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Tipsheet

Stelter Guest Roasts Liberal Media's 'Great Awokening' and Coverage of Youngkin Win

Screenshot via CNN

On Brian Stelter's Sunday Show "Reliable Sources," an interview with author and editor Batya Ungar-Sargon went in a direction Stelter definitely should have seen coming — but apparently was not prepared for — when discussing last Tuesday's election in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

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As the mainstream media continues to have a difficult time coming to terms with Republican Glenn Youngkin's win over Clinton lackey and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, CNN's media critic-turned PR flack Stelter apparently thought talking with the author of the book "Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy" would not lead to criticism of the breathless depiction of McAuliffe's loss as a result of voters' racism.

"Tuesday was a really good advertisement for my book, because my book is arguing that a lot of this conversation around wokeness is actually about class," Ungar-Sargon explained about what her book illuminates in Tuesday's results. "We are hiding the total dispossession of the working class of all races by focusing on a very highly specialized academic language around race," she said.

"Glenn Youngkin's victory was a perfect example of this," Ungar-Sargon, who is also deputy opinion editor at Newsweek, stated. "The media's response to Youngkin's victory is literally the reason that he won."

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Stelter tried to push back, accusing Ungar-Sargon of over-generalizing, but she got more specific. 

"You saw host, after host, after host on MSNBC saying 'Oh this is a victory for white supremacy, white supremacy wins again, racism wins again," Ungar-Sargon pointed out. "The Lieutenant Governor that Youngkin won with will be the first black woman to hold that job, when Glenn Youngkin managed to flip majority black districts, when he managed to get between 40 and 50 percent of Latino voters — are all of those people white supremacists?" she asked rhetorically. 

"Of course they're not — they're worried about, number one, the economy, and number two, schooling, and it seems to me that it is such a 'self-own' to tell people who are worried about the economy that that is white supremacy," Ungar-Sargon continued. "You are essentially criminalizing the views of working class Americans, and you saw the same thing with the conversation around Critical Race Theory, you saw all of these pundits being like 'These people don't know what Critical Race Theory is,'" she said of the coverage from liberal media. "That is not a political statement, that is a class statement, [to say] they are not educated enough to be opposed to Critical Race Theory, how dare they oppose it."

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Ungar-Sargon wasn't done dragging woke white liberals, either. Talking about the "great awokening" that's gripped liberal media outlets, she pointed out the trend of "white liberals starting to have more extreme views on race than even people of color, the people of color they're advocating on behalf of."

These white liberal elites in the media, Ungar-Sargon reminded, "started to advocate for things like 'defund the police' as we saw recently, that is a view that is most closely held by highly affluent, highly educated liberal elites while 81 percent of black Americans oppose defunding the police."

Again, Stelter seemingly didn't see the smackdown coming when he asked Ungar-Sargon "who or what is the 'woke media?'"

"I don't know, you tell me Brian, are we on woke media right now?" she responded. 

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Ticking off a list of outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, and yes, CNN, Ungar-Sargon explained that research has found "an absolute skyrocketing of the use of woke words like 'white privilege' or 'marginalization' or 'oppression'" that liberal outlets embraced. Becoming woke "as a way of increasing their traffic," she explained, "it created this feedback loop with the affluent white readership that they were courting to where it shifted public opinion."

For more on Unger-Sargon's book and the argument she makes about wokeness in the media, Vespa has a great writeup here.

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