CNN host Brian Stelter opened Sunday’s edition of “Reliable Sources” by pondering out loud whether President Donald Trump is fit to serve as president, whether he is a racist, and whether he is suffering from “some kind of illness.”
“Now this was not a normal week, so this is not a normal show,” Stelter began. “President Trump’s actions and inactions in the wake of Charlottesville are provoking some uncomfortable conversations… mostly off the air, if we’re being honest.”
Trump has been raked over the coals by the mainstream media and social media commenters alike for allegedly making moral equivalences between the far-right white supremacists in Charlottesville and their far-left Antifa counter-protesters by claiming there was violence on “many sides.” Since then, he and the White House have clarified his remarks, but the fallout remains.
“In discussions among friends and family, in debates on social media, people are questioning the president’s fitness,” Stelter continued. “But these conversations are happening in newsrooms and TV studios as well. Usually, after the microphones are off, after the stories are filed, after the paper’s been put to bed, people’s concerns and fears and questions come out – questions that often feel out of bounds, off-limits, too hot for TV.”
Stelter went on to rattle off a number of hypothetical scenarios.
“Questions like these: Is the president of the United States a racist? Is he suffering from some kind of illness? Is he fit for office? And if he’s unfit, then what?” he wondered.
The former “New York Times” media reporter pointed to criticisms of Trump that describe him as “unpresidential, unhinged, and sometimes even crazy,” before reiterating the inflammatory questions and proposing one
that seemed a bit ironic given the circumstances.
“And one more: is it time for objective journalists? I don’t mean opinion folks. I mean down the middle journalists to address these questions head on, and how do they do it?” he asked.