It's no secret that media coverage — and, in particular, its approach to President Donald Trump — has become a story in itself as of late.
On Thursday, Brian Stelter, host of CNN's “Reliable Sources,” tackled that topic himself, harshly criticizing recent “right-wing” coverage of “the threat that James Comey poses to President Trump.”
As Stelter told fellow CNN host Anderson Cooper, between “downplay, deflect and deny, conservative types are at it again”:
After Cooper opened the segment by saying that “the right-wing media, in general, has adopted a strategy to try to convince its customers, including the president, that there's no 'there' there,” Stelter replied:
"It’s all about providing a counter-narrative. The Trump White House helps do this.
But it’s pro-Trump media that helps do this — provide a counter-narrative to share on their Facebook pages, share on Twitter, and to discuss with their friends.
I think we feel more and more we’re in these echo chambers, we’re in these filter bubbles where people are sharing views that they agree with."
Cooper, who was clearly in full agreement, said that some networks “just ignored it on some nights,” and that “on some of the programs that chose on Fox to actually report on it their ratings went down.”
Stelter, in turn, agreed with his colleague, saying:
“Indeed ... This is about providing the customers what they want. That might not be the best thing though in a democracy to so focus on what the customers want as opposed to news consumers or more importantly voters, viewers.”
Fox News's ratings dip was something that the CNN host was sure to point out on social media, as well:
Interestingly enough, veteran anchor Tom Brokaw recently clashed over the same topic with MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell.
After Mitchell said that there was “a sense of crisis” following Trump's firing of FBI Director Comey — suggesting it was akin to the Watergate scandal — Brokaw replied:
"One of the things that I learned during Watergate ... is that we dealt with it every day on a factual basis. There was not a lot of speculation. Now, of course, the media landscape has changed a lot, and we have that going on 24/7.
I do think, however, that all of us as reporters have to take a deep breath and say let's deal with the facts as we know them at this point."
Despite Stelter and Cooper's criticism of “right-wing” network coverage, however, it's worth noting that America's trust has recently reached an all-time low in the mass media as a whole, not just those that pander to specific political leanings.
As Brokaw suggests, the media landscape — whether “right-wing,” “mainstream” or otherwise — could very well benefit from a renewed focus on dealing “with the facts as we know them,” rather than so much “speculation.”