By Kyle Drennen ~
On Monday, the left-wing Norman Lear Center announced the recipients of the 2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism. Among the winners was CNN’s Reliable Sources, with the panel of judges praising host Brian Stelter as a “one-man media literacy course” who “faced criticism of the media head on, offering positive solutions to the question of what the media needs to do to gain, and regain, the public’s trust.”
Absent from their assessment of Stelter’s reporting was his responsibility for further eroding the public’s trust in the press by regularly labeling President Trump a “dictator” running an “authoritarian” regime. On December 4, Stelter took to his Sunday show to implore his media colleagues: “I talk to international correspondents who say to you, ‘This is exactly what authoritarians do. This is what strongmen do. This is what happens in authoritarian regimes.’ I think we need to start using those words on TV, at least, to discuss the possibilities before us.”
On December 11, Stelter warned viewers that the very election of Donald Trump was a “national emergency” and worried that journalists were “afraid to say so because they’re going to sound partisan.”
On January 22, following Trump’s inauguration, Stelter sounded the alarm yet again: “Do citizens in dictatorships recognize what’s happening right here right now? Are they looking at the first two days of the Trump administration and saying, ‘Oh, that’s what my leader does?’”
Does that sound like someone “offering positive solutions” to questions of media credibility?
In reality, the liberals handing out the prize decided to honor Stelter because they agree with his hyperbolic pronouncements. The title of the press release announcing the award winners proclaimed: “With News Under Fire, 2017 Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in TV Political Journalism Celebrate Legitimacy, Urgency of Quality Reporting.” Lear Center Director (and former Walter Mondale speechwriter) Marty Kaplan breathlessly declared: “Today, at this seriously dangerous moment for our democracy, these Cronkite Awards honor journalists, stations and networks stepping up to their civic responsibility to tell Americans the truth.”
In addition to Steltler, frequent Trump critics like Univision’s Jorge Ramos and NBC’s Katy Tur were set to receive awards for “Individual Achievement by a National Journalist.” According to the judges, Ramos “wins for advancing the conversation about what divides us as a country” and Tur “wins for ‘courage under pressure’” while covering the Trump campaign.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper will also be honored “for his fearless advocacy for the truth throughout the election cycle.”
Kyle Drennen is the Media Research Center’s Senior News Analyst and a Contributing Editor to NewsBusters.