Amid rumors of a purge at CNN, woke journalists at the network have reportedly been freaking out, and one name has kept coming up.
America is getting tired of CNN media critic Brian Stelter’s shtick, and so are his bosses.
With CNN’s new chairman Chris Licht reportedly evaluating polarizing on-air personalities to see if they can adapt to his less-partisan editorial line, at least four developments this week have given Stelter cause for alarm.
1. DON LEMON WENT AFTER BIDEN: The CNN anchor questioned President Biden’s mental fitness in a Wednesday interview with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, a notable departure from his typically friendly stance toward the president.
- Even Jean-Pierre seemed stunned: “Don, you’re asking me this question, oh my gosh. … That is not a question that we should be even asking.”
2. VAN JONES BOOSTED DESANTIS: The regular CNN contributor also questioned Biden’s acuity on CNN Wednesday, although he added that Democrats are ready to rally behind the president.
- “When he does badly, when he stumbles, you get nervous and you wonder, is it just a stutter, is he tired or something else there,” said Jones, who famously cried on air after Biden’s election.
- On CNN Thursday, Jones praised Florida Gov. Ron De Santis for his witty response to being asked about billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk saying he would probably support the Republican for president in 2024.
- “This guy is very, very smart about keeping us talking about him,” Jones commented.
3. REBECCA KUTLER GOT SHOWN THE DOOR: Licht reportedly announced the longtime CNN talent chief’s departure at Thursday’s morning editorial meeting.
- Kutler led programming for the short-lived CNN+ streaming app which featured a daily version of Stelter’s Sunday media talk show, “Reliable Sources.”
- Licht also reportedly suggested CNN reporters stop referring to former President Trump’s claims of election fraud as the “Big Lie” because it’s a Democratic talking point.
- Stelter has made heavy use of the phrase on his show.
4. STELTER LOST MORE VIEWERS: Ratings for “Reliable Sources” continued to decline, with Stelter drawing his smallest audience in years on Sunday.
- Unlike some of his colleagues, Stelter showed no sign of trying to shake his reputation as a paragon of liberal media bias.
- He stayed silent about the lack of mainstream coverage of last week’s alleged attempt to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and instead focused on condemning Fox News host Tucker Carlson‘s counter-programming of the Jan. 6 committee hearings.
- According to media reporter Jon Nicosia, a CNN insider told him Stelter will be fired in “weeks if not days,” explaining: “He is everything that reminds the new owners of the Zucker era they desperately want to get past.”
WHY IT MATTERS
- But CNN’s Biden-era hangover has been exceptionally brutal, including a double-digit ratings drop last month.
- Licht was apparently hired to implement a strategy outlined in a November CNBC appearance by billionaire media mogul John Malone, CNN’s largest shareholder.
- “I would like to see CNN evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with,” he said, “and, you know, actually have journalists, which would be unique and refreshing.”