Author and Newsweek columnist Michael Wolff admonished CNN host Brian Stelter over the weekend, saying the cable network media correspondent comes close to being "quite a ridiculous figure."
Wolff's blunt criticism of Stelter came Sunday on CNN's "Reliable Sources," during which Stelter quoted from a Jan. 26 Newsweek column that Wolff authored titled, "Why the media keeps losing to Trump." In it, Wolff wrote:
The media strategy is to show Trump to be an inept and craven sociopath. The Trump strategy is to show that media people are hopeless prigs out of touch with the nation (e.g., CNN’s media correspondent, Brian Stelter, who turns to the camera every Sunday morning and delivers a pious sermon about Trump’s perfidiousness) and nursing personal grudges.
Then, on Sunday, Wolff and Stelter came face to face to discuss the article. During the interview, Stelter asked Wolff, "Do you feel that my style is wrong or my substance is wrong, trying to fact check the president?"
Wolff didn't sugarcoat his response.
"I think it's — and I mean this with truly no disrespect — I think you can border on being quite a ridiculous figure," he replied.
"It's not a good look to repeatedly and self-righteously defend your own self interest," Wolff added. "The media should not be the story. Every week, in this religious sense, you make it the story. We are not the story."
Stelter pushed back, asking Wolff if "there's room for one hour a week on CNN for this."
Wolff responded: "Listen, I love your show. I just wish you wouldn't turn to the camera and lecture America about the virtues of the media and everyone trying to attack it. The media will be fine."
"The media doesn't need defending in this moment?" Stelter pressed Wolff.
"The media doesn't need defending by the media, certainly," Wolff insisted.
Stelter hosts "Reliable Sources," which airs every Sunday. According to the show's official Twitter profile, the program focuses on "the story behind the story — how news and pop culture get made." Stelter also appears on CNN periodically throughout the week to discuss media stories.