As Nick Fondacaro noted yesterday, in a typical CNN-vs.-Trump food-fight interview where no one stops talking, Brian Stelter tried to tell Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis that a tweet attacking Comcast as a bad cable provider and bad news provider is somehow an “abuse of power.” Stelter led the show “Coming up this hour, a new example of President Trump abusing his power.”
Stelter quoted Obama aide Norm Eisen: “It's an abuse of power for an American president to use the awesome authority of the Oval Office to target an American company. He said it's even worse, because here he is retaliating against the exercise of the First Amendment-protected constitutional rights.” Eisen, who helped the Democrats impeach Trump, suggested to Stelter this made him impeachable.
This is utterly bizarre coming from Team Obama, when their man talked openly about tanking the entire coal industry. President Clinton railed against the tobacco industry. Liberals, saying you shouldn't attack corporations? Are they really saying that? Or, are they just insisting it's abusive to criticize them?
The CNN host even suggested it was a new low in American history. Sadly, Stelter can’t even seem to remember his own history. Here’s what he wrote as a reporter for The New York Times on October 11, 2009:
Attacking the news media is a time-honored White House tactic but to an unusual degree, the Obama administration has narrowed its sights to one specific organization, the Fox News Channel, calling it, in essence, part of the political opposition.
“We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” said Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, in a telephone interview on Sunday. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”
This was Sunday-show fodder at the time. On October 18, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Obama strategist David Axelrod about them on This Week: "Are you worried that your strategy is fortifying your enemy?"
Nearly everyone remembers how Obama complained about Fox News. He had 98 percent of the media eating out of his hands like a flock of pigeons, and then there was Fox. Bill Clinton also complained about Fox when it came on the scene in 1996. The idea that attacking a media company is an “abuse of power” is plainly silly….unless Stelter insisted Democrat presidents and their aides should never, ever do it. Try to find the part of Stelter’s story on Obama and Anita Dunn where he laments the “abuse of power.”
They couldn't even muster Obama attacking Fox in the headline: "Fox’s Volley With Obama Intensifying."
It’s just another example of Stelter and his colleagues insisting that they can call the president every nasty name they can imagine, and then call it some kind of authoritarian death march when the White House returns in kind.