equivalent of hugging it out. They bid each other farewell niceties and say that they appreciate each other. Brian makes it clear that he disagrees with Beck’s assessment of CNN’s town hall and brings up some fucking point CNN’s Jake Tapper made from the perch of his primary home — Twitter — (He had to. God forbid bossman Jeff Zucker is watching).

Now Brian wants to talk about the NRA Dana Loesch‘s recent claim that the media enjoys covering mass shootings because they like ratings.

So Brian brings on Lulu Ramadan, a 23-year-old reporter for the Palm Beach Post, who obviously says it’s “incredibly difficult to cover these events.” Her pinned tweet: “I envy reporters who only covered an out-of-the-blue mass shooting once upon a time. I’m 23, at a community paper & #Stoneman is my third.”

Meanwhile, there’s The Daily Beast‘s Editor-in-Chief Editor John Avlon in the third TV screen box looking incredibly outraged by Loesch’s claim.

“It is a talking point and it’s a disgusting one,” he says. “This is an attempt to deflect and distract.”

Avlon insists Loesch doesn’t like to see American’s die — a claim made about her by Richard Painter, vice chairman of CREW and former chief White House ethics lawyer for former President George W. Bush.

Brian winds up his show by cracking on CPAC media bashing. “Why is in that conservatives unite in bashing the media?” he teases before going to commercial.

“There’s a big difference between constructive versus de-structive criticism,” Brian says as if he is speaking to a Kindergarten class.

Doug Heye is back on. He says CPAC has basically morphed into a Star Trek convention and he hasn’t attended in five years. He makes a joke about Captain Kirk showing up to feed the masses. He says it’s not a place for “serious thinkers.”

“I just think we should have more constructive criticism,” Brian says, re-stressing his safe words. “De-structive criticism is what seems worrisome.”