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How Brian Stelter sought to hold America’s far-right accountable — and made enemies along the way

Brian Stelter, CNN host Reliable sourcesis leaving the network after nine years, and the show will be taken off the air.

NPR first broke the news Thursday, August 18, quoting Stelter himself.

A CNN spokesperson confirmed The Independent that Reliable Sources will be ending on Sunday August 21 and that “as a result, Brian Stelter will be leaving the company”. “We appreciate his contributions to the network and wish him well as he embarks on new projects,” the spokesperson added in a statement.

Stelter told NPR, “It was a rare privilege to lead a weekly news-focused show at a time when it has never been more important.”

A graduate of Towson University, Stelter began his media career as a blogger and learning to code. “I coded my way into[to journalism]he told Politico in 2018, “back when coding just meant learning basic HTML. I’ve been building websites since I was about 11 years old. First on books, then on video games, then on TV news. Eventually I blogged my way to a job at The New York Times.”

Stelter joined The New York Times in 2007 as a media reporter. He left for CNN in 2013, joining the network as senior media correspondent and host of Reliable sources.

After his departure, in August 2020, Stelter contributed an opinion piece to The New York Times – an analysis of Donald Trump’s use of the word “hoax” – which marked the release of Stelter’s second book, Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth. (Stelter’s first book, Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TVwas released in 2013.)

The book and opinion piece reflected the focus of Stelter’s work at Reliable sources. Over the years, Stelter, through his media analysis, has become a frequent critic of Trump and Fox News.

Following the announcement of Stelter’s departure from CNN, The New York Times considered a “striking change” from Chris Licht, who became president and CEO of CNN earlier this year. The paper’s Benjamin Mullin said CNN’s current direction, which involved seeking “new, more direct reporting and less opinionated hosts’ shots,” seemed to put Stelter “in possible danger.”

During and after Trump’s presidency, Stelter used his position as a media analyst to point out Trump’s lies and deconstruct his rhetoric and that of his supporters.

“I believe we will all look back one day and recognize that the Trump presidency was an ongoing, ongoing crisis,” he told Politico in 2018. “I always think back to what Reince Priebus said to Chris Whipple on White House chaos: ‘Take everything you’ve heard and multiply it by 50.’ There is obviously a crisis of credibility, and this since the first day. But there also seems to be a skills crisis. And there is a pro-Trump media army that denies all of this. So I keep trying to find new ways to cover this – and convey the stakes of it all – on Reliable sources.”

In his 2020 New York Times editorial, Stelter wrote that Trump “has shouted ‘hoax’ hundreds of times, on everything from climate change to Supreme Court rulings to impeachment.”

“At this point,” Stelter added, “[Trump’s] many claims about hoaxes add up to a hoax. And through the story of his use of that single word, we can see how he fooled his biggest fans but failed to convince almost everyone. He then wrote, “If you want to understand why a minority of American voters are out of touch with the factual information the rest of the country depends on, imagine being told multiple times a day that the real information is a hoax.”

A recent Reliable sources segment featured Stelter analyzing Trump’s framing of the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida.

“Trump announced that the search had taken place. He put his story through a statement right away and then his favorite media ran with it for days and days,” Stelter said. “He had his lawyers on TV. He basically dominated the airwaves with his storylines, while the Justice Department was relatively quiet. … So if you choose to live in this universe of Trump information, you hear one thing over and over and over again: that he is under attack, and therefore you are under attack.

Stelter’s work put him in the crosshairs of conservative commentators such as Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Greg Gutfeld. Russell Brand also mocked Stelter on his YouTube channel as a representative of “mainstream media”.

After the news of Reliable sources‘ ending broken, Stelter tweeted: “Loved anchoring @ReliableSources. It’s been a rare privilege to lead a weekly news-centric show at a time when it’s never been more consequential. And here’s the thing. .. We’re going to do it again. One more show. This Sunday morning. The small but mighty production team is currently working on bookings and ideas. I’m in awe of their talent and will do anything to help them. find new roles.

The final release of Reliable sources airs Sunday, August 21 at 11 a.m. ET.




The Independent Gt

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