After busting Donald Trump last night for live-tweeting — and badly screwing up — a Fox News report on Rep. Adam Schiff, CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter panned the president’s phoned-in interview with Jeanine Pirro as just so much more “fantasyland.”
Stelter was the first to notice yesterday that Trump’s 7:56 pm ET tweet was an egregious misunderstanding of what Fox News’ Milly Line actually said: “‘Congressman Schiff omitted and distorted key facts’ @FoxNews So, what else is new. He is a total phony!” What Line said (accurately) was that Schiff had contended that the controversial Republican FISA memo omitted and distorted key facts.
‘Trump just deleted 5 words from the quote to allege the opposite meaning,” Stelter tweeted last night. “Either he truly misunderstood what he heard on TV, which is worrisome, or he purposefully misquoted it, which is also worrisome.”
Trump’s erroneous “total phony!” tweet remained on his Twitter page Sunday.
On this morning’s Reliable Sources (watch the segment below), Stelter revisited Trump’s blunder and tied it in with the Pirro-Trump Saturday night phone gush, during which the Fox News host and longtime Trump pal had praised what she characterized as Trump’s “soaring” approval ratings.
As Stelter pointed out, Pirro was relying on Friday’s Rasmussen poll that had Trump at a 49% approval rating. The conservative Rasmussen outfit routinely provides Trump with higher numbers than other pollsters. Pirro also referenced a CPAC poll that had Trump at a whopping 93% approval rating. (CNN’s polling puts the president at about 35% approval.)
“I think this is an example of Trump’s fantasy land,” Stelter said. “He’s willing to give an interview to one of his friends who tells him how great he is, where the real data tells a story that is much worse, much more troubling for his White House.”
The CPAC straw poll of its own attendees, Stelter said, is “like asking people at a Yankees game how much they love the Yankees.”
Later on today’s Reliable Sources, Stelter found himself on the receiving end of a harangue, when guest and Blaze founder Glenn Beck criticized CNN for using a town hall format Wednesday to address the Parkland, Florida high school shooting massacre.
“This is something you’re not going to want to hear,” Beck warned Stelter before saying that inviting an audience of thousands of “grieving and angry” students to the discussion “did nothing, you made things worse.” Adding a crowd, Beck said, “became the Christians and the lions. It was despicable and grotesque.”
“You would have told the students to shush?” Stelter responded. “You would have told them to shut up?”
“No,” Beck said. “I would have said this is too raw right now to have a stadium full of people.”
“It’s why I won’t go on Bill Maher,” Beck continued. “Bill Maher has asked me for years to go on his program. I won’t because it is just a cheering crowd, somebody is trying to win.”
CNN’s town hall host Jake Tapper addressed a similar criticism Friday on Twitter when conservative commentator Bethany S. Mandel asked whether a nationally televised town hall was “the best place for (the students) to work through that trauma.”
Responded Tapper, “They asked us to facilitate a town hall where they could ask questions of lawmakers. You obviously feel we should have said no. I disagree. You obviously feel I should have reprimanded a mass of grieving and upset people on their behavior; I disagree.”
Here’s Beck’s appearance on Stelter’s show. His comments about the town hall come at about the 6:09.
And here is Stelter’s take-down of Pirro and Trump’s “fantasyland”: