Poor Brian Stelter. He was so overcome with emotion during the final episode of his canceled CNN show that Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake felt bad for him.
Stelter, as you may know, is a “reliable source” no more. CNN announced it had canceled the Sunday show hosted by its chief media correspondent late last week, leaving viewers like me depressed we could no longer make jokes about the fact a shameful ideologue like Stelter ever got a show called “Reliable Sources.”
“It was a rare privilege to lead a weekly show focused on the press at a time when it has never been more consequential,” Stelter told NPR in a statement Thursday. He added he’d be leaving his role as a media correspondent with the network, just in case you were wondering whether he couldn’t take a hint.
The move wasn’t exactly a surprise. It had long been reported there was a well-used chopping block in the CNN lobby after Discovery Inc. merged with the network’s parent company, WarnerMedia, earlier this year. Executives at Discovery had made it known they preferred the network to return to its roots covering hard news, meaning those associated with the punditry excesses of Jeff Zucker’s tenure at the network were likely to find themselves out of a gig.
It was also reported that after Zucker, Stelter would be next on the chopping block. Inside sources had said new management not only thought Stelter was working to actively sabotage their efforts to change the network, he was “everything that reminds the new owners of the Zucker era they desperately want to get past.”
Despite having a while to steel himself against the inevitable, Stelter’s goodbye speech evinced a state of mind resembling nothing so much as a boy who’d just had his shiny new bike stomped into a hundred pieces by neighborhood bullies.
“One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing,” Oscar Wilde once said when criticizing one of Charles Dickens’ most empurpled passages. In that vein, try to sit through the last few minutes Brian Stelter spent hosting a show on CNN without cracking up:
Yes, he’s just like “the kid who spent his days building the school website and producing the school TV show.” Apparently, administrators at Stelter’s high school never checked the website, for one assumes they would have discovered it was a single line of HTML code displaying a flashing all-caps message: “REPBLICANZ GO 2 HELL!!!1”
But I digress. Stelter’s melodramatic exit drew a bit of attention from conservative quarters — including from Human Events editor and activist Jack Posobiec, who tweeted a clip of “Stelter struggling to hold back tears as he ends his last broadcast.”
Brian Stelter struggling to hold back tears as he ends his last broadcast pic.twitter.com/mv7Hpav2AL
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) August 21, 2022
There’s nothing that brings on an unintentional laugh like an adult man fighting back the waterworks as he tells his viewers — all five — that “the world … needs a reliable source.” A modern-day hero, that Stelter.
And that’s where Lake decided to express her condolences — again, kind of.
“Go home to Mommy,” she said, adding a heart symbol.
Go home to Mommy. ♥️
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) August 22, 2022
“Go home to mommy.” Ouch.
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) August 22, 2022
Lake, by the by, entered politics after she’d spent over two decades with Phoenix TV station KSAZ-TV. One would think she would know when someone is laying on the sentiment a bit thick, whether by design or out of a lack of self-control.
But, as Stelter said, “deep down inside, I think I’m still that kid.” And that kid is going home to mommy without a position on the school TV show.
It’s also worth noting Lake and CNN have a bit of history.
Here’s Lake telling a network reporter back in June that she’d let herself be interviewed — on the condition that interview appeared on CNN+, the network’s defunct streaming service:
With that remark and her takedown of Stelter, it’s almost like Kari Lake, not Warner Bros. Discovery, owns CNN.
As for the former “Reliable Sources” host, he’ll undoubtedly land, if not on his feet, at least somewhere that allows him to keep living a comfortable existence inside the Beltway. There’s nothing the media loves quite so much as navel-gazing, after all — and during Stelter’s tenure at CNN, he delivered that in spades.
I’m sure there’s a six-figure place for him at Politico or The Washington Post. If he needs seven figures to stay comfortable, perhaps he can get a slot at MSNBC. If Tiffany Cross can do it, literally anyone can.
Please, though, Mr. Stelter — if you decide to get another TV show, mentally prepare yourself for its cancelation. Nobody likes seeing a grown man on the verge of tears, particularly on live TV.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.