On Sunday, desperate to deflect media criticism of President Biden’s catastrophic Afghanistan failures, CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter suggested other topics like climate change really needed to take priority in the press.
His panel of liberal pundits predictably agreed and argued that coverage of the foreign policy debacle was overblown.
“Now let’s evaluate coverage, especially American coverage, of the withdrawal from Afghanistan….a lot of it’s covered through a political lens,” Stelter warned at the top of the segment.
Rather than credit journalists for actually doing their jobs and holding the Biden administration accountable, the hack anchor instead made it clear that his agenda was to undermine those efforts:
“I want to ask several guests if the media has been missing the mark in coverage of the withdrawal and in the events in Afghanistan. Is the story being too simplified?”
Turning to The Atlantic’s James Fallows, Stelter invited scolding of reporters covering the disastrous withdrawal: “What has gone wrong in the coverage in the last two weeks in your view?”
Fallows whined about comparisons being made to the end of the Vietnam war:
I think here there’s been a gross failure by the U.S. media, by the instant equation of the fall of Kabul with the fall of Saigon, which it has almost nothing in similar – that is similar except for the pictures of helicopters….I think the keeping things in perspective is where the media have fallen shortest on the U.S. side.
Stelter concluded: “So, the comparisons between Kabul and Saigon, which we heard a lot two weeks ago, you’re saying those were – those are beside the point.”
Fallows added: “It flattens the reality of what happened in the Vietnam war to say that what’s happening in Kabul now, tragic as it is, is similar to that.”
Minutes later, Stelter offered up a list of other topics that he thought the media should be covering besides Afghanistan: “There are multiple major events happening this month. The COVID crisis among the unvaccinated in America. Climate change. I mean, my God, this hurricane is a monster.”
He then wondered: “What do you say about proportionality and about how much Afghanistan should be the front page story versus COVID or climate change or other stories?”
Fallows concurred and drew on his experience working for another incompetent Democratic president:
So, I think that a challenge for us in the media is to try to keep multiple things in view. The hardest thing about being president – I say having worked in the White House decades ago for Jimmy Carter – is that the president is having to deal with emergencies on all fronts all the time.
And I think for those of us in the media and the citizenry right now, it’s kind of a sample of what governments need to do, thinking about climate change day-by-day, thinking about Afghanistan, thinking about COVID, which is still an emergency, thinking about this hurricane. So if we in our roles in print and broadcast and other ways can try to present people – there’s a famous line adopted from Matthew Arnold, “See things steady and see them whole.” We can’t always do that because essentially what’s on TV commands attention right now. But having that in the back of our mind, that this is what our governments are dealing with and our citizens should be aware of these multiple challenges too, all the time.
One would think a supposed media analyst like Stelter would cheer on journalists holding the President of the United States to account for multiple failures that cost lives.
However, since Stelter is just a propagandist for the Democratic Party, he lectures the press for focusing too much on Afghanistan and asking too many tough questions.
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