CNN’s resident cry-baby Brian Stelter desperately defended Hillary Clinton this week after court documents show her campaign tried to “infiltrate” Trump Tower, dismissing the report as an “explosion of false claims.”
“The actual court filing at issue is much less newsworthy than the explosion of false claims that have ricocheted from it. Reporters who went down the rabbit hole to examine the evidence found something very different from what Trump and his media allies said. That should have been the end of it — but instead the careful reporting became fodder for commentators to allege a media cover-up. That’s why it is worth examining this as a media phenomenon and an example of how talking points are spread by a massive media apparatus and shared by millions of consumers,” writes Stelter.
But the frenzied chatter by Trump cheerleaders asserted otherwise. And incendiary talk, not news, is what drives right-wing outlets like Fox.
Trump’s Saturday night statement alluding to death penalty crimes cemented the weekend’s right-wing storyline. On Sunday morning Fox ran an inaccurate banner on TV that said “Durham: Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid tech company to ‘infiltrate’ Trump servers to link Trump to Russia.” But that’s not what the court filing asserted. And even though the banner had the word “infiltrate” in quotes, the filing did not actually include the word.
Before normal news outlets even began to write about the court filing, Fox’s abnormal operation ran a Sunday afternoon segment titled “MEDIA IGNORES DURHAM BOMBSHELL.” That segment, coupled with Fox’s massive coverage, inadvertently showed what was really going on. Fox’s networks mentioned Durham at least 30 times over the weekend, 80-plus times on Monday and 55 times on Tuesday, according to TVEyes data. Almost all of the coverage was political talk driven by hosts and guests, not news reporting by correspondents.
Through all the hype by Fox and social media, it became canon on the right: This was a major story, a scandal dwarfing Watergate, and the only possible reason other outlets hadn’t covered it is that they were part of a cover-up.