CNN host Brian Stelter sparred with Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to the Trump campaign, in a heated debate on Sunday, culminating with Ellis declaring that Stelter is an “activist” — not a journalist.
The pair were discussing the cease-and-desist letter that the Trump campaign sent CNN last week over a poll that showed Joe Biden with a significant lead over the president. The Trump campaign, however, alleged the survey was “a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the President.” The letter was signed by Ellis.
In response, Stelter asked Ellis on Sunday what “legal claim that you believe you have against CNN.”
Ellis explained the Trump campaign’s qualm with the survey is that it polled adults, not registered voters. “That is not the industry standard,” Ellis declared.
What followed was a lengthy and heated exchange about the state of American news media; Stelter defended the media, while Ellis said the media is biased against Trump, plagued by inaccuracies, and replete with dishonesty.
That’s when Stelter got personal.
“You understand that like someday you’re going to regret this, right? Someday you’re going to regret this when your kids and your grandkids look back at this time and you use slurs and smears like ‘fake news’ to hurt news outlets,” Stelter said. “I think in 10 or 20 years, if we just sit down and talk about this, you’re going to recognize how damaging it was, how damaging it was to use terms like ‘fake news,’ to attack journalists who are trying to do their job.”
Ellis responded by declaring to Stelter’s face that he is not a legitimate journalist.
“You’re not trying to do your job. You’re not a journalist. You’re an activist. That’s the problem,” she fired back.
“You have an agenda and your agenda is anti-Trump. The American people see through that,” Ellis continued. “And they are very grateful that this president is finally holding the fake news media accountable, because you’re activists. You’re not reporting fact and truth.”
Trump attorney Jenna Ellis CNN interview part 2