Basically Stelter wants to criticize the administration for listening to him.
All year we have witnessed the press playing a ‘’gotcha’’ game with President Trump and the administration in regards to the pandemic. The media figures have behaved in two overlapping ways; they will play both sides of a Covid-related issue in order to criticize Trump and/or they will change the narrative 180 degrees – also in order to criticize Trump. Facts and public service are an afterthought.
Now Brian Stelter is taking that technique to the next extreme, this time by reverting back and adopting an original position held by him and his acolytes in the press. With a spike in new Covid cases being wildly hyped in the press — not at all relating to the coming election, nope — Stelter is bemoaning the fact that the administration is not holding regular press briefing on the issue.
Someday we're going to look back and wonder, why wasn't the president leading daily coronavirus task force briefings from the White House when the virus ripped across the country in late October of 2020?
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 30, 2020
What we are seeing here is Stelter making a full 360 on this issue, now opposing the very stance he once held on the matter of briefings, which itself was in opposition to his previous call for briefings. Let us recall the media timeline on this matter. When the administration formed the Coronavirus Task Force back in January (this would be at a time of great viral response activity when the press claimed Trump was doing nothing until April) soon after the media was declaring it a requirement that the administration hold regular press briefings to keep the public safe and informed.
The White House complied, and daily pressers with various figures were held. Then something horrible and grievous took place; Trump’s approval numbers shot up. The public had the chance to see firsthand what the Administration was doing and it was met with public support. So the press had to work on shutting these down. By March many major outlets declared this had to stop — The New York Times, The Washington Post, Morning Joe, Rachel Maddow, The Atlantic, among the long list.
Add to that tabulation Brian Stelter. He and his network did their efforts to also have the press back away from these daily press briefings. There were reports of mewling from staffers at the network, but Stelter himself began to make lobbying efforts on his own.
My two cents: There should be daily televised WH briefings *led by doctors and scientists.* When the briefings veer into Trump rally territory, they lose value. https://t.co/hE4pRXsDXu
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 24, 2020
Over the last two weeks, Trump has turned "the all-but-abandoned briefing room into the set of a largely unscripted television series that has gripped, worried and (depending on one’s political affiliation) infuriated viewers," @michaelkruse writes https://t.co/2psj5zQU8f
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 25, 2020
Then later, on his Reliable Sources program Brian gave his own editorial on the matter, declaring the Trump briefing were not a valid source of Covid intel.
Note the feint that took place there? Stelter claims Trump is not ‘’framing’’ information accurately at the briefings, and he holds up as proof an appearance Trump made on a Fox pundit’s program. The efforts paid off. CNN joined a number of other news outlets in their refusal to run the briefings any longer. The desire for the outlets to control the messaging was clear, and it was exposed just one month later. The still ran live press briefings, but not from the White House — they turned over their airwaves to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
CNN and MSNBC continue to not air the White House press briefing. This is absurd, hurts their viewers, and hurts their ability to describe themselves as news networks.
Meanwhile CNN airs Gov. Cuomo’s press briefing every single day. https://t.co/G8dKW7ekhV
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) May 12, 2020
In the most brazen example of the press trying to have it both ways to scorch Trump, Don Lemon expressed some convenient outrage. After this coordinated embargo on the Covid briefings by many major news outlets CNN’s host had the temerity to come out and declare that it was outrageous for the White House to curtail the press briefings — which the networks refused to cover.
“You may think it’s over because if you actually pay attention to what’s happening in Washington with this administration, not having the briefings, trying to — pretending that this is over because they want to move on to other things. So not having those briefings, that’s all part of the plan for you to think that this is over, that we have moved beyond this.”
Amazing. They need the briefings, they get the briefings, they complain about the briefings, they refuse to cover the briefings, then complain there are no more briefings. And now Brian Stelter is echoing this boomerang mentality today. The press is not in the business of informing the population, they are working a concerted effort to undermine Trump, nothing more.
This wavering standard, the perpetual realignment of the political goalposts, is something that even members of the press have encountered. It is one thing for us to point out when the media are contradicting their own commands, but when other journalists note the ever-shifting rules within their own industry you know that something screwed up is taking place. Josh Gerstein, of Politico noted this back in April.
Hard for me to keep up with which of us should and should not be attending or writing about briefings that we are not supposed to be covering https://t.co/mCb7vM3mEA
— Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) April 1, 2020
What is taking place is the puerile practice of the press slamming Trump for doing what they demanded he do. When the rulebook is constantly changed you get to a point when it is not even a case of the goalposts being moved, it becomes evident that the referees are attempting to call the plays. When that happens the fans stop playing along, and they exit the stadium. CNN’s ratings certainly prove this is taking place.