“What Should We Be Doing Differently?”: CNN Conducts Bizarre Interview with Former Clinton Lawyer Marc Elias

Lawyer Marc Elias has been much in the news lately for his role in funding the Steele dossier, which is a subject of the investigation of Special Counsel John Durham. That investigation just resulted in the indictment of Elias’ former partner at Perkins Coie, Michael Sussman, for lying to federal officials in spreading the Alfa Bank conspiracy theory. Sussman worked with Elias in representing the Clinton campaign. Yet, CNN’s Brian Stelter did a long interview with Elias on how to improve the media without asking him about the investigation or public accusations by reporters that Elias and the Clinton campaign lied to them about their funding of the dossier. It appears that improving the election coverage does not include telling the truth to the media. Instead, Elias objected that the media was not slanted enough toward his work, which he described as “pro-democracy.”

In the interview below, Stelter explores what the media is doing wrong in covering “threats to democracy.” To answer that question Stelter turns to Elias and just accepts that Elias’ work is “pro-democracy” and asks “so what should we be doing differently?”

Elias insisted that the media was not slanted enough in advocating for his type of work:

“For example, any encroachment on the First Amendment right to publish newspapers or curtail the media or to take action against the media is uniformly denounced by the media in absolutist terms. But when it comes to free and fair elections, there tends to be more of a nuanced and sliding scale that the media has.”

Elias called on the media to report with a “pro-democracy slant.”  It is an open call for bias and just assumes that Elias’ work is pro-democracy and, by extension, those who oppose his work are anti-democracy. Elias has long benefited from such biased coverage. For example, Elias denounced Republicans for challenging elections while he was challenging elections that resulted in Democratic losses.

Elias was also criticized for what he said about the ability of Georgia voters to fill out simple forms. None of that was relevant to a discussion of how the media covers election issues.

Yet, “slanted” coverage is in vogue.

Reporters have been embracing “advocacy journalism” as the new model for their profession. This movement includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy. Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll has denounced how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Stanford journalism professor, Ted Glasser, insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He rejected the notion that the journalism is based on objectivity and said that he views “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality.”  Thus, “journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

What was truly incredible is that, on a show dedicated to the media and a segment dedicated to problems on election reporting, Stelter never asked Elias about allegations that he lied to the media about the Clinton campaign funding the Steele dossier.

I previously described news accounts linking the firm and Elias to the dossier scandal:

Throughout the campaign, the Clinton campaign denied any involvement in the creation of the so-called Steele dossier’s allegations of Trump-Russia connections. However, weeks after the election, journalists discovered that the Clinton campaign hid payments for the dossier made to a research firm, Fusion GPS, as “legal fees” among the $5.6 million paid to the campaign’s law firm. New York Times reporter Ken Vogel said at the time that Clinton lawyer Marc Elias, with the law firm of Perkins Coie, denied involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. When Vogel tried to report the story, he said, Elias “pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’” Times reporter Maggie Haberman declared, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.”

It was not just reporters who asked the Clinton campaign about its role in the Steele dossier. John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, was questioned by Congress and denied categorically any contractual agreement with Fusion GPS. Sitting beside him was Elias, who reportedly said nothing to correct the misleading information given to Congress.

The Washington Post also reported that “Elias drew from funds that both the Clinton campaign and the DNC were paying Perkins Coie.”

The interview itself is an example of the “slant” that is all-too-common in today’s coverage.  Stelter agrees that they are witnessing “democratic backsliding” and asks Elias to advise on what the media needs to do to stop it. The viewers would have no way of knowing that Elias is one of the most prominent figures in the Durham investigation or that he has been condemned for his role in the denial of the Clinton campaign’s funding of the dossier before the election.

However, the interview itself was not the answer to Stelter’s question “what should we be doing differently?” Most of the media has been doing this all along by avoiding inconvenient conflicts or allegations in election coverage. Stelter could have actually made news by pressing Elias on the allegations over his past work. Elias should be the subject of election coverage, not the adviser on shaping that coverage. Instead, Stelter chose to reinforce the narrative and avoid the actual news.

43 thoughts on ““What Should We Be Doing Differently?”: CNN Conducts Bizarre Interview with Former Clinton Lawyer Marc Elias”

  1. You should let the FBI know they have in their possession a byte for byte copy. For some reason they used redacted copies, from the attorney representing the Clinton campaign.

    Asked why FBI access was rejected, Comey replied: “I don’t know for sure.” According to Comey, the FBI would have preferred direct access to the server, but “ultimately it was agreed to… [CrowdStrike] would share with us what they saw.”


    CNN propagates communist propaganda and indoctrination on orders from the communist Deep Deep State in America.

    America is on the precipice of the abyss of communism.

    The Supreme Court and judicial branch must support the Constitution and declare all contrary acts void, in order to “Save the Nation.”

    “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

    “…men…do…what their powers do not authorize, [and] what they forbid.”

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

  3. Hypocrisy, authoritarian, self serving liars are best applied to the left and the Democratic Party.

    End of story.

