Buh-Bye, Brian: Brian Stelter Out at CNN

CNN cancelled its long-running “Reliable Sources” media criticism show. Host Brian Stelter will be leaving the network.


CNN cancelled its long-running “Reliable Sources” media criticism show. Host Brian Stelter will be leaving the network.

  • “Reliable Sources” was a network staple for 30 years. Stelter took over the host’s chair in 2013 after working as a media reporter for The New York Times.
  • “I’m grateful for my nine years with CNN,” Stelter said in a statement. “It was a rare privilege to lead a weekly show focused on the press at a time when it has never been more consequential.”
  • The cancellation of “Reliable Sources” is “part of a broader overhaul of the news channel’s Sunday morning lineup,” a source told The Wall Street Journal. CNN’s new parent company, Warner Brothers Discovery, is making a number of cost-cutting moves and no longer wants to dedicate an hour of Sunday television to “examining its own industry.”
  • Stelter’s ostensibly nonpartisan media show focused almost exclusively on former President Donald Trump, FOX News and conservative media and was a key component of the network’s leftward shift during the Trump years.
  • “Reliable Sources” suffered in the ratings before its cancellation. The show was down 41% among adults aged 25-54 in August 2022 compared to August 2021, and 2022 was the show’s lowest-rated year since before Trump won the presidency.
  • Stelter may not be unemployed for long. Seth Dillon, CEO of right-wing satire site Babylon Bee, tweeted at Stelter that the Bee is “looking for talent with experience putting out funny fake news” and Stelter “come[s] highly recommended.”


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Vox asked whether Stelter’s ouster was due to his politics or the show’s falling ratings. While the political angle may be “juicy,” the author argues Stelter’s high salary and low ratings made cancelling his show an attractive cost-cutting measure for Warner Brothers Discovery.
  • The Daily Beast reported Stelter had recently signed a multi-year contract with the network, but new owners Warner Brothers Discovery quickly changed course and laid off Stelter and his entire staff.
  • The New York Times called the cancellation of “Reliable Sources” “a striking change” by new CNN chairman Chris Licht and linked it with other changes such as reducing the number of “breaking news” banners and booking more conservative voices.



  • National Review came not to mourn Stelter but to bury an “egotistical, preening, self-satisfied buffoon,” “one of the legacy media’s top contenders for the highly coveted title of Least Self-Aware Man in America.” Unsurprisingly, the author found it “difficult” to feel sorry for Stelter.
  • The Washington Free Beacon compiled an “In Memoriam” video of Brian Stelter’s greatest hits. Stelter reported on Donald Trump’s spelling errors, promoted convicted felon Michael Avenatti, and called Fox News “state-run media” without a hint of irony.
  • Breitbart reported new CNN chief Chris Licht was looking to fire “on-air personalities who have destroyed the brand by becoming irredeemable partisan hacks” and Stelter was the first to go. Breitbart cited Stelter’s insistence that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation as an example of his penchant for pushing left-wing misinformation.

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© Dominic Moore, 2022