The Trump campaign is demanding an apology from CNN and Brian Stelter after the network host used a demeaning tone while interviewing Trump senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis Sunday.
During the interview, Ellis and Stelter sparred over a disputed CNN poll, which purports to show former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by 14 points among “adults” — not “registered” or “likely” voters, according to Ellis.
While arguing about the poll and the network’s penchant for stretching the truth in order to go after the president, Stelter’s tone toward Ellis turned openly hostile.
Stelter, at one point, asserted that Ellis and the Trump campaign using language to describe CNN as “fake news” equates to a “slur,” and chastised Ellis.
“You understand that, like, someday, you’re going to regret this, right? Someday you’re going to regret this when your kids and grandkids look back at this time,” the “Reliable Sources” host told Ellis.
“You understand that someday you’re gonna regret this, right?” — Brian Stelter to Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis pic.twitter.com/IRcKke3Qqu
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 14, 2020
A clip of the interview segment went viral online, and the Trump campaign soon demanded an apology for the way Ellis was treated, which Trump campaign deputy communications director Ali Pardo described as “sexist.”
“Liberal activists masquerading as journalists are constantly demeaning and insulting conservative women simply for having the audacity to think for ourselves and go against the fake news narrative they are pushing that day,” Pardo wrote in a statement released on Trump’s website.
“President Trump has constantly championed strong women in positions of power and delivered on key issues that matter to women across the country: making our communities safer and bringing jobs back to America.”
The campaign went on to accuse Stelter of striking a misogynistic tone, and for using his position at the network to manipulate Ellis by invoking her children and grandchildren to shame her for supporting the president.
“Brian Stelter’s comments today toward Senior Legal Adviser Jenna Ellis were sexist and demeaning, implying that her children and grandchildren will be ashamed of her simply because she was holding media outlets accountable. This kind of on-air meltdown and lashing out is completely unprofessional, yet it’s what we’ve come to expect from the leftists who hate President Trump,” Pardo continued.
“It would be great if so-called journalists would refrain from personal attacks and putting words in the mouths of the children and grandchildren of strong, smart, and independent women. We condemn Brian Stelter’s behavior and call on CNN and Stelter to apologize.”
Senior Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn also shared the statement on Twitter, and demanded that CNN “should immediately issue an apology to Jenna Ellis for Stelter’s demeaning meltdown.”
— Boris Epshteyn (@BorisEP) June 15, 2020
In the Sunday interview, Ellis told Stelter that “no pollster in the world would stand behind [the CNN poll] as a legitimate poll according to industry standards.”
Ellis, attempting to discuss the poll, was repeatedly interrupted by Stelter.
“It’s important to interrupt when you share fake information,” Stelter stated.
Stelter went on to say that terms such as “fake news” are “slurs” and “smears,” which are “damaging” to journalists.
“You’re not trying to do your job — you’re not a journalist, Brian. You’re an activist. That’s the problem. You have an agenda and your agenda is anti-Trump,” Ellis said.
“You’re not reporting facts and truth,” Ellis told Stelter.
The interview was contentious from the beginning when Stelter defended the CNN poll, which Ellis described as using “junk science,” and not being aligned with polling industry standards.
The pair also sparred over a lawsuit between CNN and Trump.
CNN is currently embroiled in a libel lawsuit with the Trump campaign, according to Reuters.
The suit was filed in March and references a 2019 CNN opinion piece which stated without evidence that the Trump campaign is leaving open the option to seek Russian interference on Trump’s behalf in the 2020 election.
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