    1. The outright projection from your statement would be funny, but your attempt of propaganda does work for people that think like you, and that is sad.

        1. …And now we have a comment from none other than Anonymous the Stupid who thinks fascism good for the little people. His statement on capitalism was no better.


            1. ATS, you don’t like admitting to the Stupid things you said.

              How about your love of Governor Cuomo and his Emmy? You were clapping loudly for that. While we are at it do you remember what you said about the Steele Dossier or the Russia Hoax? You have been wrong about almost everything and you were wrong when you said fascism is good for the little guy.

              When you talk about idiocy look in a mirror. You didn’t get the name Anonymous the Stupid for nothing.

      1. FishWings, where is the propaganda? We are listening to the lies and hypocrisy from the left on a continuous basis. Take a look at the authoritarian rules that have been created. You don’t see any of that because you remain submerged in BS. Take a look and argue a point, or is that beyond your abilities?


          1. Do you believe what Trump said at a VFW convention? “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening” Of course he stole G. Orwell’s “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears, it was their final, most essential command”

          2. Fishy never has any facts. One doesn’t have to wonder. Fishy doesn’t know what it is talking about.

  4. The recent exchange between Brian and Bari Weiss was confirmation of CNN being the king of disinformation. The only value in mentioning CNN these days is to demonstrate their following in the steps of Soviet “Pravda” and Cuba’s “Granma “ Communist government news agencies.. Brian Stelter wears a suit and tie, but underneath he wears a fitted “brownshirt” compliments of DNC elitist leaders.


    BRIAN STELTER: You write, “There are tens of millions of Americans who aren’t on the hard left or the hard right, who feel the world has gone mad.” So, in what ways has the world gone mad?

    BARI WEISS, AUTHOR AND FOUNDER, COMMON SENSE: Well, you know, when you have the chief reporter on the beat of COVID for “The New York Times” talking about how questioning or pursuing the question of the lab leak is racist, the world has gone mad.

    When you’re not able to say out loud and in public that there are differences between men and women, the world has gone mad.

    When we’re not allowed to acknowledge that rioting is rioting, and it is bad, and that silence is not violence, but violence is violence, the world has gone mad.

    When we’re not able to say that Hunter Biden’s laptop is a story worth pursuing, the world has gone mad. When in the name of progress, young school children, as young as kindergarten, are being separated in public schools because of their race, and that is called progress rather than segregation, the world has gone mad.

    There are dozens of examples that I could share with you and within your —

    STELTER: And you often say “we’re not allowed — we’re not able,” who’s the people stopping the conversation? Who are they?

    WEISS: People that work at networks, frankly, like the one I’m speaking on right now who try and claim that you know, it was — it was racist to investigate the lab leak theory. It was, I mean, let’s just pick an example.

  5. These issues have been prevalent in Politcal Philosophy for thousands of years. The notion of the primacy of advancing “democratic values” like increased participation and having the many rather than the few in charge has been termed “The Liberty of The Ancients” famously championed by Aristotle. With John Locke in the 18th century basic human rights took center stage and sometimes were called “The Liberty of the Moderns”. Our founding fathers took this to heart in the Declaration of Independence saying that it is self evident that human have unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The declaration further said that governments are formed to secure these rights with the consent of the governed. In other words people vote in constitutions and laws that guarantee these rights, which would seem to indicate that laws that supress basic human rights violate the purpose of government.
    Lincoln argued that the basic human rights outweighed the democratic value of majority rule. (this was the main point of the debates with Douglas. You can’t vote in slavery which violates basic human rights). Judge Brandeis tried to move back to the democratic values trumping rights. He said that property rights are just the privilege of the few and began preaching legal activism where social justice can be voted in even if it tramples on property rights. Philosophers like Dworkin and Rawls supported the democratic values trump card in legal analysis and today we have Steven Breyer who calls the liberty of the ancients “Active Liberty” and has practiced and promoted judicial review questions on that basis. Most liberal (in the left wing sense) judges, although bound by the constitution and its limited government human rights protection literal sense, refer to the “democratic spirit” of the constitution as the basis for judicial decisions. This is sometimes referred to as the “unwritten constitution.”
    Do we want Democratic Socialism which uses the democratic value of majority rule to supersede human rights like free speech, religion, the right to bear arms or do we want a constrained democracy based upon human rights which takes severe harms against life, liberty, and property off the table even if the majority want to allow such harms on the basis of equal outcomes? The constrained limited democracy is called constitutional democracy or liberal democracy (where liberal is in the older sense of a guarantee of liberties). The limited government is not hostile to democracy but does invalidate majority decisions that severely harm human rights. (Example: you can’t take away free speech even if you believe that controlled speech leads to more equal outcomes.)

