CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’ with Brian Stelter has attracted smaller audiences since 2019
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CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with left-leaning host Brian Stelter had its lowest-rated episode since September 2019 on Sunday, when just 580,000 viewers tuned in to the struggling program.
“Reliable Sources” also struggled in the coveted advertiser demographic of adults ages 25-54, averaging just 73,000 critical-category viewers. Stelter’s program lost 13% of the total audience that watched the show before it, “Fareed Zakaria GPS”, and lost 25% of Zakaria viewers among the demo. It was Stelter’s smallest audience since September 15, 2019.
Stelter’s media affairs program has turned a blind eye to the discordant lack of press coverage of the failed assassination attempt on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The New York Times, ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN have all been criticized by conservatives for downplaying or ignoring the alarming incident, but Stelter paid no attention to the story.
Sunday morning news shows, which are known for wrapping up the week, gave Kavanaugh the snub as ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’ “Face the Nation,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and CNN’s “State of the Union” also avoided the topic altogether, instead focusing heavily on the Jan. 6 committee hearings.
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Stelter made no mention of the strange lack of coverage surrounding the threat against Kavanaugh.
“MediaBuzz,” which airs concurrently on Fox News, averaged 1.4 million total viewers and 189,000 among the demo to smash “Reliable Sources” in both categories.
Last week, Stelter and his CNN colleague Jim Acosta were named the “face of the network’s liberal turn” in the eyes of conservatives. CNN’s recently appointed president and CEO, Chris Licht, previously told staffers that he would “double down on what works well and quickly weed out what doesn’t,” and there have since been questions. lingering on the programs or personalities that would be eliminated.
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A report by Axios cited “three sources familiar with the matter” who said Licht was assessing whether staff members could adapt to the less contentious approach, and anyone who does not fall into line “may be ousted. so as not to continue to hurt CNN. reputation. Licht reviews the operations of the entire network during the first weeks of his tenure.
“For conservative critics, certain on-air personalities, like Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter, have become the face of the network’s liberal turn,” Axios’ Sara Fischer wrote.
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A CNN insider said Fischer simply noted that Stelter and Acosta are being targeted by the right, and they weren’t identified as being on the chopping block. However, Stelter’s partisan approach is believed to be the opposite of what Licht envisions CNN to look like once he puts his stamp on the network.
CNN unplugged CNN+ in April, just weeks after the pricey streaming service launched. Stelter’s daily version of “Reliable Sources” was among the shows canceled following the abandonment of CNN+.
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Joseph A. Wulfsohn of Fox News contributed to this report.