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Stelter Calls for Media ‘Soul Searching’ Post-Election — ‘Collective Failure,’ ‘Mass Delusion’

Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” host Brian Stelter admitted there were flaws of the media in their coverage of the presidential election, in particular not foreseeing the victory of President-elect Donald Trump.

Transcript as follows:

First, something little different. Before I get to the tease, before I tell you about the great show we have in store today, let’s level with each other.

Tuesday night was the culmination of one of the biggest media failures in many years. Most journalists heading into Tuesday night believing Hillary Clinton would be elected president at the end of the night. And most viewers had the same impression. You can see in this pre- election data most viewers, most Americans believed Clinton would win.

Now this did not occur in a vacuum. The Donald Trump campaign also thought it was likely to lose. Wall Street thought Trump would lose, too.

But chalking all of this up to a surprise victory is not enough. This was a collective failure — a failure of imagination. In some ways, a mass delusion. And the media contributed to it.

So, now, it’s time for some serious soul searching. Look, I don’t subscribe to the argument that TV networks gave Trump too much attention and that’s the main reason why he’s president, nor do I subscribe to the argument that reporters ignored Trump’s America. There were outstanding reports and eye-opening cable news debate this is year.

But I know that some of you watching right now are having a very hard time trusting this channel and every other news source. So, we on the other side of the screen over here have to reckon with that, not just for a week or two but for the long term.

I have heard from thousands of you this week on Facebook, on Twitter, on e-mail, all over the place, and some of you feel like the media paved the way for a madman to become president. Others of you feel like journalism is completely irrelevant now. Still, others of you feel like the media bias tilted the race in one direction or the other. Many of you are wondering who and what you can trust.

So, the bottom line is, there are lessons to be learned if we are willing to learn them.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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