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Thursday, September 14, 2023
FLASHBACK: An Interlude Of Stelter Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Media Research Center

As part of this flashback series, we've shown how the Media Research Center worked hard to falsely smear a proposed anti-disinformation initiative in the Department of Homeland Security as a Orwellian "ministry of truth" -- while also smearing its leader, Nina Jankowicz -- then gleefully danced on its grave when officials caved to the nonsense and shut it down. And because this is the MRC, it also spent time lashing out at then-CNN host Brian Stelter, whom it irrationally hates for interfering with its right-wing talking points, for telling the other side of the story. Kevin Tober chortled in a May 2022 post that served up stenography for an insult-fest:

On Monday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson once again proved why he has the number one show on cable news when he did a brutal takedown of CNN’s Brian Stelter for his sadness over the demise of Biden’s Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) also known as the Ministry of Truth. 

Carlson started off by expressing his amusement over the former head of the DGB, Nina Jankowicz. “So, by far the most entertaining person Joe Biden has appointed to anything was that Nina woman he put in charge of the Ministry of Truth. She was so ridiculous and provably so that she’s out,” Carlson said. 

He then turned his attention to CNN and Brian Stelter: “but at CNN, they are sad. They wanted her there forever.”


Carlson surmised that “Brian Stelter is in fact, assuming he's a real person, basically lifted directly from the pages of 1984, the Orwell novel.”

Needless to say, Tober fact-checked nothing Carlson said. Iinstead, he embarrassingly gushed: "Ouch! Tucker Carlson does not miss."

When stelter had Jankowicz on his show to tell her side of the story -- which is apparently forbidden in the right-wing bubbile -- Tober lashed out anew in a July 10, 2022, post:

On Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN, host Brian Stelter spent the opening monologue of his show in a tizzy over the amount of disinformation on the internet and in American politics in general. So naturally, Stelter decided to bring the former head of President Joe Biden's Ministry of Truth Nina Jankowicz to help her rehabilitate her image. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jankowicz spread disinformation herself during the interview. 

Predictably, Stelter opened the segment by sucking up to her and failed to correct her on any of her lies. "The sympathetic view, to you, is that the disinformation board was the victim of disinformation. Is that how you feel?" 

Jankowicz responded that "it absolutely was the victim of disinformation. All of these narratives, that the disinformation governance board was going to be this Orwellian Ministry of Truth and all of the harassment and disinformation that was directed against me, was based on that falsehood. Based on that falsehood that was knowingly peddled by many people in the conservative media ecosystem and on Capitol Hill." 


Stelter teed her up to play victim about all the personal attacks she allegedly had to endure: "These critics, there were many of them, they were incredibly loud. They say you are just a giant liberal, could never be appropriately hired for this job because you posted disinformation on Twitter yourself."

In response Jankowicz went through a laundry list of grievances many of which were false:


She purposefully lied about former President Trump's ties to the Russian Alfa Bank and that he had two secret email servers to communicate with the Russians. Both claims were and are flat-out false. Screenshots are forever, Nina! Of course, Stelter never confronted her about this either. Stelter is a fake journalist at a fake news network.

Tober offered no evidence Jankowicz "purposefully lied" about the Alfa Bank story; just because something later turns out not to be true doesn't mean it was a lie to report the original claim. By contrast, the MRC continues to falsely claim that an invfestigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump was a "hoax" though most normal people -- even Republicans -- agree there was more than enough evidence to justify an investigation. Also note that Tober made no effort to defend the disonest attacks on the board and on Jankowicz, suggesting that he agrees that her criticism of those attacks are accurate.

Tim Graham served up one more bit of needless mockery in his podcast the next day:

The liberal media paint themselves as the forces of Truth, and the conservatives as an army of misinformation. On his Sunday show, CNN host Brian Stelter brought on former "Disinformation Governance Board" leader Nina Jankowicz and asked softball questions about her feelings, and sugggested she was wronged by the right-wingers. The only tough questions dwelled on how the Department of Homeland Security didn't fight the conservatives hard enough.

Graham is certainly not going to concede that Jankowicz is right and his side is wrong.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:39 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 14, 2023 3:42 PM EDT

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