It Depends on What the Meaning of “Reliable” Is

bsTCG has seen some strange things on CNN during Jeff Zucker’s reign, but Sunday’s Reliable Sources gets a pretty prominent spot on the wall of weird. And if you think I’m talking about Brian Stelter again hyping the so-called “Fox primary”, I’m not. Though let’s face it, Fox News controversies are like catnip to Mr. Stelter. Didn’t he explore this issue with Gabriel Sherman a few weeks ago? Now here it is again, this time with Hadas Gold of Politico. Interestingly, even at Politico they’re split about the significance of the “Fox primary” or whether it has any effect at all (see Jack Shafer’s take). In fact, Gold doesn’t even call it the “Fox primary”—her piece (written with Jonathan Topaz) looks at talk shows in general. But Stelter saw fit to re-brand it as being about Fox News. I wonder why.

But like I said, that’s not what turned up the weird to “11” on Sunday. It was Stelter’s attempted rehabilitation of Anthony Weiner, by making him a media analyst! The friendly chit-chat neatly side-stepped Weiner’s sleazy escapades via a reference to his experience with a “rough press corps.” That’s right, the blame is subtly shifted to mean journalists picking on him. Then Stelter asks him to comment on the Hillary Clinton campaign—for which Weiner’s wife is a key functionary along with being a close advisor to the candidate herself! Well sure, why not? No conflicts there, right?

But here’s the main point. Anthony Weiner is a liar. Not just an occasional liar but a repeated, profligate liar. His record of untruths is legion among DC journalists. And yet here he is, presented as a trustworthy witness on a show called “Reliable” Sources. In what solar system is this dishonest fabricator regarded as a “reliable” source about anything? His role on this broadcast made a mockery of the show’s title and raison d’etre.

One more thing. Stelter, who as we know can’t resist that Fox catnip, presented a clip (widely circulated by anti-Fox websites) of Andrea Tantaros talking about Hillary’s Chipotle stop, and enthusiastically introduced it with “this is wild.” Liar Weiner happily piled on with comments about “idiotic statements” on Fox News. Neither could recognize a joke when they saw it (the laughter in the clip apparently wasn’t enough of a clue), and TCG is not surprised that they didn’t bother to mention Andrea’s own statement on the matter:

I really thought nobody would be so stupid to think I was serious about Hillary/Chipotle was for Hispanic outreach. I was wrong.

Now there are two more people she was wrong about.

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