It appears that there could be very fluid standards of propriety in the news media business between rivals. When it comes to leveling a criticism at, say, a competing network it is quite acceptable to suggest the entire news channel has a mental health problem. However, if a member of that impaired network was to arrange for a dozen jelly-filled doughnuts to be sent to the offices of a pundit then you have committed the equivalent of a hate-crime.
The news biz is a fickle enterprise.
One of the amusing side notes in the feud between CNN and Fox News is that a bickering little side conflict has flared between TV personalities Brian Stelter and Tucker Carlson. Lately “Tater” Stelter has been free-flowing with the “media criticism” (his supposed stock in trade) directed at Carlson, and meanwhile Tucker has taken to referring to Stelter as “Jeff Zucker’s eunuch”. Sure, they are being petty, but it is amusing all the same.
The current skirmish developed when Stelter jumped aboard the press bandwagon to shame Carlson over comments he made over a decade ago on a shock-jock radio program. This pitchfork & torches journalist reaction was spurred by the basement trolls at Media Matters, and Brian obediently joined the chorus of those scolds who decried the remarks, as if they were at all relevant today.
Carlson responded not by apologizing — the hoped for and expected result — but by throwing the accusations right back at those involved. Tucker pointed out the very similar type of comments made by the President of Media Matters, which received no similar type of blowback. Then he turned his ire of Brian Stelter, mocking the media analyst for playing along with the contrived controversy. The whole furor died off, but there has remained an undercurrent of angst between the two news personalities.
It was reported then in Carlson’s own news outlet The Daily Caller that last Wednesday he had sent one dozen jelly doughnuts to Stelter at his office at CNN. The box had been signed, “Brian! Enjoy. All best, Tucker Carlson.” This outreach seems to be a response to comments Stelter had made on his March 17 Sunday broadcast of Reliable Sources, where Brian called into question the mental health of President Trump, and by extension the mental health of Fox News.
After, once again, addressing the mental competency of President Trump, (a Stelter talking point staple) he said this: “For the record, if Tucker Carlson is watching, I don’t want Fox to shut down. I just want Fox News to be a healthy part of the media ecosystem, and the spread of misinformation that happens on these programs is unhealthy. I think it’s as simple as that.”
Rather humorous to see Stelter lecturing on “misinformation”, now that we have proof his, and CNN’s collusion obsession has been proven a bust.
Initially Stelter took the doughnut delivery in stride, tweeting out as a response, “Is this Tucker’s way of saying yes to my interview request? If so, I’ll accept his silly delivery.” Now we learn that Tucker’s benevolent breakfast offering has not been met with warm acceptance.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 25, 2019
The New York Post details that comments from inside CNN were not so glib.
It’s not quite clear what has prompted Carlson to mess with Stelter at this particular moment, though sources in the CNN camp think that Carlson’s intention is to “fat-shame” Stelter.
So for the record: impugning the mental acuity of an entire news network is perfectly acceptable, but sending a dozen powdered jellies is a triggering offense. I think we can place Stelter’s on-air reactions now in proper perspective, as he over-reacts about policy and other Trump administration activities. I mean, if a dozen from Dunks can set him off like this, imagine what rolling back Obamacare could do!