CNN’s Brian Stelter issued an apology after he falsely claimed that the historic St. John’s Church showed “no sign of smoke or fire” as it was shown ablaze live on television, according to Fox News.
The historic St. John’s church across from the White House has been set on fire: pic.twitter.com/mWgtdkwBq3
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) June 1, 2020
A reporter tweeted the news of the historic landmark was on fire and was immediately met with a challenge from Stelter, who tweeted, “What’s your source? Live video of St. John’s does not show obvious fire.”
“You can see the church on your TV, right? No sign of smoke or fire at the church. Small fires across the street. Your tweet is going viral, and it’s not accurate,” Stelter responded.
Daily Caller’s Katrina B. Haydon responded that she was in fact, watching it on live television.
— Logan Hall (@loganclarkhall) June 1, 2020
Stelter eventually deleted the tweet and apologized, but many continued to condemn CNN’s media critic.
“I deleted my tweets because I fell victim to the worst foolish impulses of this website. I’m sorry for criticizing your tweets. I’m also sorry if anyone uses this brief exchange to distract from what really matters — the protesters, the police, the church,” Stelter wrote.
Saying you “fell victim” is a complete abdication of responsibility, Brian. Take ownership of your mistakes.
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) June 1, 2020
Accuses me of either lying or being too dumb to communicate what I’m seeing on live TV, then deletes it pic.twitter.com/A8tCQ5JOdT
— Katrina B Haydon (@katrinabhaydon) June 1, 2020
It’s a riot, you clown. https://t.co/skN7IxbK9V
— Boris Epshteyn (@BorisEP) June 1, 2020
"The website made me do it" is a pretty weak response. "Apologizing" for people pointing out your failure is even weaker. Don't rent your mistakes, own them. https://t.co/Ssxtv7HR5c
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) June 1, 2020
“Stelter took the coward’s way out and reminded us that he’s a pathetic excuse for a journalist,” NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck wrote.
More from Fox News:
While the “Reliable Sources” host attempted to scold a fellow journalist over her sourcing, it turned out Stelter was the one who was “not accurate.” The parish house connected to the St. John’s Church, which contains offices and parlors for gatherings, was indeed on fire.
The basement, which was torched, is used for childcare during church services, and had recently undergone renovations. Fox News aired footage of the fire well before Stelter questioned the accuracy and was relentlessly mocked on social media as a result.
Meanwhile, the church said every president beginning with James Madison, “until the present,” has attended a service at the church, giving it the nickname, “the church of presidents.”
Just last week, Stelter was also lampooned when he shared a Washington Post column attempting to compare the arrest of a CNN crew while covering the Minneapolis riots to the tragic death of George Floyd.