PBS NewsHour was the latest stop on Brian Stelter’s Candy Land tour of puffball interviews promoting his Fox-trashing book Hoax. Just like NPR host Terry Gross, PBS anchor Judy Woodruff laid out a soft cheese plate of publicist’s questions on Thursday for the CNN host, who’s obviously jealous of Fox’s much-bigger ratings.
Woodruff’s most painful observation was that Fox News led all of cable television in the ratings this summer — not just cable news, but all of cable TV. Sadly, Stelter had to insult Fox’s millions of viewers as a bunch of white Christian bigots:
WOODRUFF: You write extensively about how dangerous this is. What are the consequences you see? And why do you think this program is so successful? As we said, their programming over the summer most-watched of all television anywhere.
BRIAN STELTER: Yes. Fox is like resentment news. It is like grievance news. It taps into white Christian Americans’ grievances about what is happening in the country, an increasingly multicultural America. So, some of the narratives are about that.
That is why we heard all about caravans and an invasion in 2018 before the midterms. Now we’re hearing about law and order, because Fox is emphasizing violence in the cities, in New York and Seattle and elsewhere.
Of course, the cities are not nearly as severely endangered as Fox portrays them. But the president watches, and then he reflects those talking points. And there is an echo back and forth. And that is why we live in these two separate information universes.
Yeah, CNN certainly looks like it’s in a separate information universe on violence in the streets alright:
But Stelter insists it’s Fox that is racially obsessed and muddles facts in service of an ideological agenda. Once again, he says Fox viewers are what’s wrong with America:
I think the problem, though, is that you the news side is losing and the propaganda side is winning. And that is what Fox viewers seem to want. They prefer the pro-Trump talking heads. They prefer the propaganda. That’s not just an issue at Fox. It’s a problem for America.
When the president tells you to distrust the media every single day, when he uses the word hoax so often that nobody knows what to believe anymore, we’re going to have a challenge in this country that’s going to long outlast the Trump presidency.
But the Laugh Out Loud segment came with this unexpected question:
WOODRUFF: A kind of bottom-line question, Brian Stelter. You have got a great job at CNN. Would you ever want to work for Fox?
BRIAN STELTER: I think, if anybody at Fox could peel off an hour where it’s all about fact-checking, all about being as accurate as possible, then there should be room for that. Right now, though, the audience doesn’t seem to want it, and neither is the network.
But I don’t think Fox has to be this way. One of the Murdoch sons, James Lachlan [sic] — he may try to take over someday. He’s a more liberal-leaning son. I wonder what could happen if he tries to take over.
That’s hilarious. As if Stelter’s Sunday hour of Trump-trashing, with guests who suggest Trump is going to kill more people than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined? That’s the FACT show?
Stelter clearly is still trying to imply the expired Shepard Smith hour, the hour of trashing everyone else at Fox, an hour of CNN-echoing rebuttal. That’s “all about fact-checking.”