On Sunday's edition of “Reliable Sources,” CNN's weekly show about the media's role in the week's news, host Brian Stelter led a panel that started as a discussion of the utility of the White House Press Briefings in 2017. After a few minutes, though, former New York Observer editor Ken Kurson took the conversation in a different direction.
“I think [the briefings] are a waste of time because they're so canned,” he began. Stelter asked if that's “the fault of the Trump White House” since “if they're not asking questions, that's not the reporters' fault.” Kurson began saying that the media is the opposition to Trump, which Stelter interrupted by saying, “That's your idea,” but Kurson continued.
His argument was not simply that reporters are anti-Trump. “It's no longer that the Republican point of view holds forth, then the Democrats hold them accountable, and the media covers it,” he began. “It's that the president and the White House put forth their point of view, the media argues with them, and the Democrats have become totally irrelevant to that discussion.”
Stelter seemingly agreed with Kurson's comment that it's been “stunning” to see the Democratic Party take itself out of the discussion, but he objected to Kurson saying that “the press has assigned itself” to “undoing the results of this election.” Stelter also challenged Kurson when he cited opinion columnists as opposed to reporters.
Kurson then invoked reporters' behavior on social media as troubling in his view.
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“During these breaks, when I watch you go on Twitter, the way journalists reward each other for stabbing and needling, there's a new system of reward that's out there for journalists that has very little to do with policy and very little to do with advancing this country.”
When Kurson agreed with Stelter that the press must hold the president accountable for lying, the host appeared confused. They continued to go back and forth about opinion columns vs. fact-based reporting, and for the balance of the segment, the panel went back to the topic of the daily briefings.
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