Brian Stelter’s tenure at CNN turned him into the face of media bias. He rationalized every attack on Donald Trump, promoted the potential presidential candidacy of creepy porn lawyer Michael Avenatti and crusaded against conservative journalism at every turn. CNN’s “Reliable Sources” had its lowest-rated episode since September 2019 on Sunday when only 580,000 viewers tuned in.
CNN’s Brian Stelter is finally gone. (Hold your applause until the end.) He’s the second major on-camera figure on that network to be ousted in the past year. He takes with him the embarrassingly titled show “Reliable Sources” and leaves four epic examples of his bad journalism in his wake.
Stelter’s tenure at CNN turned him into the face of media bias. (Your joke goes here ________.) In short order, he went from a relatively obscure liberal media critic to Public Enemy No. 1 on the right. With good reason.
Stelter rationalized every attack on Donald Trump, promoted the potential presidential candidacy of creepy porn lawyer Michael Avenatti and crusaded against conservative journalism at every turn. He even entertained a suggestion from a reader that “Trump desperately needs a 10 minute delay,” so the press could censor him.
Stelter wasn’t always the annoying lickspittle that he became. He covered media for The New York Times and TVNewser and did a respectable job at it. But when Trump came on the scene, Stelter went from bad to corporate mouthpiece attacking the candidate and later president.
It is hard to quantify just how bad Stelter’s time at CNN really was. Imagine the movie “Gigli” or maybe “Cats” without the star power. A horrifying mix of cringe-worthy faux journalism and super-serious pretension.
He actually helped re-credential fired CBS News anchor Dan Rather and once claimed, “We’re not anti-Trump … we’re pro-truth. We’re pro-honesty. We’re pro-decency.”
Stop laughing and read on. Here are the four worst of the worst moments:
1. 25th Amendment time
It’s a standard liberal media line to claim that Republican politicians are racist, evil, crazy or stupid (or often all four). Stelter tried mixing most of that in one short August 2017, rant when he freaked out about his view of Trump’s mental health. “Is the president of the United States a racist? Is he suffering from some kind of illness? Is he fit for office? And if he’s unfit, then what?”
He went on in 2018 with a claim the year was starting off with “madness.” All of that was tied to a potential 25th Amendment removal of Trump from office. It was pretty much the Never Trump fantasy.
2. Promoting the creepy porn lawyer
Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti was featured on TV news 254 times in a year, including 121 times on CNN. But it was Stelter in his bizarro 2018 interview who touted Avenatti as possible presidential timber. He said “star power and TV savvy are required for the job” and that’s “one reason why I’m taking you seriously as a contender is because of your presence on cable news.” Avenatti is currently in prison for four years. From timber to sawdust.
3. Talking about the Trump “cult”
Stelter didn’t just attack Trump, he went after his supporters. The term “cult” was common on “Reliable Sources.” Stelter went several steps further. He talked to California Democrat Rep. Jackie Speier who compared Trump supporters with Jonestown cultists. He even brought on Steven Hassan, the author of “The Cult of Trump,” to discuss “mind control” and “deprogramming” Trump supporters.
4. Corporate mouthpiece
Stelter’s worst journalism wasn’t even about Trump. It was obvious Stelter did his boss’s bidding by going after Trump and conservatives. But there’s a difference between being a mouthpiece and just being a hack. When it came time to cover for his colleague, anchor Chris Cuomo, Stelter chose the latter.
Stelter appeared on “The Late Show” with host Stephen Colbert to discuss Cuomo’s conflict of interest at the network when dealing with allegations of sexual harassment involving his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Stelter defended the network’s horrible journalistic practices as a “conundrum” and “really complicated.” He supported CNN, saying, “Scolding a host in public, saying what they did was ‘inappropriate,’ that is an actual punishment.” Sure…
Stelter’s departure is unsurprising. New CNN Chairman and CEO Chris Licht have vowed to shift the network back to real news from being a 24-7 screed against Trump and conservatives. Stelter’s been most likely to exit ever since. Gone now are also: CNN president Jeff Zucker, his lover and chief marketing officer Allison Gollust, and legal analyst and famed Zoom masturbator Jeffrey Toobin.
If Stelter is the first on-air shoe to fall since the new owners took over, the way to repair CNN is to make it rain shoes like it’s a remake of a 1980s Weather Girls song.
With Stelter and his unreliable show vanquished, time will tell how influential the remaining CNN media team becomes.
As for Stelter, the big question will be which media outlet will lower itself enough to hire him. I’m no bookie, but I’d put odds on MSNBC. They wouldn’t have to lower themselves much.