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Christopher Phillips, a freshman at the University of Chicago, had asked the pundit about his apparently lengthy critique of Fox News prior to the moment, adding that CNN had spread disinformation about Nicholas Sandmann, “Mighty Ducks” and “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, as well as the Trump-Russia probe.
Stelter dismissed Phillips’ question, at one point citing a “right-wing narrative.”
“The way I’ve always been is to search for truth and ask questions to sift through the lies and find out what’s really going on,” said Phillips, a writer for one of the school’s student publications.
He recounted how he came to the disinformation-themed forum and encountered several “legacy media employees” who he said have spent their entire careers spreading what they are accusing other outlets and politicians of spreading.
“Brian Stelter talks for 30 minutes about how Fox News is this huge purveyor of disinformation. They’re the enemy of the people. And then I come up and I say, Wait a second. Run that back. Because actually CNN – from what I’ve seen, at least — is probably 10 times the purveyor of disinformation that you claim Fox News to be,” Phillips recalled.
“And you know, he didn’t really have a great answer for it.”
When asked what he thought Stelter’s response would be, Phillips remarked he never thought the pundit would admit CNN is “corrupt,” but expected a middle ground, such as an admission they had retracted some stories in the past that were proven to be flawed.
“But there was no apology,” Phillips said. “There was no remorse whatsoever. It’s just, you know, I don’t know what news network you’re talking about. That’s not mine when in reality, he said these things on CNN. It’s all documented.”
At the forum, when Phillips finished his question, Stelter prefaced his fuller response by nervously quipping, “It’s time for lunch.”