Kitchen Nightmares

cnn_rs_deray_150524a1-800x430-696x374Brian Stelter’s nightly media newsletter has become a daily read for those who want to keep up with the left-of-center establishment view of the press. (His twitter feed is a more immediate, relentless travel down the same anti-Trump boulevards.) So The Cable Gamer wasn’t surprised to see Mr. Stelter promoting a restaurant review, because it was a Trump restaurant and the review pretty much trashed the place:

How Vanity Fair sought to protect its… restaurant reviewer
Many journalists have been singled out and harassed by people who call themselves Trump supporters, so Vanity Fair’s Tina Nguyen was “worried I would be doxxed” when her scathing restaurant review of Trump Grill made national news last week. (Trump, it seemed, tweeted his dislike of VF shortly after Nguyen’s review was published.)

So here’s what VF did to help her. CJR’s Pete Vernon is right that other news outlets should pay attention to this: When Trump tweeted, “the Vanity Fair public relations team quickly contacted Nguyen. ‘They kept an eye out for anyone who tried to release my address or my phone number or even tried to call me through the Condé [Nast] switchboard,’ she says. ‘They were on top of their game, so big credit to them.'”

Note Mr. Stelter’s bold-type headline, alerting readers that Trump supporters are such neanderthals that they even endanger innocent food critics. Only that’s not really true. Tina Nguyen is not Vanity Fair‘s “restaurant reviewer.” At least Vanity Fair doesn’t I.D. her that way:

Tina Nguyen is a reporter for The Hive, covering politics and the media.

And all it takes is a scroll through the last six months of her articles (well over 250 of them) to see the focus is politics and the media, just like Vanity Fair says, with a distinct anti-Trump flavor:

  • Disgraced Ex-General David Petraeus Auditions for Trump
  • Steve Bannon May Take Down All of the G.O.P.’s Rising Stars
  • Is Donald Trump Turning the U.S. into a Banana Republic?
  • Amid all the Horror, There Were Some Slivers of Good News Last Night (post-election report)
  • Trump’s New Hampshire Hail Mary: Claim Tom Brady Voted for Him, After All
  • A Man Donald Trump Has “Never Heard of” Could Cost Him the Election
  • Huge Surge in Early Voting Could Be Good News for Clinton
  • Will Reince Priebus Lose His Job Over Donald Trump?
  • For G.O.P., Trump Derangement Syndrome Could Prove Fatal
  • Report: Trump Prepares for Crucial Debate by Staying at Home, Watching Cable News, and Being Mad
  • Trump Accuses Hillary of Cheating on Bill in Bizarre Sexist Rant
  • Even Fox News Thinks Sean Hannity Went Too Far This Time
  • Giuliani Makes Bizarre Birther Claim, Admits He Has No Evidence Clinton Is Sick
  • Trump’s Hispanic Advisers Are Reportedly Prepared to Flee
  • Clinton Is Clobbering Trump in Swing States He Thought He Was Winning
  • Life-Size Cast Reveals Donald Trump’s Hands Are, in Fact, Short-Fingered
  • Donald Trump Whiffs Golden Opportunity to Destroy Clinton

But wait, where are the restaurant reviews from the writer Brian Stelter tells us is Vanity Fair‘s restaurant reviewer? Well, there aren’t any. Except for one. And just by chance, it happens to be about a Donald Trump restaurant:

Trump Grill Could Be the Worst Restaurant in America

The writer of those other 250+ articles sounds like the ideal “restaurant reviewer” to pen a fair and balanced review of a Trump restaurant, right? Brian Stelter thinks so. And he thought so highly of the steps Vanity Fair took to protect her from unspecified dangers posed by treacherous fans of Trump or his restaurant that he asked “other news outlets” to “pay attention” to them. But Brian Stelter forgot to mention a point about this controversy that was reported by CJR‘s Pete Vernon:

Nguyen says the threats she feared have not materialized, and she has received congratulations from around the industry.

Translation: The threats were imagined, or concocted for publicity purposes, but in any case proved to be nonexistent. For some reason this didn’t make it into Brian Stelter’s newsletter. Perhaps for reasons of space. Or perhaps because that might spoil the purpose of the entry: to paint another harum-scarum portrait of those dangerous, menacing Trump supporters.

Note this tweet:

Yes, the Vanity Fair PR team did achieve their purpose. And Jason Kint fretted that a poor innocent restaurant critic needed all this protection “simply for reviewing PEOTUS’s restaurant.” As your Cable Gamer has demonstrated, it wasn’t needed at all, because the nightmare scenario was wholly imaginary. There were no threats whatsoever. Yet Kint was convinced otherwise, because that’s how Stelter worded it. And if you have any doubt that Stelter intended readers to draw that conclusion, consider that he RT’d Kint’s tweet, complete with its erroneous, non-fact-based conclusion:


So even more people got the same fallacious impression that a mild-mannered, apolitical “restaurant reviewer” was placed in danger for just writing another bad review of another eatery. Just as Stelter intended.

A few lines below Stelter’s mendacious entry on Vanity Fair‘s “restaurant reviewer,” CNN’s media critic made sure to update readers on another problem: fake news. In the words of Commissioner Gordon: “The mind reels.”


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