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Brian Stelter out at CNN; struggling network cancels his 'Reliable Sources' show

Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage

Brian Stelter — who has been long criticized for bias against conservatives, Fox News, and former President Donald Trumptold National Public Radio he's leaving CNN, as the cable network is canceling "Reliable Sources," his Sunday show focused on the media.

What are the details?

Stelter, CNN's chief media correspondent, told NPR in a statement that he's grateful for the show and his team's examination of "the media, truth and the stories that shape our world."

"It was a rare privilege to lead a weekly show focused on the press at a time when it has never been more consequential," he said to the outlet, adding that more would be said on the final episode of "Reliable Sources" this Sunday.

CNN chief Chris Licht told Stelter of the decision Wednesday, NPR said, adding that Licht has been making cuts at the network as part of Warner Bros. Discovery's takeover of the old Time Warner company.

The outlet said Stelter often touted the ratings of "Reliable Sources" on Twitter.

NPR added that investor John Malone — a major financial stakeholder in the new Warner Discovery conglomerate — was among those who has criticized CNN for having become more politicized in the Trump years.

In fact, the outlet said that Stelter in February referred to Malone more than a dozen times amid coverage of the Discovery deal and expressed concern about Malone's influence on CNN.

NPR said Stelter got his start blogging about cable news as a student and later become a media reporter for the New York Times.

How bad has it been?

It's no secret that CNN has been struggling for a while now. Besides the scandalous departures of former head Jeff Zucker and anchor Chris Cuomo and the embarrassingly fast demise of CNN+, the cable network hasn't exactly been a ratings juggernaut.

Things were bad for Stelter, too, in that department. While it was pointed out in May 2021 that "Reliable Sources" had suffered its lowest ratings of the year, the show actually had better ratings when Stelter wasn't hosting it.

Critics have often labeled Stelter a "hall monitor" for the media, and attacks against him — particularly for biased reporting — seemed to grow louder and more frequentover time.

But it didn't seem to faze him.

In February Stelter ran some P.R. for CNN at the end of a "Reliable Sources" show, defending it from critics who said the cable network was "lacking journalism" and dealt in "opinions all the time." Instead, Stelter opined of critics that "they're not watching CNN."

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