In a rare moment of introspection, CNN’s Brian Stelter mused aloud on Twitter Monday whether the media can set aside “speculation” in favor of actual news reporting, following Bob Mueller’s bombshell revelation this weekend that his nearly two-year investigation turned up zero evidence that President Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia to rig to 2016 election.
Over those two years, the rabidly anti-Trump media machine poured gallons of gasoline on any number of conspiracy theories surrounding the Trump-Russia probe, including, among others, baseless claims that Donald Trump, Jr. colluded with Wikileaks on the Hillary Clinton email dump, that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Russia meddled in the election, the ridiculous Steele dossier, Buzzfeed’s claim that Trump had directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a Moscow business deal, and allegations that Trump had advance knowledge about a Trump Tower meeting between his son and Russians.
After nearly two years of wild speculation, Stelter now wonders if “there are ways to change” the media’s love of spinning crazy theories in favor of reporting facts.
There's been so much solid reporting about the Trump-Russia mystery, but the media ecosystem tends to reward speculation over straight news. Are there ways to change this? https://t.co/zwJrobFpOe— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 25, 2019
But of course, it can’t simply be that easy.
In the accompanying op-ed for CNN, Stelter points yet another self-righteous finger at the president and “right-wing pundits and members of Trump's inner circle” for “pushing journalists to apologize for the media's coverage of the Mueller probe,” even though so much of it turned out to be completely wrong.
“We live in a big wild world of ‘media,’” Stelter attempted, proving yet again that the first stage of grief is denial. “Try to tune out the partisans who paint with a broad brush — the ones who cherry-pick individual errors and try to punish the press as a whole. The rhetoric from folks like Donald Trump Jr. is predictable and cynical — they just want the ‘media’ to be the enemy.”
This despite the fact that a thorough Newsbusters analysis of ABC, NBC and CBS found that their nearly 2,300 minutes of combined coverage into the Mueller probe over the past two years was more than 90 percent negative.
Gosh, Brian. If you’re looking for a starting point for the media to begin slowly rebuilding some credibility, I suggest getting a mirror.