CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter called on media outlets to focus more coverage on what he feels is President Trump’s obvious mental instability, saying Sunday morning that it is an issue we can no longer “tiptoe around.”
“He’s getting worse,” Stelter said at the top of his weekend show focussing on the media CNN’s Reliable Sources. “We can see it. It’s happening in public but it’s still a very hard, very sensitive story to cover. I’m talking of course about President Trump, about his behavior, about his instability.”
Noting that several prominent conservative figures—notably, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s husband—are pleading with the press and Republicans to take the president’s erratic behavior more seriously, the CNN host then ticked off a list of the president’s comments and actions that have raised eyebrows.
“Look, all of these stories are covered in the moment, individually, by reporters,” Stelter said. “News outlets use words like erratic, volatile, unstable but rarely are Trump’s words and actions covered as a whole and rarely do news outlets take it to that next level. OK, what he just said seems crazy—what does that reveal about him? We rarely see it go to that next step.”
Pointing out that Trump will always have a chorus of supporters backing him up and defending him, the CNN media analyst added that Trump’s “Fox fans pretend the worst episodes didn’t happen at all or blame the media for bad coverage.”
While Stelter went on to credit CNN and MSNBC for doing a decent job of showing the “ugly reality” with their on-screen graphics, he also stated that there is not “really a vocabulary” or a “format” for covering concerns about a president’s mental well-being.
“It’s really a series of questions that no one is able to answer,” he declared. “Why does he make it all about himself even after visiting a hospital after a massacre? Why does he lie so often? Is there a method to the madness or is something wrong? Is he suffering from some sort of illness? It’s questions, questions and then just more questions.”
Prior to bringing on two psychiatrists to debate the ethics of media outlets openly discussing the president’s mental fitness, Stelter ended his monologue by noting “we can’t tiptoe around it anymore.”
“We’ve got to talk about this,” he concluded. “So let’s talk about it. Let’s do it.”
This isn’t the first time that Stelter has taken to the air to speculate about the president’s mental health. In August 2017, the CNN personality wondered aloud why more journalists weren’t asking the “uncomfortable questions” about whether Trump was fit for office or “suffering from some kind of illness.” And in January 2018, he called on reporters to do “more reporting” on Trump’s possible mental instability.