CNN’s sour grapes are fermenting into a pathetic, albeit amusing, daily display. Watching the channel smugly attempt to punch up at Fox News almost evokes the same empathy you feel when watching a toddler try to grab cookies off a too-tall counter. They just don’t have what it takes, but don’t you dare try to tell them otherwise.
Enter Brianna Keilar, the newly minted “anchor” of “New Day,” the network’s morning program. One of her first monologues on the program sought to analyze Fox News’s chyrons for allegedly revealing that “Fox is not news, no matter what it calls itself.” The irony is entirely lost on Keilar, who is simply not an “anchor,” no matter what she calls herself.
The entire package feels like a j-school lightweight auditioning for Rachel Maddow’s job, replete with facile jabs that lack logic as much as self-awareness. Below you’ll see a tweet from Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” the worst-named show on television since “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23.”
As the arbiter of “reliable sources,” you’d expect Stelter to critique his colleague for trying to pass off her biased ax-grinding as the neutral reporting of an “anchor.” Maybe you’d expect him to critique his network for letting, nay, encouraging her to wax opinionated under false pretenses. After all, she’s clearly peddling bananas.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 19, 2021
But no. Stelter is actively elevating Keilar’s dishonest and silly commentary, which samples chyrons featuring quotes and topics from opinion commentators and opinion shows to accuse Fox’s programming of… having an opinion.
The difference, of course, is that Fox does not seek to pass Tucker Carlson off as an “anchor,” while CNN gives Keilar a platform to engage in the same punditry under the misleading pretense of neutral journalism. That’s a pretty disrespectful way for “serious journalists” to treat their audience.
CNN, by the way, routinely uses their chyrons to convey ideology—and not just during opinion shows—rendering Keilar’s segment laughably hypocritical.
By now, the country is mostly wise to CNN’s false advertising, which partially explains their ratings. But Keilar’s problem with Fox is telling as well.
She complains that Fox pushes a “conspiracy theory that Biden is senile.” On what universe is that a “conspiracy theory?” Here’s Princeton professor and noted historian Julian Zelizer quoted last July in Axios: “Biden, there’s questions, more subtle I think, about he doesn’t finish every sentence, or during the debates he’d pause and seem to have trouble thinking about what he wants to say. Those are the moments that then become questions.”
It’s not conspiracy-mongering, it’s relevant coverage of a septuagenarian tasked with leadership of the free world who routinely mixes big things up more than he used to. But people like Keilar inaccurately deploy powerful buzzwords like “conspiracy” and “disinformation” to signal their intellect and smear ideas they dislike.
“They love culture wars,” Keilar mocked in the segment, noting Fox’s coverage of controversies involving Lil Nas X, Cardi B, Mr. Potato Head, and Dr. Seuss. She also advanced the dishonest argument that cancel culture critics contradict themselves by calling for boycotts of entities like Major League Baseball. (I’m not a fan of the practice, but it’s hardly equivalent to claiming The New York Times is literally endangering black lives by running an op-ed from Tom Cotton.)
Of course, it’s the corporatist cultural left that provokes these culture war battles, before immediately pivoting to smug mockery of conservatives for fighting back. This entire monologue came from a woman who proceeded to give a friendly interview to Ibram X. Kendi! Last month she implied opponents of gun control measures believe “it’s acceptable for people to be shot dead with a semi-automatic weapon just because they went grocery shopping.”
The corporate media is working in tandem with the cultural left to instigate culture war battles and then gaslight the country by insisting it’s toothless conservative rubes who wish to keep us mired in an endless culture war. This is not difficult to understand, but journalists are so unaware their worldview is actually a cultural leftist ideology—and so reflexively dismissive of their critics—they’re incapable of producing anything but pablum. They get away with it because they’ve exorcised most people capable of honest and fair-minded feedback from their outlets and their orbits.
The echo chamber is a dark and dangerous place that transforms people like Keilar from journalists into smug college Democrat bloggers advertised as neutral arbiters of apples and bananas. Her bad and hypocritical arguments would be one thing if they weren’t also delivered with sanctimony and false advertising. Her bosses should be horrified—for business reasons and principled ones.
Instead, they’re likely applauding her. That’s why there’s little hope the legacy media can be repaired, leaving the public unsure of who to trust and where to turn for accurate information about basic facts. The self-styled “reliable sources” are too ideological and too unaware of their own ideology to live up to that label.