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Brian Stelter ended his stint as ‘Reliable Sources’ host by doubling down on his long-running formula, critics say, which led to new CNN boss Chris Licht’s decision to cancel the emission.
It was reported earlier this summer that Stelter was among CNN stars who have become “the face of the network’s liberal turn” in the eyes of conservatives.
But in his opening monologue, Stelter remained defiant.
“I know I didn’t have all the answers, I didn’t even always have all the right questions…Here’s what I know. I know it’s not partisan to stand up for decency, democracy and dialogue,” Stelter told CNN viewers. on Sunday. “It’s not partisan to stand up to demagogues. It’s necessary, it’s patriotic. We have to make sure we don’t give a platform to those who lie to us to our face. But we also have to make sure we represent the whole debate. and represent what is happening in this country and in this world.”
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Except that Stelter’s final “reliable sources” didn’t represent the “full range of debates” because his guest list was almost exclusively comprised of liberal critics of Trump who continued to bash the former president with no conservatives or moderates to repel.
Veteran CNN reporter and political analyst Carl Bernstein, who has called every episode of the Trump presidency “worse than Watergate,” called Trump a “criminal” and a “serial liar,” ringing the bell. alarm over the “authoritarianism” he brought against democracy and inspired at the state level.
Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg also suggested that Trump was authoritarian for his repeated attacks on the media being “the enemy of the people”. He later defended his magazine’s cover by calling Trump a “racist” and using the term “lie” to describe his various claims.
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NPR TV critic Eric Deggans has denounced Trump for denying the 2020 election results and “blaming” migrants for America’s ills. He also warned CNN that in the future he should not provide a “false equivalence”, suggesting that the “extremism” of Republicans should not be compared to the “regular dysfunction” of Democrats.
Other anti-Trump critics invited to the show include CNN analyst David Zurawik, who earlier this year exclaimed that Trump had “opened the gates of hell”, and White House columnist Brian Karem, who was one of the overly hostile reporters covering the Trump. presidency.
Much of the final broadcast whitewashed coverage from “Reliable Sources” and CNN at large.
Bernstein fought for ousted CNN President Jeff Zucker, as well as the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav, saying they were both ‘committed to understanding what good journalism is’ when they spoke about how rarely a ‘good editor or good news story is the organization refuses a good story.” Except Zucker was caught tracing the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop during the 2020 presidential election, according to audio tapes obtained by Project Veritas.
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There was very little mention of why “Reliable Sources” was cancelled, except for a panel discussion that briefly speculated whether the Warner Bros. board member. Discovery, John Malone, who was an outspoken critic of CNN’s partisan evolution, had something to do with CNN’s firing of Stelter. Insider media correspondent Claire Atkinson acknowledged that Malone wanted to bring CNN “back to the center” rather than solely compete with MSNBC for liberal viewers.
In his opening remarks, Stelter touted how his show “surpassed its weight” and was one of CNN’s “highest-rated weekend shows,” without acknowledging that “reliable sources” lost out. much of its audience since Trump left office and how its viewership was less than half of Fox News’ “MediaBuzz” viewership in the same timeslot.
Stelter, which has hosted the program since 2013, then pointed to comments made by former CNN CEO Tom Johnson in reaction to the cancellation of ‘Reliable Sources’, which he said was founded 30 years ago. years because CNN founder Ted Turner and network executives “felt very deeply that media organizations have a responsibility to account for and evaluate the journalism profession itself.”
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“Founding host Bernard Kalb and founding executive producer Rick Davis said this program was meant to be a critical media lens — such a special phrase, ‘critical media lens,’” Stelter told viewers.
Except that Stelter had built a reputation among his critics as the media’s “room monitor” for the steadfast defense of his liberal allies in the industry. Earlier this year, Stelter defended the media by collectively dismissing Hunter Biden’s 2020 laptop story, suggesting critics don’t know “how newsrooms work.”
Additionally, Stelter consistently avoided mentioning controversies that portrayed the media in a negative light. In 2019, he omitted ABC News’ peak on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal on which he had a “top news story” scoop of the year. Last year, he ignored at least 20 major ‘Reliable Sources’ media stories, including Meghan McCain’s dramatic exit from ‘The View’ and how a judge banned MSNBC from Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial after police surprised an NBC News freelance producer after the jury bus. .
Before wrapping up his final moments on CNN, Stelter thanked his team, his family, Jeff Zucker for hiring him and even Chris Licht, the man who ultimately fired him, for “allowing us to say goodbye.” . Stelter went on to say that he would continue to “root” for CNN in the future.
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“MediaBuzz” host Howard Kurtz, who previously hosted CNN’s “Reliable Sources” before joining Fox News, has spoken about the cancellation of the show he once hosted.
“Chris Licht, the new president of CNN made it clear when he took office in the spring that he wanted less extreme partisanship on the network, a return to basics. And that makes sense. The problem is after six years of dogged anti-Trump and relentlessly anti-Fox programming, CNN had given up that reputation, and there was plenty of company in the business.Then the high sugar of the Trump-led ratings wore off. with the departure of the former president,” Kurtz said Sunday. “I helped build [‘Reliable Sources’] and I was very proud to be fair to conservatives, liberals, independents and everyone else. It was a different time at CNN. Now everyone makes mistakes, including me, but fairness is the hallmark I brought here, where there are also very strong opinions from commentators as well as many journalists who have made their best to play things frankly.
He told Fox News viewers, “In this hyper-polarized era… not everyone wants balance. They just want you to be on their team. But I think we’ve shown there’s a loyal audience that seeks fairness rather than partisanship. So now there’s only one media analysis show on national television, and you watch it.”