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Unreliable Sources

Brian Stelter may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he still thinks he’s smarter than his audience.

You remember that scene from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown? You know, the one where Lucy is holding a football and she wants Charlie Brown to come running over and kick it? “I don’t mind your dishonesty,” he tells her, knowing that all she wants to do is pull the ball away at the last second so she can watch him land flat on his back and kill himself, “half as much as I mind your opinion of me. You must think I’m stupid.”

I’m thinking that Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s ironically-titled show Reliable Sources, has been getting into the Halloween spirit a little early this year, because he clearly has the same opinion of his audience. Stelter, you see, found himself in something of a pickle after one of his guests, a psychiatrist named Dr. Allen Frances, went on an anti-Trump rant that got just a a little more deranged than usual—all while Stelter sat there and didn’t even bat an eye.

Mind you, this isn’t the first time Dr. Frances has engaged in these sorts of histrionics—his Twitter feed is a veritable cornucopia of “Trump is literally Hitler” goodness—so it only stands to reason that Stelter wouldn’t get his Underoos in a bunch at hearing such an incendiary accusation, especially one offered without any evidence whatsoever. I mean, this is Trump we’re talking about! It’s not like we have to get the facts straight before we accuse him of genocide, right?

Alas, Stelter got considerable blowback—much more than you would think, given his rather minuscule ratings—over not telling Allen, “Slow down there, hoss. Whadya mean, millions of deaths?” And so he scrambled to do a little damage control, offering this excuse as to why he didn’t chide a guest invited to his show to savage Trump for. . .well, savaging Trump:

Never mind that Stelter has a whole production crew behind the scenes that could be yelling in his ear, “Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” And never mind that CNN actually promoted the segment on social media after it aired. It was a technical glitch—rather than inviting on the craziest psychiatrist since Hannibal Lecter to spew exactly the kind of bile Stelter expected—that caused him to make the whole network look bad.

If you’re buying that, here are some more excuses you might find credible.

So much like the college professor who claimed her Twitter got hacked after she got busted spreading fake news about Olive Garden donating to President Trump, or Joy Reid claiming her old blog got hacked when some of her unflattering posts about gays resurfaced, Stelter is refusing to take responsibility for his actions—even when the evidence, not to mention his history of less-than-reliable reporting, strongly suggest that he’s being disingenuous here. That doesn’t say much for CNN’s overall assessment of its audience’s IQ, not to mention the value they place on their own credibility.

So. . .anybody else feel like kicking the ol’ football?

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