Brian Stelter Falsely Claims Laptop from Hell ‘Wasn’t’ Labeled Russian Disinformation

Brian Stelter

Brian Stelter on Friday falsely claimed Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop “wasn’t” labeled Russian disinformation by the establishment media after he continually furthered the false narrative as a CNN anchor.

Stelter, who was ousted by CNN and hired by Harvard, was among the numerous media personalities that pushed the false narrative for months. At least 15 media personalities claimed Hunter’s laptop was likely Russian propaganda before New York Times admitted it was authentic in 2022, directly contradicting many in the Democrat-allied media.

“U.S. authorities are seeing if those emails we just talked about are connected to an ongoing Russian disinformation effort,” Stelter said Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, after emails on the laptop were publicly revealed through Breitbart News’s Emma-Jo Morris, formally at the New York Post. “For all we know, these emails are made up or maybe some are real and others are fakes — we don’t know.”

Many media personalities followed in Stelter’s footsteps. “Good. Russian disinformation meant to harm our democracy shouldn’t be given mainstream platforms,” Daily Beast reporter Wajahat Ali said.

The Mother Jones publication claimed, “Giuliani and the New York Post are pushing Russian disinformation. It’s a big test for the media.”
MSNBC’s executive producer, Kyle Griffin, said reporting on the laptop should be censored because the laptop contained disputed disinformation:
The Trump campaign claims Facebook is “censoring journalism” because Facebook plans to limit the spread of the NY Post report. That is not censorship. Facebook is under no obligation to allow a disputed report that appears to contain disinformation to spread on their platform.


Despite the receipts, Stelter appeared on the Fourth Watch podcast with media critic Steve Krakauer on Friday and defended his false narrative and the claims of his former media colleagues.

“I think newsrooms just looked around and said, ‘We don’t have the laptop. We don’t have evidence. We don’t have evidence it’s real. And we know that there are reasons to wonder if it’s disinformation,'” Stelter explained about newsrooms that refused to investigate until after the election.

“A lot of the lies that happen now about what happened in 2020 go like this – they say, ‘All these a–h—s, they all called it a disinformation!’ That’s not true,” Stelter said, adding:

A lot of us just wondered, we said out loud, ‘Could this be?’ We said things like ‘some former U.S. officials think it might be,’ it was always cushioned – it was not always, it was often cushioned that way. And now in retrospect, two years later, three years later, people like partisans like to pretend that it was labeled disinformation, which it wasn’t. There was concern. There was reason to be concerned not because of the Hillary emails, but because of the Russian attempt in 2016.

Stelter’s podcast appearance comes as he was fired by CNN after his show Reliable Sources performed poorly over the course of nine years. His last show in the summer of 2022 only garnered about 769,000 viewers.

But Stelter landed on his feet. The following month, he was recruited by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy as a fellow. Stelter’s new job is to hold “a series of public events and community discussions about democracy and the role of the media in preserving it.”

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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