Attorney General Bill Barr’s Justice Department just destroyed CNN host Brian Stelter over a salacious claim made in his new book, Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.
Department of Justice (DOJ) spokeswoman Kerry Kupec slammed the Reliable Sources host Saturday for accusing Barr of trying to “muzzle” Fox News contributor Andrew Napolitano on Donald Trump’s behalf, the Washington Examiner reported Sunday.
“Muzzling” the judge?
It has become routine for Democrats and those in the liberal media to accuse Barr of abusing his office to pursue President Trump’s personal ends — and this latest claim seems to come right out of that playbook.
In his new book dedicated to attacking CNN’s rival network, Stelter paints an image of an attorney general working hand in glove with Fox News to protect the president. Using an anonymous source, the Reliable Sources host claims that Barr discussed “muzzling” Trump critic Andrew Napolitano with Fox owner Rupert Murdoch at an October 2019 meeting.
Citing a Saturday report from The Guardian, the Examiner reported that Stelter alleged Trump “was so incensed by the judge’s TV broadcasts that he had implored Barr to send Rupert a message in person…about ‘muzzling the judge.’ [Trump] wanted the nation’s top law enforcement official to convey just how atrocious Napolitano’s legal analysis had been.”
However, Stelter adds that “no one was explicitly told to take Napolitano off the air,” The Guardian noted.
In a tweet hours after the report was published, Kupec rebuked CNN for pushing the “false” story without attribution or even a cursory attempt at verification. “This is false. A basic fact-check would have revealed that, but [Stelter] did not reach out to us before publishing,” the DOJ spokeswoman tweeted, according to the Examiner.
Partisan TV hosts
At the time of that October meeting, Democrats were in the early stages of impeaching Trump, and Napolitano, a legal analyst and former friend of the president’s, stood out for his vocal advocacy for their efforts.
Napolitano had a notable falling out with President Trump that garnered headlines, as the analyst endorsed Robert Mueller’s failed Russia collusion investigation — which Trump called a “hoax” — and later the impeachment sham, angering the president.
When Trump was finally acquitted, Napolitano called the outcome a “legal assault on the Constitution,” the Examiner noted Sunday.
Like former Fox host Shepard Smith, Napolitano has been a sympathetic figure to partisan eggheads like Stelter, who has often portrayed the judge as an isolated voice of reason at a network that spreads pro-Trump propaganda, as Mediaite reports.
Stelter has also suggested that there is no such thing as the anti-Trump media, even as he floats having the media “fact check” the Republican National Convention — or refuse to air it altogether — to keep the public safe from the Republican Party’s “disinformation.” (Are you rolling your eyes yet?)