The Biggest Indictment of Brian Stelter? His Departure Does Not Leave a Void

Source: RedState

The ultra-biased “media analyst” Brian Stelter is forced out, and tellingly, nobody asks who will fill his position.

It’s really to the point that at CNN headquarters they should erect a construction fence and commit to a wholesale razing. In just the past year, this network has seen its CEO depart (Jeff Zucker), as well as its top-rated host (Chris Cuomo), it suffered multiple cases of pedophilia with show producers, and had its ratings continuing to erode as the rest of cable news stabilized or even grew. 

Then there was the explode-on-the-launchpad fiasco of the CNN+ rollout, a streaming venture costing hundreds of millions that didn’t even last a month.

Now comes the news that Brian Stelter is departing the network, and his Sunday news program about the news Reliable Sources will be canceled after 30 years on the air. With the departure of Zucker, Stelter’s fortunes were really a case of “Not if, but when.” The new management had announced it was looking to revamp its operations and bring a more balanced approach to its coverage. John Zaslav, a media executive and member of the newly formed board of directors for Warners-Discovery told CNBC last November:

“I would like to see CNN evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with, and actually have journalists, which would be unique and refreshing.”

That outright admission that CNN was a biased source of slanted news was the primary threat to Stelter’s future. His was the kind of myopic coverage one comes to expect from news outlets; to have him positioned as the network’s self-professed media guru only heightened the appearance of that bias. 

One of Brian’s recent monologues had him impugning the character of some conservative news outlets by suggesting they were too focused with their news content – “Is it produced by reporters, or by repeaters?” Pithy, but also projection. It is amusing for Stelter to try mocking the focus of other journalists when he had an unhealthy and pathological obsession with Fox News. He, and his ward, Boy Wonder Oliver Darcy, were consumed with Fox and the personalities there. 

This was hardly an isolated case of oblivious hypocrisy. Last July, the Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily was forcibly shut down by Chinese authorities for posing as an opposition threat publication. Stelter covered this and rightfully condemned the acts as a threat to journalistic integrity. But while taking this correct stance, he and his ward, Boy Wonder Oliver Darcy, were both lobbying to have conservative news outlets taken down from the channel lineups of cable and satellite providers. This was being pushed in the name of battling misinformation and preserving democracy.

Stelter’s foibles were legion. He frequently took issue with Donald Trump’s typos, then in one segment where he was tabulating them his onscreen graphics dubbed those “misspelling errors.” Brian would talk about how these instances showed if you cannot get the small things correct then the big things are even worse. Yet the man who proclaimed he was in charge of proofing his own onscreen graphics saw his program incapable at times of even spelling the show’s name correctly.

But these are on par with malaprops. Stelter’s larger issue was with his selective corrections of the press. His job, after all, was allegedly monitoring and critiquing the media, yet he operated in a blatant double standard. FoxNews was rife for any and all criticisms, and Brian & Darcy would level charges on an almost quotidian basis. Yet when other major outlets were exposed as doing the same, or worse, frequently they were given a pass.

When many outlets echoed the false Rolling Story of supposed unvaccinated COVID cases overflowing ERs in Oklahoma it barely ranked a mention. The story of border agents falsely reported as whipping migrants was actually defended by Stelter. He said that outlets were just trying to catch up to social media reports – which makes no sense since he always impugned them as not practicing journalism – and then congratulated the news sources making corrections for ultimately getting the story correct. Meanwhile, if Fox ran a correction it was held up as proof that they do not adhere to the same rigorous editorial standards.

I even had a first-hand account with Stelter’s unique brand of delusion last summer. After weeks or months of him dismissing the importance of ratings – trying to claim they move in cycles and that pointing out small metrics is inaccurate – suddenly one day Brian was cheering that his show hit a notable number in the demo…on one broadcast.

I wrote about this contradiction and pointed out that Brian achieved his bragging numbers because the network covered the weather-delayed Richard Branson space launch live, during his time slot. Stelter was boasting he got high ratings because he did not run his usual programming. After I noted this, Brian took exception to my accuracy and reached out in a direct message.

His claim that I was exposing ignorance about how television operates was based on his show’s logo shown on screen and that he hosted the launch for the entire hour, resulting in the ratings being credited to his show. Sure, Brian – yet my pointing out the fact that you achieved these ratings highs by NOT doing a conventional episode of Reliable Sources was completely ignored. “It still counts,” was essentially his argument.

This was on brand for Brian’s typical deluded approach to news items. In March, when the New York Times turned heads by admitting to the validity of Hunter Biden’s laptop, it was recognized across the media landscape – and was never even alluded to on Brian’s program. When CNN+ crashed on the launchpad after a $300 million investment Stelter tried to insist it was too early to state this was to be judged as a “failure”.

It really came to be a case where Brian’s body of work covering the media was done to appeal only to those in the media. His output was a defensive shield, a protection racket for journalists, and was not designed to illuminate for an audience. His output was largely content-free, and as a result, his absence will not be felt.