Media debate Biden’s unity call
Riding a wave of praise from press.
CNN’s media correspondent Brian Stelter has already vouched for the Biden White House’s relationship with the truth, praising new press secretary Jen Psaki’s “refreshing” commitment to delivering accurate information.
Stelter shared a chyron from Sunday’s episode of his show “Reliable Sources” that read, “Psaki promises to share ‘accurate info’ (How refreshing).” To drive the point home, he tweeted “(How refreshing).”
Stelter made sure to let his Twitter followers know he wrote the graphic about Psaki, a former CNN commentator and longtime Democratic flack. Psaki has pledged to hold daily press briefings, a break from the Trump White House, which essentially mothballed the longstanding practice.
Stelter’s credulousness is part of a pattern from his network and other outlets to preemptively declare the Biden White House a den of truth-telling. CNN White House correspondent John Harwood tweeted that “truth” and “knowledge” were back on the day Biden was inaugurated.
However, CNN has already botched a story using Biden sources. In a widely shared article, the liberal outlet quoted two anonymous sources last week who claimed the Trump administration had left no vaccine distribution plan for its successor, only to be refuted by other reporters and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Among Stelter’s reliable sources to bolster Psaki’s case was a former colleague of hers in the Obama administration, Jay Carney. After 20 years at TIME Magazine, Carney served as then-Vice President Biden’s communications director from 2009 to 2011 and President Obama’s second press secretary from 2011 to 2014.
“The Biden administration telegraphed early how they were going to be honest,” Carney said. “Instead of spinning, they’ve been clear about COVID-19, that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Deposits in the integrity bank.”
Stelter spent much of the first week of the Biden administration boosting its communication department and delighting in its departure in tone from the Trump era. He at one point fretted “anti-Democratic media outlets” would “muddy” Biden’s first week with fake scandals. On his first show of the Biden era, he declared that the Biden White House was a “break from the chaos and incompetence of Trump world.”
On his show Sunday, he fretted that Biden’s call for “unity” would be impossible due to a lack of cooperation from right-wing media outlets.
Critics on the right panned Stelter’s “refreshing” language.
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Stelter has been at CNN since 2013.
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