CNN's Brian Stelter Implores Reporters To Value Truth And Facts, Unlike "Anti-Media" Outlets Breitbart And Fox News
Stelter: "It Is Not Elitist To Value The Truth. The Truth Is Not In A Bubble"
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From the November 13 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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BRIAN STELTER (HOST): As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take power, journalists have a lot of questions about Trump and about our profession. Did fact-checking matter in this election? Did investigations matter? Did newspaper editorials matter? Did the accountability function of journalism matter at all? Well, yes, it did matter to some people, to some readers and viewers, but maybe something else mattered even more, something I would call anti-media. Breitbart is anti-media. Much of Fox News is anti-media. Fake news websites and some right-wing blogs are anti-media.
These outlets provide a different audience with a different set of facts about the world, but too often what they're really selling are opinion and conspiracy theory masquerading as fact. These sites, these outlets, they present themselves as the opposite of traditional news sources, the antidote to mainstream media. Andrew Golis of Vox recently said Facebook feeds into this sense of unreality. I like to call it choose your own news, but whatever you call it, a lot of the arguments we're having right now as a country are a result of this media versus anti-media clash.
In the coming months, I hope researchers will hone in on how anti-media persuaded voters in this election, because today I cannot sit here and tell you I have that I have all the answers or even many of the answers. But I do know that all journalists -- all real journalists -- have a responsibility to the truth, and it is not elitist to value the truth. The truth is not in a bubble. It is not elitist to reject conspiracy theories or fact-check obvious falsehoods. It should be done equally, but truth is the word we can keep coming back to. Don't cower before the truth. Don't tell half-truths, don't shade the truth. Don't fear the truth. And then we can focus on the other "t" word -- trust. Winning back the trust of people who right now prefer anti-media.