Jeff Poor

Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” host Brian Stelter took aim at three Alabama newspapers for highlighting former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore’s reaction to a report from The Washington Post last week that accused Moore of engaging in inappropriate conduct with four teenage girls decades ago.

Stelter suggested that instead of Moore’s reaction, which Moore offered in his first public appearance in Vestavia Hills, AL a day earlier, The Gadsden Times, the Montgomery Advertiser and The Tuscaloosa News should have focused instead on what the women who accused Moore were “now saying.”

Partial transcript as follows:

STELTER: Take a look at the headlines in some of the Alabama newspapers from Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We’ve compiled a collection of these to show how the story evolved over the past few days. First, it was about the allegations, you see here, Moore facing sex scandal. That’s the headline. It was similar headlines in several other papers.

But by Sunday, this morning, folks are waking up seeing headlines about Moore defending himself, promising revelations about some of the accusers, saying that he is defiantly refuting the accusers. In other words, the story is not about what the women are saying. It’s about how he’s responding.

I wonder if that’s the wrong way to be framing these stories.

MOON: Yes. Yes. Absolutely I think so. You know, there have been some headlines that have been pretty embarrassing for some of the state’s newspapers that focused on his defense and his allegations against the victims, instead of what they have said.

I mean, there’s nothing that these ladies that would prove untrue, or there’s no reason why shouldn’t trust what they say.

STELTER: Yes, I wish there was more attention toward what the women are now saying, how are they standing by their stories. You know, one of the lawyers came out yesterday and said, Moore is defaming my client. He has to stop defaming her.

And yet, most of the focus is on Moore without evidence, saying he’s going to come out with revelations against them.