p class=”p1″>CNN host Brian Stelter attempted to explain his recent comments appearing to suggest cable companies censor Fox News and other right-leaning outlets, saying he wasn’t talking about conservative voices “per se.”
Earlier this week, Stelter discussed a concept he called “harm reduction” before segueing into criticism of top Fox News host Tucker Carlson, claiming it’s “patently false” that CNN is “trying to force” the network “off the air.”
“While some cry cancel culture, let me suggest a different way to think about this: a harm reduction model,” Stelter said, going on to discuss widening efforts by social media companies to reduce so-called disinformation.
“Do these private companies have too much power? Sure, and many people would say ‘yes of course,’” Stelter noted. “But reducing a liar’s reach is not the same as censoring freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is different than freedom of reach. And algorithmic reach is part of the problem.
“It is impossible to make all those lies go away, but they can be reduced,” he continued, going on to criticize what he called “apocalyptic” narratives in right-leaning media.
“These need to be nuanced conversations. This is complicated, but harm reduction is possible. Harm reduction is possible by adding more news and less opinion to the content,” he added.
Stelter’s comments were panned online by other media figures, on both the left and right.
“CNN’s journalists should be outraged by this. And from a cynical point of view, CNN’s executives should be worried about the ramifications of this chilling standard it sets,” Steve Krakauer, the executive producer of Megyn Kelly’s podcast, noted.
CNN’s journalists should be outraged by this. And from a cynical point of view, CNN’s executives should be worried about the ramifications of this chilling standard it sets. https://t.co/exvAO1bxS2
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) January 31, 2021
“Beyond all the creepy aspects of *journalists* again taking the lead in demanding media voices be repressed, @brianstelter‘s claim that “freedom of speech is different than freedom of reach” is totally false and has been rejected by courts for decades,” journalist Glenn Greenwald added in a tweet.
The comments were also addressed specifically at Fox News, the target of the “Reliable Sources” host.
Former U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, now a Fox News contributor, discussed Stelter’s remarks.
(Source: Fox News)
Stelter, however, pushed back on Gowdy’s assessment to a degree.
“I was talking about ‘harm reduction,’ so, reducing the reach of harmful lies, not of conservative voices per se,” he wrote on Twitter.
Several users mocked Stelter’s non-denial.
“‘Per se’ doing a lot of work here,” wrote Grabien founder Tom Elliot.
“Per se” doing a lot of work here https://t.co/dPccCX3czE
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 2, 2021
“Per se” 🤡😂 https://t.co/Kg2Q3ViVvQ
— Josh Arnold (@JoshDavidArnold) February 2, 2021
— Sister Toldjah Le Pew 😁 (@sistertoldjah) February 2, 2021
Stelter’s half-hearted denial and his controversial ‘harm reduction’ segment both followed a segment from his show last month featuring former Facebook executive Alex Stamos, in which he explicitly called for right-leaning news and opinion alternatives like One America News and Newsmax TV to be deplatformed altogether.
“We have to turn down the capability of these conservative influencers to reach these huge audiences,” Stamos said, without any pushback from Stelter.
“We’re going to have to figure out the OANN and Newsmax problem – you know, that these companies have freedom of speech, but I’m not sure we need Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and such to be bringing them into tens of millions of homes,” Stamos added.
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