Glenn Beck abruptly left a live interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday. The walk-off was the deserved finale of a rather contentious discussion between Beck and host Brian Stelter.
Stelter began the segment asking his guest about the recent episode in which he put on a “Make America Great Again” hat while making the point that mainstream media outlets are pushing people who don’t necessarily like the president “into Trump’s arms” with their overzealous handwringing and biased coverage of the Trump administration.
Stelter almost immediately speaks over Beck when he begins to answer the question by explaining that he sees the media as his 2009 self. To which Stelter interrupts repeatedly with, “Is that a compliment?”
“No, it’s not,” Mr. Beck tells him starkly. “And you don’t see it. None of you are willing to listen to what you’re doing and you’re dividing us even more.”
As if to prove Mr. Beck’s point, rather than listening, Stelter jumps in with another question, asking what the media should do if not point out Trump’s lies “every day.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but when someone has already been through something you’re currently experiencing, the best thing to do is listen to them. It’s called learning the easy way.
Unfortunately, Stelter, like most people, would rather talk over the answers the person who has been in his shoes — whom he claims he invited on for that purpose — than listen to the critiques and advice of someone who has really taken the time to reflect on his effect on the country in the last decade and is trying to impart his revelations to someone who asked for them.
But that’s not what happened.
Mr. Beck’s frustration with Stelter clearly grows throughout the interview. He tells Stelter the media can stop pushing people toward Donald Trump by first admitting to mistakes in the past. Particularly, by barely — or not at all — covering stories during the Obama administration that they are rending their clothes over now, like the separation and detention of minors along the southern border.
Stelter jaw-droppingly argues the media didn’t give as much coverage of children being held at the border in 2014 because the numbers weren’t as high. Is he serious? What happened to the “if even one life” mantra?
To his minimal credit, Stelter stays quiet as Beck explains that substantive debate and policy solutions won’t be found on air, where he says everything is done for ratings and drives wedges rather than build bridges.
“[Americans] are watching you two, the media and Donald Trump, playing this little game back and forth and they’re sick of it,” he says. “They don’t want to hear about it from either side.”
Despite claiming he’s interested and listening to what Beck is saying, Stelter went on the full defensive. Asking in clear obtuse incredulity, “You think I’m dividing the country for ratings by booking you?”
People, you cannot make this stuff up. I may have to dethrone Chris Cillizza on the ‘CNN’s Biggest Tool’ leaderboard. Ayiyiyi.
Again, if someone who’s been in your line of work — and been far more successful at it — calls you out for taking a general statement and making it about your own ego and tries to offer you perspective, explain ideas and offer possible remedies, shut your mouth and listen. But if Brian Stelter had done that, we wouldn’t be here.
Nope. Brian Stelter did the most annoying thing shallow, small-minded people do and without listening to one answer or letting the discussion get to any real substance, he resorted to gossip.
The situationally unaware Stelter thought it would be a good time to ask Beck, who is the founder of the retrenched media outlet TheBlaze, about an anonymously sourced Daily Beast article about more recent layoffs at the company. Asking Glenn Beck whether trying to start a media company that strives to engage in civil discourse, focus on ideas and finding solutions isn’t sustainable or not.
The article also, among other things, suggested Beck could be moving himself and his company to California. Because, you know, that’s where failing companies go to save money and be less burdened by taxes and regulation. But I digress.
That’s when Beck had enough.
“Wow. Brian, thanks a lot. I think that’s the most ridiculous question I’ve ever heard.,” he began. “I’m sitting here ready to talk to you about the detaining of children and parents and trying to break families apart. Something that has been happening with Janet Reno. That’s why it went to the Supreme Court in the first place. It’s been happening since Janet Reno and we want to stop it and you want to play those games? Have a nice day.”
And he walked off. I can’t say I blame him, given the entire supposed point of the interview. Stelter went on his merry way doing exactly what Glenn Beck had tried to tell him was the very issue that was driving a wedge in society and between Americans.
You really have to hand it to the media, they sure know how to give a live, real-world presentation of exactly the problem being pointed out as needing correction.