- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 4, 2020

CNN’s Brian Stelter says social-media buzz surrounding Joe Biden possibly ducking presidential debates, which began after a CNN op-ed by former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart, is a “right-wing media tempest.”

The “Reliable Sources” host blamed Fox News and right-leaning media outlets for creating a mountain out of a molehill Monday evening.

His commentary also came after a similar piece by The New York Times titled, “Let’s Scrap the Presidential Debates.”

Mr. Lockhart’s July 28 opinion column warned the Democrat to avoid a stage with President Trump at all costs.

“Whatever you do, don’t debate Trump,” he wrote. “It’s a fool’s errand to enter the ring with someone who can’t follow the rules or the truth.”

The Times’ op-ed said it was time for Mr. Biden to dump presidential debates on “the trash heap of useless (at best) rituals.”

“It is mostly a right-wing media tempest, fueled by hour after hour of Fox commentary (not reporting),” Mr. Stelter assured Townhall editor Guy Benson. “[Right-leaning coverage is] far removed from campaign reality.”

The CNN host, confronted with coverage by his own network, Newsweek, and the Boston Herald, clarified his remarks.

“I’m well aware,” he said of debate stories besides Fox News. “But it’s a mistake to spend lots of precious time yakking about what leftie columnists are suggesting in this case. Obviously Biden will debate. Why imply otherwise to viewers, hour after hour?”

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