CNN tries and fails to cover for NPR’s fake reporting on Supreme Court 'mask feud'

Brain Stelter and Oliver Darcy claimed CNN "matched key parts" of NPR’s SCOTUS mask story, themselves.

Nick Monroe Cleveland Ohio

CNN’s Brain Stelter was spotted on Tuesday running cover for NPR after a botched story about Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor refusing to attend in-person conferences remotely because Justice Gorsuch refused to mask up.

He claimed one of the network’s own hosts corroborated NPR’s original reporting, only to have the whole thing completely debunked by multiple US Supreme Court Justices the following day.

Stephen Miller of The Spectator points out how the newsletter propped up NPR’s Nina Totenberg as "incredibly well-sourced." CNN tried to alienate Shannon Bream of Fox News as having a "single source" for disputing NPR.

On Tuesday night, Shannon Bream had said the following on Bret Baier’s show:

"A source at the Supreme Court says there have been no blanket admonition or request from Chief Justice Roberts that the other justices begin wearing masks to arguments. The source further stated Justice Sotomayor did not make any such request to Justice Gorsuch. I’m told, given that fact, there was also no refusal by Justice Gorsuch."

This newsletter was published hours later, before the pair of statements made by Supreme Court justices on Wednesday.

  • "Reporting that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask surprised us. It is false. While we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends," wrote Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch.
  • "I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench," added Chief Justice John Roberts a few hours later.

An archived copy of the Reliable Sources newsletter by Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy is available for review here.

(CNN on Tuesday put out a call for job offers for their misinformation department.)

While CNN’s Stelter hasn’t made a formal tweet about the latest developments at the time of writing, he’s been liking the remarks of others who are continuing to demonize Fox News, anyway.

On Tuesday morning, NPR’s original story was that Justice Neil Gorsuch was not masking up when listening to SCOTUS arguments earlier this month. The outlet alleged that the circumstances, including Sotomayor’s diabetes, left her more susceptible to COVID.

Now we’re learning that this article’s claims of Justice Sotomayor being forced to participate in her work remotely are not true.

Elsewhere in reaction to this story, Glenn Greenwald noted the behavior of Clara Jeffery at Mother Jones.

Greenwald’s claims check out seeming as how the last acknowledgement Clara Jeffrey made about the story was a retweet of someone criticizing him for something that turned out to be true.

"Welp, you're certainly free to believe the Chief Justice over the reporter on this," said Elie Mystal (of The Nation and MSNBC) in response to Stephen Miller.


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