Ex-CNN producer, Brian Stelter spar over media's coronavirus coverage

CNN producer-turned-Fourth Watch editor Steve Krakauer sparred with CNN’s in-house media pundit Brian Stelter over the weekend on the media’s lack of coronavirus concerns amid coverage of nationwide protests.

The coronavirus pandemic received wall-to-wall coverage by the mainstream media until it was overtaken by the mass protests of the in-custody death of George Floyd that have sparked protests across the country. Krakauer took to Twitter over the weekend to point out that the same media that was scolding beachgoers for going outside amid the pandemic is now largely overlooking COVID-19 concerns when it comes to protestors.

“We know the media leans left - this is beyond politics. I’m not sure anything will erode the public’s trust more than the last 10 days. To go from canvassing beaches to shame a few people for not social distancing to covering thousands with no mention of coronavirus is stunning” Krakauer tweeted.

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Stelter, who has become known as the media’s “hall monitor,” injected himself into the conversation and accused Krakauer of having an anti-media agenda.

CNN’s Brian Stelter accused Steve Krakauer of having an “anti-media agenda” when he pointed out that protestors are rarely shamed for not social distancing.

CNN’s Brian Stelter accused Steve Krakauer of having an “anti-media agenda” when he pointed out that protestors are rarely shamed for not social distancing.

“Where do you come up with these narratives? Coronavirus has been discussed every day in the protest coverage,” Stelter wrote. "’No mention of coronavirus’ is a lie to advance your anti-media agenda.”

Krakauer, a former CNN senior digital producer, regularly writes that his goal is to improve the state of media in America. He’s now the editor and founder of Fourth Watch, a media watchdog newsletter.

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“Nothing anti-media about it - I wish it was different, because I don’t want erosion in institutions I love,” Krakauer shot back. “So far today, CNN has mentioned coronavirus two times in relation to the protests they are covering wall-to-wall. During prime time last night, it wasn’t mentioned once.”

Krakauer then noted there are many signs that the mainstream media has changed its narrative.

“In relation to these protests - which I think are valuable and support, but according to the previous definition from the media they are ‘super spreader’ events - coronavirus has essentially disappeared,” he wrote.

Krakauer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Other critics have echoed Krakauer, noting that the media has largely dismissed social distancing concerns when it comes to the mass demonstrations, after highlighting those concerns when it came to demonstrations against the restrictions associated with the nationwide economic shutdown.

"When it was politically convenient, the media shamed and attacked people who wanted to reopen their stores or even gather at the beach,” Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson told Fox News last week as protesters took to the streets across America. “The media no longer cares about social distancing, because the media sympathizes with [protestors].”