Leading up to the 2016 election, voters questioned Democratic nominee Hillary’s Clinton’s physical fitness after she appeared to abruptly stumble and be carried into a van. CNN media reporter Brian Stelter immediately rebuked journalists who raised questions about her health, saying the press should not “give oxygen” to “conspiracy theories” that the Democratic nominee for president is “secretly ill.”
When Fox News’s Sean Hannity speculated on Clinton’s health a month prior to the van incident, Stelter called Hannity’s segment “reckless speculation.”
“Conspiracy theories are so much more interesting than the truth,” Stelter said. “But the last time I checked, Fox still has the word news in its name.”
In covering President Donald Trump’s positive coronavirus diagnosis and treatment, it’s hard to describe Stelter’s coverage as anything other than conspiracy theories.
On Monday, after Trump tweeted he would be released from Walter Reed Medical Center and encouraged Americans to not fear the virus he is battling, Stelter appeared on CNN claiming Trump now “recommends getting sick,” and speculated that Trump strategically planned his departure to coordinate with the evening newscasts.
"He's acting like he's drinking from the fountain of youth," @brianstelter says (@meganranney said it first). "He's back to denying Covid when he still has the disease.…I think he wants that return shot with Marine One." pic.twitter.com/Wdwb80wk7c
— Benjy Renton (@bhrenton) October 5, 2020
Following Trump’s Marine One arrival back at the White House Monday evening, Stelter theorized that “the visuals do not match reality,” implying that Trump was not on an optimistic road to recovery.
Trump's flight from Walter Reed to the White House is a literal POWER TRIP – the visuals do not match reality – but the visuals remind me of Trump's use of the South Lawn for his RNC acceptance speech pic.twitter.com/i8N0T8FOVl
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 5, 2020
“This is not a real show of strength, it’s a performative show of strength,” Stelter concluded, despite the fact that the president’s doctors determined he had made a significant recovery and should be released from the hospital.
On Tuesday morning, Stelter informed his audience that there is in fact, “a clear coverup underway.”
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 6, 2020
Not only does Stelter’s behavior show his hypocritical stance on covering the health of presidential candidates, but it also disproves one of his many talking points on Clinton media coverage four years ago. After multiple doctors weighed in on Clinton’s health, including two of President Barack Obama’s physicians, Stelter pivoted to criticizing media for falling into “stereotypes of women being weak.”
“If she had pneumonia and she went to the 9/11 ceremony this morning, that’s a very strong, bold thing to do — also knowing that Trump was going to be there,” Stelter said on CNN following the van incident.
It goes without saying that in addition to peddling theories about Trump’s health, Stelter will not be praising any of Trump’s appearances since his diagnosis as a “very strong, bold thing to do.” Besides, as Stelter himself noted, “conspiracy theories are so much more interesting than the truth.”