The Atlantic boss claims 'disinfo' conference subjected to 'disinformation campaigns' following viral moments

Illinois college student who questioned Brian Stelter speaks out

University of Chicago freshman Christopher Phillips joins ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ to discuss viral moment.

The Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg claimed his “disinformation” conference has been the subject of “disinformation campaigns” after panelists who participated at the event were widely mocked on social media. 

Goldberg, whose magazine co-hosted the “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference along with the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, appeared on the closing day of the event and suggested that “disinformation” had been spreading about what had been discussed, which he viewed as a “measurement of our success.”

“I think one darkly humorous, but inevitable measurement of our success is that our disinformation conference has been the subject of disinformation campaigns on social media already,” Goldberg said on Friday. “So, yeah.”

The comment sparked lukewarm applause from the audience, to which Goldberg grinned and said, “Congratulate yourselves for that.”

“We’ll study that at next year’s disinformation [conference],” he also quipped. 

The Chicago Thinker, a student-led newspaper at the University of Chicago whose staff have been challenging conference panelists throughout the event, mocked Goldberg’s comments on social media. 

“And just like that @JeffreyGoldberg proved our point!” the conservative-libertarian paper exclaimed. “First rule in the corporate media’s playbook: dismiss truthful reporting as ‘disinformation’ to avoid accountability. A fitting end to the conference!”

Former President Obama was panned by critics as he was accused of “revisionist history” over his record on Russia, telling the Chicago audience, “I will say that, as someone who grappled with the incursion into Crimea and the eastern portions of Ukraine, I have been encouraged by the European reaction. Because, in 2014, I often had to drag them kicking and screaming to respond in ways that we would’ve wanted to see, from those of us who describe ourselves as Western democracies.” 

Former President Barack Obama. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Atlantic staff writer Anne Applebaum was confronted by Daniel Schmidt, a University of Chicago freshman and writer for The Chicago Thinker, about the media’s treatment of the Hunter Biden scandal during the 2020 presidential election. 

“Do you think the media acted inappropriately when they instantly dismissed Hunter Biden’s laptop as Russian disinformation and what can be learned from that in ensuring that what we label as disinformation is truly disinformation and not reality?” Schmidt asked Wednesday. 

Applebaum didn’t directly answer either question, but instead claimed Hunter Biden’s emails weren’t “interesting.”

“My problem with Hunter Biden’s laptop is, I think, totally irrelevant. I mean, it’s not whether it’s disinformation,” Applebaum said. “I mean, I didn’t think Hunter Biden’s business relationships have anything to do with who should be president of the United States. So, I don’t find it to be interesting. I mean, that would be my problem with that as a major news story.”

The media largely dismissed the New York Post’s bombshell reporting of Hunter Biden during the 2020 presidential election as "Russian disinformation."
(Getty images  |  New York Post)

Another viral exchange took place when Christopher Phillips, another freshman and writer for The Chicago Thinker, confronted CNN’s left-wing media correspondent Brian Stelter about the “disinformation” his network has promoted in recent years. 

“They push the Russian collusion hoax, they push the Jussie Smollett hoax, they smear Justice Kavanaugh as a rapist, and they also smeared Nick Sandmann as a White supremacist. And yes, they dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop affair as pure Russian disinformation,” Phillips told Stelter on Thursday. “With mainstream corporate journalists becoming little more than apologists and cheerleaders for the regime, is it time to finally declare that the canon of journalistic ethics is dead or no longer operative?”

Phillips continued, “All the mistakes of the mainstream media and CNN, in particular, seem to magically all go in one direction. Are we expected to believe that this is all just some sort of random coincidence, or is there something else behind it?”

CNN host Brian Stelter. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
(David Becker/Getty Images)

Stelter respond by nervously quipping, “It’s time for lunch.”

“There’s a clock that says 30 seconds, but I think my honest answer to you, and I will come over and talk in more detail after this… I understand that that is a popular right-wing narrative about CNN,” Stelter said. “I think it’s important, when talking about shared reality and democracy, all these networks all these news outlets have to defend democracy. And when they screw up, admit it.” 

Stelter continued avoiding Phillips’ line of questioning by pivoting to CNN assisting Fox News in Ukraine following the deadly attack on the Fox News team last month, showing how news outlets “work together,” which is something, Stelter said, “we don’t talk about” enough.

“And with regards to the regime, I think you mean President Biden? The last time I spoke with a Biden aide, we yelled at each other. So that’s the reality of the news business, that people don’t see, that people don’t hear,” Stelter said. “They imagine that it’s a situation that simply is not. But I think your question, it speaks to the failure of journalism to show our work and show the reality of how our profession operates. We have a lot of work to do, I think.”

Phillips later thanked Stelter for following up with him after the panel discussion, but tweeted, “I am STILL wondering: if CNN is truly unbiased, WHY is every mistake they make an overstep in favor of Democrats and against Republicans??” 

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