Sometimes The Cable Gamer wonders about how shows are named, and how that can reinforce, or sometimes play against, the actual content. That came to mind today watching Reliable Sources, where viewers were regaled with a one-two punch of dubious punditry.
Apparently host Brian Stelter has some sort of nostalgic soft spot for Dan Rather. Mind you, Rather’s career was all but destroyed by a faked document scandal, but he doesn’t even have the patina of renewed respectability that distance and time can provide. Because Mr. Rather is still insisting that his scoop wasn’t debunked at all! Not our idea of a reliable source. In fact it was Reliable‘s Brian Stelter who helped promote the “terrible, terrible” film dramatization of Rather’s version of events by interviewing the man himself at a screening.
But as bad as it was to parade Dan Rather as authoritative on anything, a worse disaster came with television’s most notorious plagiarist, Fareed Zakaria. The Cable Gamer doesn’t know who wrote the predictable talking points he spewed about Brexit, complete with the obligatory references to Fox News. But either Mr. Zakaria didn’t fact-check the sources he cribbed from, or he was wandering off-script in a burst of anti-Fox zealotry. Because he pulled a Shuster.
Explanatory note: Pulling a Shuster is a term that references David Shuster, one-time intrepid reporter for MSNBC, who famously declared that Fox News had been banned in Canada. What’s more he went on to commend the Canadian government for their “smart” decision, thereby endorsing censorship while throwing press freedom under the bus. Shuster’s story wasn’t true, of course, which just made his promotion of it all the more delicious.
Resuming: Yes, Fareed Zakaria pulled a Shuster:
ZAKARIA: The people who wanted Britain to leave were entirely using emotion. They were conjuring up horror stories of millions of refugees comes into Britain, overwhelming the social services, things like that.
STELTER: This is what we see in the tabloids, right, “The Daily Mail”, “The Sun”, the British tabloids, that were supporting a departure from the E.U.
ZAKARIA: Exactly. The British tabloids are basically their FOX News. They don’t have FOX News, but they have the tabloids.
That will come as a surprise to the people in the UK, where BSkyB has been carrying Fox News for at least a decade. It’s right there on channel 509, just a few slots away from CNN and CNBC:
Zakaria went on to defend the media, saying they have “a bias in favor of facts…a bias in favor of authentic, legitimate experts who are providing data.” Facts like there’s no Fox News in England? How did Zakaria come up with that data anyhow? Maybe he read it somewhere.