This edition of ‘Reliable Sources’ aired in March 2017 during a time when President Trump was tweeting about his campaign having possibly been wiretapped by the Obama Administration. I make the point that this kind of thing is a non-issue that obsesses media types but not actual Americans. The other panelists—Huffington Post editor in chief Lydia Polgreen and NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik—hit back by saying that voters are extremely interested in exactly this kind of claim.
I’m not prepared to say who was right or wrong, but I will say I heard almost nothing about wiretapping after this one weekend in which it really did dominate the news for a couple days.
This appearance was a good example of a dynamic that takes shape quite often on these multi-guest shows. The host is invariably hostile to Trump and so are the other guests. So it winds up being a 3-on-1 situation. I’m comfortable with that dynamic but I can never understand how the producers don’t seem to get that the very way they’ve booked the show kinda proves my point about media bias.
CNN has long insisted that in being tough on Trump—who has singled out the network by name for specific criticism—they also try to include voices that may support those in his administration. On this episode, CNN’s Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist sent host Brian Stelter an email during the commercial break that he wanted to see more of me on the air; Stelter shared that with Polgreen and Folkenflik and me during the appearance.