  6. It’s my opinion Stelter is a lightweight, and that he’s fighting the good fight for a compromised ‘news’ organization, so who is really surprised? Politics at both a high level, and low, is generally considered dirty for good reason. Unfortunately for us these days, when heavyweight media picks a side and plays the role of kitty cat within a litter box, then a reasonable man may well expect the level to get really deep. Me? I’m sad for where Justice Roberts is shepherding our country. In fact, I see no ‘solution’ because corporations may be ‘people’ but they’re not limited to the same $2600 political contribution per election, which you and I contend with, so we lack balance. Sigh.

  7. “What was truly incredible is that, on a show dedicated to the media and a segment dedicated to problems on election reporting, Stelter never asked Elias about allegations that he lied to the media about the Clinton campaign funding the Steele dossier.”
    It’s hard to imagine a visage more apt to be adjacent to the word “dunce” in the dictionary than Brian Seltzer’s.

    When you’re a kid, you think the people given the reins of authority get them on merit. Then you grow up.

  8. Professor Turley is a civil libertarian and a very civil person, but quite frankly civility is a weak weapon against these totalitarians. Why does he continue to express surprise that Stelter neglects to ask a single question regarding the funding of the fraudulent dossier? Just accept the fact the the MSM is nothing more or less a propaganda outlet for the ruling party. No different than most authoritarian or totalitarian countries. That is what they are and that is what they will remain. Only sustained and forceful pushback will stop them. Never give them the benefit of doubt. They do what they do to achieve total power.

    1. When perverted from its original purpose, “civility” is the bludgeon the ruling elite use on the rest of us to pacify justified outrage. Take what what say or we’ll insult you pithily to death and call you uncivil. If that doesn’t work we’ll take a more direct approach. That’s what starts revolutions.

    2. Just accept the fact the the MSM is nothing more or less a propaganda outlet for the ruling party.

      A simple truth as revealed in the DNC emails, downloaded on a flashdrive, and given to wikileaks. Those emails listed more than seventy transcribers being paid by propaganda media, that could be counted on the put their byline on “news” pieces penned by DNC operatives and politicians or their staff.

    3. Anonymous says:

      “ Stelter’s show is a talk show, like Hannity’s and Carlson’s shows on Fox. Turley is a commenter on Fox. I’ll believe that Turley is truly concerned about bias when he also criticizes Fox hosts Hannity and Carlson. Turley regularly displays bias in his own columns.”

      Turley has NEVER criticized the advocacy journalism of Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham. Not once. Here are some examples of advocacy journalism found in Fox’s chyrons:

      “Exposing the Left’s Descent into Fascism” 10/8/21

      “MSNBC Cheers the Destruction of Civil Liberties”

      “Dems Want to Program Americans to Live in Fear”

      “The Left is Terrified of American Flags” 6/10/21

      Has Jonathan “Fox News” Turley ever made such hateful claims and smears? Of course not. Nor would he ever. Yet he works for a network which does while criticizing “advocacy journalism” at Fox’s media competitors! It is patently absurd and utterly hypocritical. Turley vehemently complains about the “age of rage,” yet he ignores these rage inducing Fox narratives. Crickets…


  9. The lies give leftist the thin veil of legitimacy to repeat the lies, ignore exculpating facts, and continue to support agenda items that are anathema to the Constitution of the United States.

    That’s all we need to know. In able for leftist to support their agenda they must find some solace in the lies propagated my the media

  10. It’s not pro-democracy, it’s pro-Democrat Party. There is a big difference between the two.

  11. The interview was nothing more than a self-service piece of cr*p interview between the toady Stelter and the charlatan Elias. Watching it equates to wasted and unrecoverable portion of time. I have better things to do and more reliable information to listen to, although I am hard pressed to find a reliable and consistent source of information these days.

  12. Liars interviewing liars for the benefit of those who like to be lied to.

    Some people like being cuckolds.

  13. This is the next liberal battle as evidenced by Pelosi calling out reporters for not arguing in favor of her side of the legislative debate, Bernie yelling, as is his wont, at the media for not informing the public about how good his side of the debate is and of course with Hannah Jones et al decreeing that journalism SHOULD be biased.

    First the change the language, then they change the parameters of what is “acceptable” thought, then they start banning that with which they disagree.

    The left managed to get an op-ed by a sitting United States Senator banned from the NY Times because it called for the military to stop riots. The message was banned and the editor that “allowed” it was fired and all because the little kids of the left said that the op-ed put them in danger. Of course the same mob that did all of this then supported Pelosi when she had the military in DC for months when the riot was from the right.

    PS. Stelter not asking about Durham is a great example of lying by omission. For the left, and sadly for the country now, if the media doesn’t cover it, it didn’t happen. See Hunter’s lap top for Exhibit “A”.

  14. Personally, it’s an insult to other countries to even term what we have ‘media’. It’s largely a propaganda arm staffed with actors. All in the name of dollars. Period. The new ‘lawyer jokes’ (you know: the ones that intimate lawyers are all invertebrate pond scum that would do anything for a buck) are journalism jokes. No offense to anyone on the blog, incidentally I do not share that opinion of attorneys, but you get the idea. I do share that opinion of modern American journalists.

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