CNN reporter asks brother of American detained in Russia about his anti-CNN posts
Michigan businessman and ex-Marine Paul Whelan was detained in Russia this week on charges of espionage. CNN's Alisyn Camerota interviewed David Whelan, brother of Paul.
News media do this all the time. It gives the reporter a chance to show true compassion to the family of someone in trouble overseas and express outrage that the authoritarian Russian government would hold an American for any reason.
But incredibly, Camerota decided that the most vital information her viewers should know is that Paul Whelan apparently doesn't think much of CNN and posted on Russian social media that the network is "fake news."
WHELAN: "I don't think there is any chance that he was a spy."
CAMEROTA: "There are some strange elements of your – or at least questionable, I guess, of your brother's story. He had this social media account, the equivalent in Russia of Facebook, it's called VK, and he's had it for 13 years. He had various postings on there, pictures of him in Russia. I think the first one we have is where he took a rest and relaxation. Here's one. I wasn't planning to go to this one yet, but let's talk about this one. Here's one where he says, 'Just drinking coffee and watching fake news.' Now, I'm not taking this personally that he's pictured with CNN, but I just am wondering, is this a statement on his part somehow?"
WHELAN: "I don't really know. I don't know what's on his VK page. I don't follow him on social media other than Twitter, which is where I am. So I don't know what he was intending by those photos."
CAMEROTA: "What did he tell you about his social media? Why do you think that he did have a VK account, a social media account in Russia?"
WHELAN: "I knew over the years he had met Russians. I don't know whether it was through work or through his marine activity, but he had met people while he had been traveling around. And he connected with them on social media. And he would tell us that when he was traveling he would go and visit those people. I expect he probably had a V contact page because his Russian friends had a V contact page."
Poor Mr. Whelan. He didn't realize he had to apologize to CNN for his brother's mean postings. I'm sure questions about his "anti-CNN bias" were exactly the sort of things he expected to answer when he agreed to the interview.
What possible connection to Paul Whelan's detention is his belief that CNN disseminates fake news? Are the Russians justified in holding Whelan because of his anti-CNN social media posts? That's what Camerota appeared to imply when asking these bizarre questions.
This is not a story about CNN and one American's bias against the network. But the self-absorbed, narcissistic Camerota didn't see it that way.