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CNN’s left-wing media correspondent Brian Stelter was visibly uncomfortable when confronted by a college freshman about his network being a “purveyor of disinformation.”
Stelter visited the University of Chicago on Thursday to participate in a panel discussion at the “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference.
Christopher Phillips, a college freshman at the university and writer at the conservative and libertarian newspaper The Chicago Thinker, confronted the CNN star, who has accused others of pushing “disinformation.”
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“They push the Russian collusion hoax, they push the Jussie Smollett hoax, they smear Justice Kavanaugh as a rapist, and they also smeared Nick Sandmann as a White supremacist. And yes, they dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop affair as pure Russian disinformation,” Phillips told Stelter. “With mainstream corporate journalists becoming little more than apologists and cheerleaders for the regime, is it time to finally declare that the canon of journalistic ethics is dead or no longer operative?”
Phillips continued, “All the mistakes of the mainstream media and CNN, in particular, seem to magically all go in one direction. Are we expected to believe that this is all just some sort of random coincidence or is there something else behind it?”
Stelter, who appeared to be sporting a nice tan despite the overcast weather in Chicago, responded nervously by quipping, “It’s time for lunch.”
“There’s a clock that says 30 seconds, but I think my honest answer to you, and I will come over and talk in more detail after this… I understand that that is a popular right-wing narrative about CNN,” Stelter said. “I think it’s important, when talking about shared reality and democracy, all these networks all these news outlets have to defend democracy. And when they screw up, admit it.”
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Stelter continued avoiding Phillips’ line of questioning by pivoting to CNN assisting Fox News in Ukraine following the deadly attack on the Fox News team last month, showing how news outlets “work together,” which is something Stelter said, “we don’t talk about it enough.”
“And with regards to the regime, I think you mean President Biden? The last time I spoke with a Biden aide, we yelled at each other. So that’s the reality of the news business, that people don’t see, that people don’t hear,” Stelter said. “They imagine that it’s a situation that simply is not. But I think your question, it speaks to the failure of journalism to show our work and show the reality of how our profession operates. We have a lot of work to do, I think.”
Phillips later thanked Stelter for following up with him after the panel discussion, but tweeted, “I am STILL wondering: if CNN is truly unbiased, WHY is every mistake they make an overstep in favor of Democrats and against Republicans??”
Stelter failed to address the substance of the questions asked by the student during the panel, particularly the list of falsehoods CNN peddled in recent years.
CNN, among the other liberal networks, famously pushed the Russian collusion narrative for much of the Trump presidency, offered sympathetic coverage towards disgraced actor Jussie Smollett, who was convicted for orchestrating a hate crime hoax, and elevated unsubstantiated claims that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was a gang rapist during his 2018 confirmation hearing.
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The network was also forced to settle a defamation lawsuit against former Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann, who the network portrayed as being a racially-motivated aggressor towards a Native American elder in a viral exchange.
Additionally, CNN famously spiked the New York Post’s bombshell reporting on Hunter Biden during the final weeks of the 2020 presidential election.