FLASHBACK: Brian Stelter’s Love of Censoring Goes Further Back Than You Know

The last year has seen an explosion of what has become known as “cancel culture” and an attempt to bury conservative viewpoints and any dissent from what is considered the acceptable viewpoint. But it’s in no way new. In fact, it was seven years ago this week that CNN’s Brian Stelter openly lobbied for squashing debate. 

On the February 23, 2014 edition of Reliable Sources, the CNN anchor was appalled that anyone would offer a differing view on climate change and how to deal with it: “Let’s begin with an important journalistic statement…. Some stories don’t have two sides. Some stories are simply true. There’s no necessity to give equal time to the quote-unquote ‘other side.’” 

 

 

Some things are true and some are false. But with liberal journalists, the decision of what to censer neatly lines up with their political world view. Stelter continued: 

One of these is climate change. Depending on which study or which expert you consult, between 95 percent and 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is happening now, that it’s damaging the planet and that it’s manmade. That seems pretty definitive, right? So why does television news too often feel compelled to stage debate between those who represent the 97 percent and those who represent the fringe?        

Talking to Doctor Michio Kaku, Stelter whined, “So when you see a television segment that features a climate skeptic or a climate denier, how do you feel? Do you feel that network or that newspaper or that website, whatever it is, do you feel they’re being irresponsible?” 

The supposed lover of free speech lamented the chore of having to seek out both sides of an issue: 

Why do you think shows are compelled to do this? Why do you think journalism in general are compelled to find this quote- unquote “other side” to create what a lot of people like to call false balance on a topic like this?

Yet another reason why you shouldn’t look to Brian Stelter as a champion of free speech.

For more examples from our flashback series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.

A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

Reliable Sources
2/23/2014

BRIAN STELTER: Let’s begin with an important journalistic statement and it’s something I mentioned in the last segment: some stories don’t have two sides. Some stories are simply true. There’s no necessity to give equal time to the quote-unquote “other side.” One of these is climate change. Depending on which study or which expert you consult, between 95 percent and 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is happening now, that it’s damaging the planet and that it’s manmade. That seems pretty definitive, right? So why does television news too often feel compelled to stage debate between those who represent the 97 percent and those who represent the fringe?

A case in point last week’s Meet the Press. David Gregory interviewed Bill Nye the Science Guy, who, by the way, is not technology a scientist; and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. She’s a conservative climate skeptic with no particular expertise in this subject. Whatever Meet the Press was trying to accomplish, I don’t think they did it. Joining me to talk about this and the issue of climate change coverage more broadly, Michio Kaku, the famed theoretical physicist. He’s a CBS News contributor, the author of many books. The next one is titled “The Future of the Mind,” out next week; and Jack Mirkinson, a senior editor at the “Huffington Post” who covers the media world. He wrote a column, titled “Meet the Press Shows Us Exactly How Not to Cover Climate Change.” Dr. Kaku, you’re the expert here. Tell us before we go any further how definitive is the evidence? Is there any room for debate?

MICHIO KAKU: Climate change is the 800-pound gorilla in the living room that the media dances around. But in the scientific community it’s a settled question: 95 percent of scientists believe this is happening with 100 percent confidence temperatures are rising. With 90 percent confidence, we believe it’s human activity and not natural cycles that is driving the increase in temperature on the Earth.

STELTER: So when you see a television segment that features a climate skeptic or a climate denier, how do you feel? Do you feel that network or that newspaper or that website, whatever it is, do you feel they’re being irresponsible?

KAKU: Well, it’s a free country. However, they should present the facts and that is that the overwhelming majority of scientists in the world who have studied the question believe that the temperatures on the planet are rising. And if there are skeptics let them present their computer program so that we can pick it apart. Let us understand this, because science is testable, reproducible and falsifiable.

STELTER: Why do you think shows are compelled to do this? Why do you think journalism in general are compelled to find this quote- unquote “other side” to create what a lot of people like to call false balance on a topic like this?

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