Last week at the Aspen Ideas Festival, CNN host Brian Stelter said President Donald Trump was “poisoning the American people.”
Partial transcript as follows:
BRIAN STELTER: Find me when Nixon, a criminal president, actually used the word ‘enemy’ to describe us in public. Even Nixon knew not to go that far.
He did not use the rhetoric that President Trump uses in public. President Trump is poisoning the American people, a subset of the American people that have been infected by the poison, it is getting worse every day and we’re going to reckon with the consequences for decades.
I don’t mean to be the pessimist. I actually some days I am very optimistic. I wake up glass half-full a lot of days. And I think Trump’s pretty weak right now and we’re going to get through this, it’s an aberration.
Other days I wake up and I think how are we going to win people back? Every single day he’s beating the you-know-what out of the press. Not just CNN but many, many outlets, tarring the nation’s news media, along with other institutions.
I find myself wondering in 20 years when will look back will we think this was an emergency. Why didn’t we step up and say this is an emergency? Now, many of us do call it a crisis. There is a crisis of credibility for the White House. There’s also a crisis of credibility for the press. We’re clearly flawed and I do not think we should pretend we’re not flawed, we do not make mistakes. But rather than hang on to the mistakes, which are few and far between, there’s this incredible amount of journalism being produced everyday that’s being dismissed by a segment of the population.
I take your point about the headlines, why people hate the media. There’s always been that theme. There’s always been an ability to dismiss unpleasant or unwanted news. But it’s been supercharged and lit on fire and fueled now by the boss, by the president, and that’s clearly what’s different and that’s clearly what is the threat.
I think we have to ask ourselves is this an emergency? What should I, what should we be doing differently? If this is a crisis, what should we be doing differently? Will we be proud of ourselves in 20 years? Was this an aberration or was this the start of something new and very troubling? And then how are we going to win people back? Sorry to be the pessimist.
(h/t RCP Video)
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN