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CNN Axes Stelter After Months Of Poor Viewership


Today, popular media sources report CNN’s Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter was axed. His show Reliable Sources was cut, NPR reports, and Brian subsequently resigned. The show has been live on CNN for 30 years. Stelter hosted 9 years of them.

CNN and Stelter have issued statements seemingly accounting for collateral damage. CNN VP of talent and content development went on record for NPR, “Stelter came to CNN from the New York Times as the nation’s top media reporter. He departs CNN an impeccable broadcaster. We are proud of what Brian and his team accomplished over the years, and we’re confident their impact and influence will long outlive the show.” Stelter himself offered similar statements, “It was a rare privilege to lead a weekly show focused on the press at a time when it has never been more consequential.

However, the viewer-count of Reliable Sources and issues with Stelter’s reporting suggest otherwise. Last June, the show only managed to scrape in 580,000 viewers, the show’s lowest number since 2019. Meanwhile Fox News’ The Five is seeing untold viewer counts. Ever since multiple sex scandals have surfaced (one involving a pedophilic producer) involving CNN employees last year, not to mention the firing of their once-coveted Chris Cuomo, the network has dried on the vine. Multiple firings have come down from the office of Chris Licht since he took office, who replaced Jeff Zucker after stepping down amidst an employee-boss sexual escapade.

At first glance, the breaking news is surprising given Stelter’s notoriety. However, the data could have predicted these events. Alex Wagner’s debut show on MSNBC pulled in over 2-million viewers, surpassing that of Stelter’s and other CNN shows alike according to The New York Post. Months before NYP‘s reporting Stelter failed to average 800k viewers for nearly three months in November of 2021. CNN’s view count in general has declined in recent history, though Stelter has taken much of the hit.

Largely, it may be due to the false branding of Reliable Sources. Often Stelter provides opinion rather than objective analysis. Last April, Stelter had two political data scientists on the show to discuss their media-bias study, in which they paid Fox News viewers to watch CNN for 30 days. Stelter opened the show with, “Is it possible to make Fox News viewers change their minds about key issues just by having them chance the channel?“.

During the interview, when one of the Yale scientists noted both CNN and Fox exhibit some form of bias, Stelter replied, “I think you’re engaging in some both-sides-ism there Josh.” seemingly joking with the professor. Stelter laughed when the professor noted the Fox viewers return to their home network after the payments dry up.

Stelter places himself on the side of rationality and truthful reporting often. On one show Stelter opens with, ” … the world is very murky. But, there is a dividing line. And I want us to keep it in mind in this entire program today. I think it’s between the people who are trying to be constructive and careful, caring about truth, accountable to an editor or a boss or someone. Versus, people who are unaccountable, destructive.” When uttering “unaccountable”, the background screen displays a photo of Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe, who has released hours of undercover footage of CNN employs affirming their network is bias. On one account, O’Keefe’s journalism exposed CNN’s Jeff Zucker had a “personal vendetta” against former president Donald Trump.


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