Yes, this is real life … This morning, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to eviscerate media types like Brian Stelter for pushing conspiracy theories about his wife, Melania Trump. As I’ve covered in this newsletter, questions about the first lady’s health and well-being reached a conspiratorial fever pitch on Sunday when CNN media critic/cheerleader Brian Stelter dedicated a segment on his “Reliable Sources” program to wondering where the first lady was. Here are Trump’s tweets:
The Fake News Media has been so unfair, and vicious, to my wife and our great First Lady, Melania. During her recovery from surgery they reported everything from near death, to facelift, to left the W.H. (and me) for N.Y. or Virginia, to abuse. All Fake, she is doing really well!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2018
…Four reporters spotted Melania in the White House last week walking merrily along to a meeting. They never reported the sighting because it would hurt the sick narrative that she was living in a different part of the world, was really ill, or whatever. Fake News is really bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2018
That set Stelter off. Stelter tried to downplay his own reporting of the conspiracy theories by tweet. Stelter said Trump was “conflating random Twitter commenters with ‘the media.’” He then went on to say the tactic was that of “bad faith critics.” Brian, Trump is talking about YOU, and you can’t stand the heat.
Trump is conflating random Twitter commenters with "the media" here. A common tactic of bad faith critics. But disappointing to see POTUS do it. pic.twitter.com/7tWObMmUdD
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 6, 2018
Stelter then answered T. Becket Adams by saying, “Real news outlets did not ‘report’ that she was “near death,” etc. We can agree on that, right?” That’s what we’re fixating on, Brian?
This is typical Stelter. As I’ve said before, Brian doesn’t always say much; he just, you know, kind of suggests it, through the use of other people’s words. Then he falls back on the quotes to deny he ever meant any of what he was just saying.
Sidekick to the rescue … Stelter’s “CNN Money” sidekick Oliver Darcy leapt to Stelter’s defense. On Wednesday morning, Darcy tweeted:
I'm sorry, but those who obsessed over Hillary Clinton's health should probably spare everyone the lectures about the Melania Trump health coverage.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 6, 2018
Let’s unpack this for Darcy:
… against the mainstream media’s biased reporting, selective facts, and outright propaganda. Sign up now for the daily dose of sunlight you need to disinfect the media’s lies. It’s free!
Only one day … CNN’s Chris Cuomo launched his new prime-time show on Monday. The program goes up against both Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity. If preliminary ratings are any guide, Cuomo’s program isn’t the shot in the arm the network needs. On Monday, Cuomo’s premiere episode was stuck firmly in last place among the three major cable news networks in both total viewers and “the demo,” i.e. 25- to 54-year-old viewers.
In total viewers, Cuomo’s show garnered less than half of Maddow’s total viewership. Yes, this is early in the show, but it remains to be seen if Cuomo can help right the CNN ship, which didn’t have one show in the top 25 in total viewers on cable news in the month of May.
Ridiculous … Yesterday, I shared the story of how a HuffPost writer doxxed a Twitter user and set in motion events that have been challenging, to say the least, for her family. The story just got more bizarre. After facing backlash for the doxxing, HuffPost published a piece by the writer’s editor both defending the actions of the publication and whining about HuffPost writers being doxxed in response. You can read the piece here.
The most egregious aspect of that piece, echoed by HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgren, is that these writers believe they did not dox the Twitter user because they did not include an address or phone number for her. That’s not what doxxing is. Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines the verb “dox.”
slang: to publicly identify or publish private information about (someone) especially as a form of punishment or revenge
HuffPost publicly identified this Twitter user by publishing her name and the fact that that her in-laws owned businesses that were identified by her last name. The pizza shop of her in-laws was targeted by left-wing internet activists who took to Yelp to register their displeasure. It is the editorial sense of HuffPost that those they deem are hateful must be made to face the public. That’s doxxing.
As we head into the summer months, I just wanted to let you know that WTF MSM!? will be moving to a less-than-daily publishing schedule. You’ll still receive a full newsletter twice a week, unless I’m on vacation. I’ll also have special editions if something big happens that needs to be addressed. I hope you’ll enjoy your vacations and time with family this summer.
As always, let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for reading.
Rob Eno is the editor of Blaze Media’s WTF MSM!? newsletter.