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Stelter: Trump's 'junk-food' news diet is contributing to his downfall

CNN's Brian Stelter explains the importance of a president's media diet and examines the direct link between the media President Trump consumes and the false claims he shares.

Posted: Dec 7, 2020 9:41 AM
Updated: Dec 7, 2020 9:41 AM

President Donald Trump is still in denial about losing the election, and his right-wing media diet of distorted information isn't pushing him to face the truth.

Talk shows on Fox News have distorted his view of the word and his presidency has suffered as a result. In my view, the junk food weighed him down and contributed to his defeat in November.

"The junk food weighed him down and contributed to his defeat in November," CNN's Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter said on "Reliable Sources" Sunday. "But some of these shows keep telling him that he won! They are deceiving millions of people, including the outgoing president."

Stelter called it a "feedback loop of fiction," taking place on channels like One America News, Newsmax and Fox News.

Later in the day, Trump once again criticized Fox's daytime newscasts as "not watchable" and told his Twitter followers that Newsmax and One America News (OAN) are "picking up the slack." Trump routinely attacks Fox's newscasts but praises the talk shows that continue to dabble in election denialism.

Shows on Newsmax on OAN keep going even further with their false claims that Trump won the 2020 election. Ratings for both channels surged after the election.

The far-right outlets continue to fan the flames of Trump's misinformation. On "Reliable Sources," Stelter traced the origins of a Trump lie about President-elect Joe Biden's Thanksgiving speech. A false segment on OAN claimed that Biden attracted "only one thousand views online."

In reality, the speech was streamed by dozens of websites and gained millions of viewers. But Trump repeated OAN's false claim almost word for word on Twitter, then brought it up at Saturday's rally in Valdosta, Georgia.

"This is like a seven-layer cake of lies," Stelter said. "Fakery on top of falsehood on top of fiction." He concluded that the outgoing president's media diet is "poisoned."

As for the incoming president's news diet, Biden relies on the "classics," according to Evan Osnos, author of "Joe Biden: The Life, The Run, and What Matters Now."

Osnos, a staff writer at The New Yorker, has joined CNN as a contributor. He told Stelter that Biden reads outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Economist and The New Yorker, often in print.

"He pays a lot of attention to the columnists," Osnos added.

While Trump reads critics' pieces about his lack of leadership and erratically responds on Twitter, Biden "doesn't parse every word that is written about him," Osnos added.

Thomas Friedman, foreign affairs columnist at The New York Times, also noted Biden's healthier news diet on "Reliable Sources" Sunday.

"He doesn't chase every rabbit," Friedman said. "There's a maturity to him that I hope we'll benefit from."

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