Democrats in the House of Representatives claim Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to launch investigations into his political rivals. In doing so, Democrats claim, the president committed multiple impeachable offenses.
According to Stelter, Trump found himself in this situation because “his sources of information led him astray.”
One of the president’s main sources of information, Fox News, has long been promoting conspiracy theories and spreading “bogus information” about Ukraine, Stelter argued, and some of that information eventually reached Trump’s orbit.
“This has been swirling around in Trump’s head all year long because it’s been peddled by people like Sean Hannity and John Solomon and Trump’s own lawyer Rudy Giuliani,” the anchor said, noting that Fox News personalities would not always spread completely false information, but they would often distort and manipulate facts.
The host then explained that Fox News hosts such as Hannity have been claiming for years that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election to help former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, frequently suggesting that alleged Ukrainian election meddling influenced the election as much as the Kremlin’s interference.
“It’s no wonder why Trump harbored a grudge against Ukraine. One of his best friends in the media was harping on it all the time,” Stelter said, pointing to Trump’s infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which is now at the heart of impeachment proceedings.
According to Stelter, Trump was “misinformed by years’ worth of anti-Ukraine commentary on his favorite show,” which is why he asked the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The host concluded that “this pro-Trump media bubble did not help Trump.”
“To the contrary, it led him to the brink of impeachment,” he said.
I think it's easy to make the case that we ended up here, at the brink of impeachment, because of the bogus information Trump was watching and reading. So, here it is… pic.twitter.com/5IEK2NjQFG
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 15, 2019
Stelter is not the first person in the public sphere to take note of the influence Fox News apparently exerts on policy-making in the Trump era. Earlier this month, Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik accused the conservative-leaning network of “seeding” the mainstream with conspiracy theories.
According to Zurawik, Fox News and other right-wing publications have been defending Trump against allegations of wrongdoing by spreading conspiracy theories about Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The media critic also suggested that the White House’s apparent lack of coherent impeachment defense is creating a chaotic situation for conservative outlets, which have gotten used to taking “talking points” from the administration.