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Brian Stelter had trouble getting his facts straight at a Disinformation conference.
As part of the “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” event in Chicago (April 6-8), the CNN pundit was challenged by a University of Chicago student over CNN’s news coverage.
The student, Christopher Phillips, pressed Stelter (host of “Reliable Sources”) over CNN’s claim of providing objective journalism.
Phillips’ inquiry put Stelter on the spot after a difficult stretch for the network: facing backlash for aligning with radically woke views and altering their coverage at the demand of guests.
Phillips addressed past headlines covered by CNN, including misinformation related to the Trump Russia collusion story, Jussie Smollett hoax, Hunter Biden’s laptop run-ins and attacking Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Nick Sandmann.
“With mainstream corporate journalists being little more than apologists and cheerleaders for the regime, is it time to finally declare the canon of journalist ethic is dead or no longer operative?” asked Phillips.
He provided a follow-up question for Stelter.
“All the mistakes of mainstream media, CNN in particular, seem to magically all go in one direction, are we expected to believe that this is all just some random coincidence or is there something else behind it?”
Stelter was quick to call the criticism a “right-wing talking point” and nervously laughed off any accountability that Philips sought.
“I think you’re describing a different channel than the one I watch,” Stelter responded.
After playing some defense for CNN, Stelter pivoted to offense.
At a different point in the event, Stelter pulled on the Florida, Disney and supposed anti-LGBTQ bill storyline as a jab to conservatism — perpetrating another sample of misinformation that the young Phillips objected.
“It’s just a symbol for something bigger: A conservative backlash to growing acceptance of gay and transgender people,” Stelter said in opposition to Florida’s bill.
He added, “A conservative fear that traditional beliefs are being trampled on. And there are entire networks that program to this fear and many politicians that react to it.”
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela