CNN’s “Reliable Sources” is the network’s weekly look at media news, closed with a segment on the increase in attacks on the media as an institution as well as, more specifically, threats against reporters. Host Brian Stelter, in delivering an editorial, argued that current anti-media sentiment is about eliminating journalism, not improving it.
“The solution to more journalism is poor journalism,” he began. “But some people want less of it, or none of it. They want to stamp out journalism altogether. Now, do you think I’m exaggerating? I don’t think I am … there’s a big difference between well-meaning people skeptical of the press … and then those who … don’t want it to exist.”
“Here’s how I see it,” he continued. “Skepticism is healthy. Constructive criticism makes newsrooms better; we need it! This is a pro-journalism point of view. When I make a mistake, or don’t challenge a guest enough, or cut somebody off, your emails — I get ’em — they help me improve. But it’s not constructive, it’s not pro-journalism, to promote hatred of journalists.”
Stelter then played a clip of Paul LePage, the Republican governor of Maine, strongly implying that he makes up stories that he feeds to reporters to discredit them, adding that “I’m sorry, but I’d tell you the sooner the print press goes away the better society will be,” Stelter noted that while not new, “that is an anti-journalism mentality.”
“These anti-journalism tactics are not aimed at eradicating bias, or improving news coverage, or even creating alternative sources,” he concluded. “These attacks are about eliminating news coverage. I’m sorry to say, these people, these trolls, are media illiterate: They don’t really know how newsrooms work.”
Stelter suggested that media companies need to prioritize media literacy as a result so there’s a better understanding of how the reporting process works.