Why we hate the media: Russia-gate was a lie

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Brian Stelter is the host of "Reliable Sources" on CNN.
Brian Stelter is the host of “Reliable Sources” on CNN. (Image captured from YouTube)

The mainstream media has long been hailed by most Americans as a clown show. Talking heads telling viewers what to think, rather than giving them the information they need to make responsible decisions for themselves. 

It’s become apparent no matter which major outlet you choose to get your news. Whether it’s Brian Stelter telling us why he and his peers shouldn’t be blamed for deliberately false reporting about Russia-gate or other hoaxes, or Fox News talking heads cheerleading for the Right, it’s beyond transparent that these news outlets have made entertainment and revenue their top priority.  The only issue – they still can count on those who will take everything they say as if it were sacred truth, no matter the narrative. 

This is becoming most obvious with the Russia-gate narrative. Born in 2016 ahead of the General Election, Democrats began sending messages to Americans through media outlets that Russia was trying to affect the outcome of the race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. As weeks passed, the narrative grew stronger, and eventually transformed into Russia helping Trump by spamming Americans with countless ads on the internet. Because everyone knows responsible voters get all of their information from Facebook ads. 

As it turns out, one of the people responsible for peddling the false narrative, who also happens to be an attorney that represents the former Secretary of State and her husband the former president, was arrested this past September for lying to the FBI. This is the same FBI that refused to prosecute Mrs. Clinton for sharing classified information over a private server. This is also the same FBI that saw some of its own members contribute to the false narrative. This is the same FBI that has had participation in things such as the plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer and the “insurrection” that took place this past January. You won’t hear about any of this from the mainstream media. 

The media also participated in the false Russia-gate narrative. Even long after the election, when Congress appointed Robert Mueller to investigate possible Trump-Russia connections before the election, these outlets consistently told their viewers that the plot was real, that Trump and his campaign had colluded with Russia to steal the election from Clinton. 

But despite no evidence of a conspiracy, these outlets have not taken accountability for getting it all wrong. Instead, they are relying on an alleged Senate Intelligence Committee report that supposedly “vindicates” the mainstream media. Being Libertarian has not yet seen this report, but is currently working to learn if Adam Schiff wrote it. 

It should come as no surprise that things played out this way. Most with common sense likely knew that Trump wasn’t capable of pulling off the biggest election scandal on the planet without jeopardizing his chances at winning. But plenty of Americans still participated in the drama and suspense that Russia-gate provided. Cable news networks, most notably CNN and MSNBC, enjoyed the extra revenue provided by a handsome bounty of clicks and ratings. Who has time for factual reporting when you can just trick people into believing you? 

One of the most glaring examples of media dishonesty comes from Brian Stelter, a CNN pundit who hails himself as an expert on affairs involving the mainstream media. This is the man who once defended media outlets for sharing a child’s face and name, while cheering on those who wanted to cause this kid harm. 

In 2020, when cracks in the Russia-gate narrative were being exposed, Stelter tried to remove himself from wrongdoing, thus removing himself from accountability. He went on a nationally-syndicated radio show to promote a book he had written about media dishonesty at Fox News. Dishonest recognizes dishonest, maybe? The show host, Hugh Hewitt, pressed him on his own network’s reporting of the now-debunked Steele Dossier, which was the only document lending “evidence” to collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. 

Stelter pretended to be unaware about the authenticity of the dossier’s content, saying he is a media reporter and not a dossier reporter. But there’s one issue with that defense – his own network reported so many times that the dossier’s contents were real and Trump was a criminal. Their viewers repeated it nonstop. Is this supposed to be responsible journalism, or did CNN find a way to make their reporting seem more interesting, even if it wasn’t honest? 

We at Being Libertarian ask our readers to go back and look at Russia-gate coverage from multiple outlets. Compare the reporting. How many outlets said the same things about Trump and Russia, despite not having substantial evidence? If Stelter’s network reported from a right-wing perspective, we would call it Q-Anon. His network is just as credible as Q-Anon. CNN’s viewers are just as informed about the world around them as Q-Anon. 

This is a new segment we are starting that will examine these lies and half-truths that come from corporate new networks. These networks answer only to the bottom line, and it’s obvious when you see their content. 

To other talking heads, your article will come. It’s only right to begin this by looking at the so-called face of journalistic integrity. Like his sources, his reporting is not reliable. He should not be taken seriously. 

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Mike Ursery

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