CNN has decided to cancel its Sunday news program Reliable Sources as the host Brian Stelter is departing the network, Stelter tells NPR.
In a statement made to NPR, Stelter says he’s thankful for the program and his team’s exploration of “the truth, the media, and stories which define the world.”
“It was an honor to host a show with a focus on the press at a moment where it’s never been more crucial,” Stelter said, promising to provide more details about Sunday’s show — the show’s finale.
Stelter began writing about cable news when he was an undergraduate student and later became a media reporter at The New York Times. Reliable Sources has been the longest-running program in the history of CNN; Stelter has hosted it for the last nine years, and also was honored to host the show’s 30th anniversary in March.
CNN director Chris Licht informed Stelter of the decision on Tuesday. Licht has been cutting back across the entire network since he took over in the context of Warner Bros. Discovery’s takeover of the Time Warner company.
The company pulled its stand-alone digital service, CNN+, for which it was hiring the former NPR anchor Audie Cornish as well as the former Fox News host Chris Wallace before it was launched. (Both stars are still for CNN.)
Stelter was a frequent promoter of the show’s performance on Twitter and was among the CNN hosts who were frequently the subject of criticism from conservatives over his views on the media during the Trump timeframe.
Some of those who have publicly joined in the wider criticism of CNN as being political was shareholder John Malone, a major financial stakeholder in the newly formed WarnerDiscovery conglomerate. In February, Stelter cited Malone more than a dozen times throughout the discussion of the Discovery agreement for CNN and its other properties, while expressing some doubt about the influence of the investor.
“Stelter was recruited to CNN after a stint at The New York Times as the nation’s top reporter for media. He leaves CNN an outstanding broadcaster” stated Amy Entelis, CNN’s executive vice president of talent and development of content. “We are extremely proud of the work Brian along with his staff has accomplished throughout the years and we’re certain their influence and contribution will last for a long time.”
Stelter frequently analyzed the political rhetorical battles in his reporting and facts, boosting the attention-grabbing nature of his frequent comments during the time of the presidency of former President Donald Trump. This earned him frequent criticism from Trump supporters and a snarky taunt by Fox star Greg Gutfeld and Tucker Carlson.
Stelter also defended CNN’s weaknesses however he was viewed as a loyal partner under the former CNN head Jeff Zucker. As Stelter later admitted that he was unable to acknowledge the severity of ethical issues raised to him by the former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo in advising his brother, the governor at the time, in New York, on how to respond to allegations regarding sexual assault.
A spokesperson from the corporate side confirmed the cancellation of the show and said that the network wished Stelter the best of luck in his new ventures. The show started under veteran Washington reporter Bernard Kalb and continued under the long-time media reporter Howard Kurtz. Kurtz is now hosting the show that follows the same structure for Fox News called MediaBuzz, which will be at the very least the sole major network television show that studies the business of journalism and news. While working at Fox, Kurtz has rarely kept his own network in the account.
CNN announces that it will continue to publish the wildly popular Reliable Sources magazine.