A University of Chicago freshman confronted CNN’s Brian Stelter about the outlet’s involvement in pushing disinformation during a conference Wednesday.
Christopher Phillips lodged a question to Stelter during the university’s “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference.
“You’ve all spoken extensively about Fox News being a purveyor of disinformation, but CNN is right up there with them. They pushed the Russian collusion hoax, they pushed the Jussie Smollett hoax, they smeared Justice Kavanaugh as a rapist and they also smeared Nick Sandmann as a white supremacist and, yes, they dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop as pure Russian disinformation,” Phillips said. “With mainstream corporate journalists being little more than apologists and cheerleaders for the regime, is it time to finally declare the canon of journalist ethic is dead or no longer operative?”
“All the mistakes of mainstream media, CNN in particular, seem to magically all go in one direction, are we expected to believe that this is all just some random coincidence or is there something else behind it?” Phillips continued.
Brian Stelter just got called tf out by a college freshman for every major hoax CNN has pushed.
His response was “that’s a popular right-wing narrative.”
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) April 7, 2022
“Too bad it’s time for lunch,” Stelter joked.
“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 I watch,” Stelter said. “But I understand that it is a popular right-wing narrative about CNN.”
“I think it’s important when we talk about a shared reality in democracy, all these networks, all these outlets, have to defend democracy. And when they screw up, admit it.”
Stelter then noted how news outlets frequently work together, saying CNN and The New York Times both tried to help Fox’s Benjamin Hall after he was injured while reporting in Ukraine.
CNN Political Analyst Joe Lockhart criticized Sandmann after the Covington Catholic graduate gave a speech in 2020 during the Republican National Convention, calling him a “snot-nosed entitled kid from Kentucky.”
Sandmann was widely villainized after he was confronted during a 2019 March for Life protest. Many corporate media outlets accused Sandmann of taunting a Native American man with racist chants. (RELATED: Nicholas Sandmann’s Lawyer Says He’s Likely Going After CNN Next, And The Stakes Could Be Higher)
CNN contributor Bakari Sellers fantasized about punching Sandmann in the face. Sandmann sued the outlet, with CNN agreeing to an undisclosed settlement. Sandmann’s lawyers cited “emotional distress, damage to reputation and distress to his family.” Sandmann also sued the Washington Post and NBC Universal.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said in the fall of 2020 there were legitimate questions whether Rudy Giuliani was trying to interfere in the election with Hunter Biden’s laptop and said Giuliani was pushing what could possibly be “part of Russia’s latest and very massive disinformation campaign in the U.S. presidential election,” according to Fox News.
During the conference another freshman, Daniel Schmidt, asked The Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum whether she thinks the media acted inappropriately “when they instantly dismissed Hunter Biden’s laptop as Russian disinformation and what can we learn from that in ensuring that what we label as disinformation is truly disinformation and not reality?”
Applebaum said her “problem with Hunter Biden’s laptop I think is totally irrelevant,” because it doesn’t pertain to President Joe Biden.