CNN’s Brian Stelter lied to his Reliable Sources audience over the weekend by repeating the false claim that First Lady Melania Trump has disappeared — that she has been “invisible.”
Following a surgical procedure on May 14, less than three weeks ago, the first lady has, understandably, not made any public appearances (she is scheduled to host some Gold Star families at the White House Monday night).
But this is not what the far-left Stelter told his audience.
Instead, the anti-Trump activist repeatedly and deliberately misinformed his audience with the false claim she has been “invisible.”
Stelter also allowed one of his guests to repeat the false claim the first lady has “disappeared.”
This is simply not true.
As recently as Wednesday, Eamon Javers, a Washington correspondent for CNBC, reported seeing “the First Lady walking with her aides in the West Wing yesterday afternoon.”
Nevertheless, Stelter still opened the segment of his basement-rated show with this falsehood: “The last time we caught a glimpse of her was on May 10th, 24 days, more than three weeks [ago]. There have been a lot of questions about her surgery, her time at Walter Reed, and now her invisibility.”
Stelter then doubled down on this falsehood by asking a guest, “How long does she have to be out of sight to make this a legitimate media story?”
Stelter tripled down on his disinformation campaign when he asked another guest, far-left columnist Lynn Sweet, “Lynne you’re covering the White House every day. Is this a big story? Is it getting bigger the more days that she’s out of sight?”
In an obvious attempt to backfill Stelter’s conspiracy theory, Sweet repeatedly used the word “disappear.”
No one corrected her.
Had Stelter informed his audience of the truth, had he relayed the facts of about Melania being spotted by a reporter just a few days earlier, it is obvious no one would care about his phony narrative — because there is no story.
Simply put, Melania Trump being seen in the White House two weeks after surgery, but not doing public appearances two weeks after surgery, is a big, fat nothingburger.
If you withhold the fact she was seen and then throw around words like “invisible” and “disappear,” you are able to concoct a sinister-sounding conspiracy, a way to troll Trump, and a fabricated foundation that allows the likes of the Atlantic’s David Frum to push a crass hypothetical about the president having “punched” the first lady:
For the record, Javers also says he was not alone when he spotted Melania. On top of that, he publicly offered plenty of details, all of which were withheld from Stelter’s audience.
“There was another reporter with me in the hallway at the time: @kwelkernbc . It was just a brief encounter- she walked past with an aide and secret service agents,” he reported.
Javers added that he did not snap a photo because the Secret Service does not allow photographs to be taken in that part of the White House.
“I did see her here with her aides and Secret Service agents,” he reported, “but it was in an area of the West Wing where we are not allowed to take pictures. It’s a high security environment!”
These are the pertinent facts and the crucial context Brian Stelter and CNN withheld from their evaporating audience.