Brian Stelter Delivers a Deeply Important Lecture, but Ends up Condemning Himself Instead

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Why not close out the year with a Brian Stelter rant that displays a magnificent lack of self-awareness

What can be said of the man who deeply enjoys pontificating with condescension on matters of the media all the while pretending he is not among the guiltiest of parties to the very topics he covers? Brian Stelter savors delivering screeds and monologues condemning certain actions and behaviors seen in the press, all while eliding and avoiding those very actions taking place within his network, and sometimes on his own program. 

On his recent broadcast of Reliable Sources, Brian spoke at length about bad news and how an overload may take place if we, the consumers, are not careful. It could be looked at as insightful, although it also can be seen as a rather common concern, and it certainly is a list of possible grievances that would apply to CNN and Stelter’s very own show. To borrow from Brian’s predilection for bumper-sticker bromides — the man is big on inspection, but he lacks serious introspection. (See what I did there?)

Here is the video snippet, to give you a sample of the mid-minded wisdom.

So much to untruck here. To start, there was a lingering chyron from the previous segment that holds a serving of relevance. Don’t be fooled by The Onion’s fake news. This is a pithy example of the way the media approaches things differently based on the source. The Onion is regarded as an approved satire outlet, unlike The Babylon Bee, which is a right-leaning and religious satire site. With the former, it is a cautionary buyer beware lesson, reminding the reader to understand it is a humor site. The Babylon Bee on the other hand is routinely accused of delivering intentionally misleading information that it “claims” is humor-based. 

Brian begins his segment by bringing up the topic of news overload. He speaks of it in calm, concerning tones because he cares about his viewers. He is concerned with this news overload, you see, from his show that plays on a 24-hour news network.

Brian goes on to talk about us being inundated with bad news, and we are left wondering who to trust. Yes – he seriously said this on the air at CNN. The network that claimed Donald Trump left no vaccine distribution plan, that repeated the false story of Ivermectin poisonings flooding hospitals, and spent a week reporting on the border agents whipping immigrants — which never took place — is concerned about you placing your trust correctly.

The crux of Stelter’s lesson is how we are possibly overloaded with a tidal wave of news and information. Technology has made this possible and only manages to deliver more waves on information with which to drown us. This anxiety is hardly original. In the bestseller from 1970, “Future Shock,” author Alvin Toffler addressed these very themes of being consumed by a technological tsunami. He even coined the term information overload in his work, 50 years ago. Even as many of Toffler’s observations and slight predictions have managed to come to fruition, we have managed to survive as a society.

Now, I won’t dwell too extensively on Brian Stelter making mention how, “Our brains, just like our bellies, are wired for scarcity…” I’ll just dwell briefly. It is apparent he has overwritten that scarcity program, if you will, and his lack of self-control visage is made evident in his words. He goes on at length about the tendency of people to delve into the bad-news cycle, and this becomes the most oblivious section of his lesson.

Consider the two biggest complaints Stelter has lodged with his favorite obsession, Fox News. Throughout the year he has perpetually complained that Fox has not been dramatic enough of the horrors of the pandemic, and that news outlet has downplayed the severity of the riot at the Capitol in January. The man who is bemoaning the dire case of Americans being infected by an overdose of bad news has spent this entire year complaining Fox News has not been hysterical enough about these negative news items.

Today we are seeing multiple stories in the news complex which months prior were deemed grounds to be de-platformed. Vaccinated people can contract COVID, a mass public infection rate is probable and needed, and keeping children out of school has been an emotionally crippling experience for many. These truisms were shouted down by the bad news merchants like CNN, and anyone expressing these views became branded with negative labels.

Brian & Co. have been harping on the Capitol riot for nearly a full year, exaggerating the level of import that event had and using it as the fulcrum to declare any conservative opposition as an example of a threat to our democracy. He and his acolytes have freely declared all participants on January 6 as guilty of being “insurrectionists”, despite the fact that of the hundreds of people arrested not a single one has been charged with that crime. They thrive on the bad news and hysterics, and they heap scorn on Fox for not being appropriately melodramatic.

This masterclass from Stelter is as laughable as it is easily dismissed. I would sooner listen to him deliver a treatise on the benefits of eating rice cakes, but I would still have the same level of skepticism. I will need to see proof that he is consuming the very product he is touting before I consider ingesting the same for myself.