Every time one of the Parkland students appears in front of a camera or hits the “tweet” button on Twitter, we’re further shown their ignorance on guns, mixed with their youthful impetuousness.
While the general public may consistently correct them in the free-wheeling(ish) world of social media, when the likes of David Hogg or Cameron Casky appear on a televised show, it’s up to the host or anchor to correct the record.
Only, many anchors and show hosts have taken on the role of activist. This results in much of the misinformation spread by Hogg and his peers to go completely unchallenged into the mainstream, where it hops into a fighter jet and gets halfway around the world before the truth can gas up the Cessna.
Due to the quickness with which the Parkland student activists were thrust into the spotlight, and the bubble within which their handlers keep them well secured, I won’t immediately reach the conclusion that the kids themselves are lying. There’s a lot that they say and do that tells me these kids are being fed misinformation and instructed to repeat it.
However, when an anchor hears the misinformation or factual error and fails to correct it in that moment, then that misinformation becomes a lie. It becomes a lie on the part of the host and the network.
And that’s entirely what CNN’s Brian Stelter of the ironically named Reliable Sources admitted to while on HLN’s S.E. Cupp Unfiltered.
According to Newsbusters, Stelter and Cupp were discussing the wisdom of putting these kids so far into the spotlight with zero attempts at policy change to show for it.
That’s when Stelter blurted out his journalistic sin:
Stelter’s admission came after host S.E. Cupp questioned him about the wisdom of the media’s obsession with elevating only the kids pushing gun control. “Brian, we as a business have been giving these kids a lot of coverage. All the networks have in some way or another,” she explained, noting boringness of nuanced policy. “But the policies is the tough part. Do you think in showing these kids so often, as often as we all do, we’re doing actually them a disservice because the policy is actually what’s going to change this?”
And with no sort of trickery from Cupp, Stelter just blurted out that he let the gun control advocate get away with lying to CNN’s viewers. “A disservice is a strong word, but when I was interviewing David Hogg only ten days after the massacre, there were a few times I wanted to jump in and say let’s correct that fact,” he said.
Cupp immediately wanted to know if Stelter ever corrected the record. According to Stelter, he let most of the lies stand as truth and just tried to make excuses. “And at one of the times I did and other times I did not. There’s always that balance, how many times you’re going to interrupt,” he argued. A blatant double standard that would not fly if Hogg was from the right or someone on Fox News.
Stelter could only remember one time where he corrected Hogg’s words, and that was when he referred to NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch as the CEO of the NRA. He then turned around and attempted to defend his allowing lies to go unopposed on his show.
“I think we have to recognize where David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez are coming from. There has been an increase in the lethality of mass shootings in recent years in this country. The so-called top ten list of horrors is very, very ugly and very recent,” said Stelter. “I do think they are trying to raise awareness of that.”
We know with demonstrable certainty that CNN is a biased network. As I’ve covered in the past, not only in CNN deliberately biased against the right, it goes so far as to call right-leaning media outlets “propaganda machines” as the network assists foreign dictators in spreading their propaganda within their countries.
That they are willing to spread a lie is nothing new. However, what’s disgusting is that they would allow victims of an atrocity to spread the lie. Not just once, but many times. The use of a misinformed teen that had been a survivor of a school shooting to push an agenda multiple times says quite a bit about, not just Stelter, but the network in general.