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CNN’s ratings-challenge media pundit Brian Stelter typically decries disinformation at all costs when he feels it could hurt the liberal agenda.
However, Stelter continued his tradition of suppressing information damaging to liberals on Sunday’s edition of “Reliable Sources,” as he failed to cover the left-wing Lincoln Project orchestrating the viral hoax involving tiki torch-holding individuals pretending to associate with Republican Glenn Youngkin’s Virginia gubernatorial campaign.
“Reliable Sources” bills itself as a weekly examination of the media industry but regularly shields viewers from significant news. Twitter was set ablaze Friday after local NBC affiliate anchor Elizabeth Holmes tweeted a photo of people wearing white shirts, khakis, baseball caps and sunglasses while holding tiki torches standing outside Youngkin’s campaign bus.
The group, apparently meant to tie white nationalists who participated in the deadly events of Charlottesville in 2017 to Youngkin, expressed vocal support for the GOP nominee.
The stunt was quickly seized upon by the left, including staffers from Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe’s campaign. “The Unite the Right rally was one of the darkest days in the Commonwealth’s history. this is who Glenn Youngkin’s supporters are,” McAuliffe spokesperson Christina Freundlich tweeted.
But many Twitter critics assumed it was a stunt orchestrated by Youngkin opponents, given its heavy-handedness. Hours after the images went viral, the disgraced anti-Trump group took ownership of what it called a “demonstration.”
“The Lincoln Project has run advertisements highlighting the hate unleashed in Charlottesville as well as Glenn Youngkin’s continued failure to denounce Donald Trump’s ‘very fine people on both sides.’ We will continue to draw this contrast in broadcast videos, on our social media platforms, and at Youngkin rallies,” the group stated in a press release. “Today’s demonstration was our way of reminding Virginians what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the Republican Party’s embrace of those values, and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn it.”
The Lincoln Project was condemned by many observers on social media. Substack journalist Glenn Greenwald said a right-wing group would be banned from social media for a similar stunt, while others denounced the Lincoln Project altogether.
The Lincoln Project was a media darling throughout 2020 for its vitriolic anti-GOP and anti-Trump ads, with its ex-GOP members enjoying extensive time on MSNBC especially. While some outlets referred to it as a “Republican” group while covering the hoax, its co-founder Steve Schmidt has joined the Democratic Party and it is staunchly committed to defeating GOP candidates.
Despite the clear media angle to one of the biggest stories of the week, Stelter didn’t feel it was important enough to make the episode of “Reliable Sources” that aired less than 48 hours after the ordeal.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Stelter’s show, which has had a problem attracting viewers during the Biden era and failed to get more than 800,000 viewers for eight consecutive weeks entering Sunday’s episode, has a long history of protecting its tiny audience from media stories that make the host’s liberal peers look bad.
In October, he failed to acknowledge CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s viral interview with podcast giant Joe Rogan, who forced Gupta to admit CNN should not have characterized Rogan’s use of ivermectin as “horse dewormer” amid his recovery from COVID. His show previously ignored a sexual harassment allegation against CNN host Chris Cuomo, when veteran TV producer Shelley Ross said the “Cuomo Prime Time” namesake groped her when they worked together at ABC News.
But Stelter doesn’t only skip news about his CNN colleagues. He has also glossed over the Washington Post’s major correction of its January report that accused Trump of urging Georgia election officials to “find the fraud,” the major MSNBC leadership shakeup, Toobin’s firing from The New Yorker following his Zoom call masturbation scandal, the ousting of MSNBC contributor Jon Meacham after it was revealed that he was moonlighting as a speechwriter for the Biden campaign and the scandals that plagued The Lincoln Project before its latest embarrassment, among many other things.
In 2019, Stelter completely avoided the revelation that ABC News had spiked an investigation into convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
The Lincoln Project has been beset by multiple scandals this year, including allegations that its co-founder John Weaver had sexually harassed young men online including minors and other higher-ups knew about it months before they let on.
Following the hoax being exposed, McAuliffe campaign manager Chris Rolling tweeted, “What happened today is disgusting and distasteful and we condemn it in the strongest terms. Those involved should immediately apologize.”
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