“Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter criticized right-wing media outlets boosted by Donald Trump, warning that their propagation of false conspiracy theories will continue to push millions of Americans towards extremism even after the president leaves office next month.
“It’s way past time to talk about this honestly,” Stelter said on his Sunday CNN show. “No one should tip-toe past this predicament.”
Stelter pointed out calls for secession and violent revolt among pro-Trump politicians and media figures such as Michael Flynn, who suggested that Trump declare martial law, and how they have been amplified by networks like fledgling far-right news channel Newsmax. He also noted how such dangerous dialogue has real consequences, referencing news this past week of a former Houston police captain who pulled a gun on an air conditioner repairman whom he was convinced had been involved in voter fraud.
“QAnon is one clear, recent example. So is Stop the Steal, and so are some corners of the anti-vaccination movement,” Stelter said. “Reporters see what’s going on. They are seeing signs of this radicalization in American politics and some are calling it like it is.”
Stelter said that Fox News staffers who have spoken to him confidentially have been concerned about the impact that their most popular pundits such as Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson have had on viewers, as they have advanced pro-Trump conspiracies on their programs. He fears that as America moves on to the Biden era, those radicalized by Fox News will go to Newsmax for their fix of conspiracies.
“And if that’s not enough, well, just go on Facebook, log on to your web browser, and there are livestreaming networks filled with the most inane conspiracy theories you can imagine,” he said.
Watch Stelter’s remarks in the clip above.