Christopher Phillips, a self-described first-year University of Chicago Institute of Politics student, blasted CNN anchor Brian Stelter with a line of questioning on news coverage, reporting ethics and the truthfulness of CNN as an outlet.
Phillips said, “You’ve all spoken extensively about Fox News being a purveyor of disinformation, but CNN is right up there with them. They pushed the Russian collusion hoax, they pushed the Jussie Smollet hoax, they smeared Justice Kavanaugh as a rapist, and yes, they also smeared Nick Sandmann as a white supremacist. And yes, they dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop affair as ‘pure Russian disinformation’. With mainstream corporate journalists becoming little more than apologists and cheerleaders for the regime, is it finally time to declare that the canon of journalistic ethics is dead or no longer operative? All the mistakes of the mainstream media and CNN in particular seem to magically go in one direction. Are we expected to believe this is all some sort of random coincidence? Or is there something else behind it?”
Stelter responded: “Too bad, it’s time for lunch”.
The panel laughed as an event coordinator interrupted, giving Stelter thirty seconds to answer. Stelter continued, “I think you are describing a different channel than the one I watch. But I understand that is a popular right wing narrative about CNN. I think it’s important, when we talk about shared reality and democracy, all these outlets have to defend democracy…”
Stelter was speaking on a four-person panel at an event, “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy”. The event is being held from April 6th to April 8th at the David Rubenstein Forum on the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus, located in Chicago, Illinois.
The conference was put on by the online magazine publication, The Atlantic. According to the event’s website, the goal of the conference is to “explore the roots and scope of the problem, the next-generation threats posed by new technological advances, and the tools and policies required to neutralize them.” The aforementioned problem described by the Atlantic writer is clarified earlier, “democracies across the globe [being] under assault”.
The event will host prominent neoconservative and liberal figures, including former President Obama, Jonah Goldberg, and Adam Kinzinger. In-person sessions include “Politics as Usual or an Insidious Attack on Our Democracy?’, “How Conspiracy Theories Capture the Mind” and “Countering Disinformation’s Threat to National Security”.