CNN host Brian Stelter claims President Trump is promoting a “full-fledged conspiracy theory” by referring to the FBI informant on his presidential campaign as a spy. Of course Stelter knows full well what a spy is, and that the FBI used one on Trump, but a complaint he lodged against Fox News in 2016 nicely underlines the absurdity of his argument.
Stelter was outraged to learn in August 2016 that a woman he dated who worked at Fox News was actually an informant for the network. He was quite concerned at the time about the implications of the network “spying” on journalists.
Here’s how he described the duplicity, according to HuffPost:
“About 10 years ago I had a crush on a woman at Fox News. She was a low-level staffer. I was in college at the time. So I was going out on what I thought were dates. Chris, I thought these were dates. These were not dates. She was actually reporting back to Fox News about me. Because I was a reporter on the beat, they were actually spying on me that way. …
Now I didn’t think that was a big deal at the time. I thought it was the way Fox operates. Fox is a political organization. But now we know they were actually sending out private investigators. They were tailing other reporters.”
Informant equals spy. Got it. Now jump ahead to 2018, when Trump is outraged to learn someone on his campaign was actually an informant for the FBI: “SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!”
Stelter accuses Trump of pushing conspiracies.
In many of President Trump’s comments about an alleged ‘spy’ in his presidential campaign, there’s a tell. Usually it’s the word ‘if’ … The caveats give him some wiggle room while he’s promoting a full-fledged conspiracy theory. … What IS true is that the FBI used a confidential source to talk to Trump advisers after the bureau became suspicious about Russian interference in the 2016 election.
But Trump’s leap to ‘SPYGATE’ isn’t supported by the publicly available facts. … Readers and viewers are left with the overall impression of a sinister plot against the president.
If Stelter really believes this, a revision of his Fox News complaint is in order.
The network didn’t send a woman to spy on him. She just turned out to be spending time with him under false pretenses in order to surveil him, secretly record his behavior, and send her notes back to headquarters.