CNN Happy News? Stelter Explores How Biden Is 'Delightfully Boring,' and 'Very Leak-Free'

November 30th, 2020 10:49 AM

On Sunday's Reliable Sources, CNN host Brian Stelter took a break from his still-surging obsession with how Donald Trump is ruining the information ecosystem to discuss how journalists will cover Joe Biden. Stelter brought on Politico editor Carrie Budoff Brown and began by noting her publication enjoyed a tweet from former John Boehner/Paul Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck gushing "These Biden nominations and appointments are so delightfully boring."

Stelter asked Brown "Is that fair? And what's that going to mean for the news media?" Brown said Buck was "right," that the media "had to have a 24 hour a day, almost seven day a week vigilance around covering President Trump. And that's largely because of his Twitter feed," and now they can take it easy:  


BROWN: And already in the past three weeks, we've seen a big difference in terms of how President-Elect Biden is choosing to make news. It's very traditional, very conventional. I covered President Obama for six years. It feels very similar to that, in that he's going to hold back, use the weight of his office and his voice much differently than President Trump. And the side effect of that, Brian, as you know, is that journalists may be able to take a weekend every now and then and not worry -- be worried about being jolted out of bed with some major announcement practically at three in the morning. We're probably not going to see that. And I think for journalists, that's somewhat welcomed.

Biden doesn't see the press as the "enemy of the people." He expects them to do his bidding and will be happy to let them have nights and weekends off, as much as they would like. 

Then Stelter asked "has Biden been accessible in recent weeks?"

Brown said "Biden is not somebody who has made himself incredibly accessible. There's been a lot of criticism. As a journalist, I would say, no, he has not been accessible enough."

What kind of actual evidence do we have of "a lot of criticism"? Are they publicly critical, or just complaining amongst themselves? She continued: 

BROWN: It reminds me of back when again, I covered President Obama and I see Biden using that playbook in that, like I said, he's going to go to maybe non-traditional outlets, hold back until he gives interviews with favored reporters. And you know, the White House press corps or the reporters who around him are going to have to fight for that access.

And that is definitely how, you know, we're seeing him operate. At the same time, Brian, it should be said that my newsroom is also not going to sit back. We put an accountability-driven lens on President Trump's administration. We are going to do the same with Biden. It just probably means that us? We're going to have to work harder as well the rest of the media, we don't have that direct filter or that direct line into the President's head with Trump like we will with Biden.

That's a reality. And you know what? The job for the media will be tougher because we're going to have to penetrate these closed meetings, closed circles. Biden is known to be very leak-free. And that makes the work on my team and the rest of the media, I would say, more challenging than under Trump.

Somehow, and don't be shocked, Stelter didn't find this clampdown to be "anti-media" or "authoritarian." It's just interesting: "That's really interesting. We've heard so much about leaks in the past four years. This White House is so leaky! And it's going to be something different in the next four years."

And so will Brian Stelter's show, unless he's going to keep making it all about Trump.