Radar Online suggested CNN’s Brian Stelter served as his now-former boss’s attack dog by attacking the publication hours after it asked then-president Jeff Zucker and network management about his sexual relationship with a staffer.
Radar Online reported on Jan. 4 that Zucker and marketing chief Allison Gollust, the high-powered CNN executive who had a “consensual relationship” with the network’s ousted leader, were romantically involved. The report came roughly one month before the relationship forced Zucker to depart the struggling network.
At the time, Radar Online cited “multiple sources,” who said the CNN leaders “have been involved in a clandestine romance dating back years.”
On Wednesday, after Zucker and Gollust essentially confirmed Radar’s month-old report with statements read on TV by Stelter himself, the publication published a report headlined, “Dirty Work: CNN Targeted Radar Hours After Jeff Zucker & Allison Gollust Were Asked For Comment On Romance.”
Radar Online’s Ryan Naumann asked, “Did Jeff Zucker order one of his prized on-air talents to trash Radar?” He then elaborated on the theory.
“After learning that this website was poised to publish the exposé about his clandestine and career shattering romance with top lieutenant Allison Gollust, CNN published a story that aimed to discredit Radar’s reporting, it can be revealed for the first time,” Radar Online wrote, noting a Jan. 3, 2022, tidbit from Stelter’s newsletter in which he accused the publication of spreading “lies.”
“They post something nutty; they claim to have multiple sources, but they don’t check with the subject at all; and they aren’t swayed by reality,” Stelter wrote of Radar Online the day before it reported the news of Zucker’s relationship with Gollust.
“Ordinary users end up reading, sharing and sometimes believing a lie without realizing the original story was garbage. Radar wins page views and loses nothing because it had to credibility to start with. Sad,” Stelter added. He took issue with a Radar report that CNN wouldn’t invite Andy Cohen back to co-host its New Year’s Eve coverage after his drunken performance.
New York Post reporter Jon Levine also noticed that Stelter attacked Radar Online the day before its report on Zucker’s scandalous relationship.
“The DAY BEFORE this Radar Story dropped, CNN’s Reliable Sources media newsletter published this very lengthy tirade about the publication,” Levine wrote.
Radar Online’s Naumann noted that Stelter has been referring to his now-former boss as a “larger than life figure.”
“Questions are now being raised about Stelter’s pointed commentary about Radar just hours after this website contacted CNN, Zucker and Gollust and sought their comment about the impending publication of their conflict of interest,” Naumann wrote. “Radar told Zucker and Gollust it was publishing the next day. It was only then that Stelter went on the attack.”
Radar then quoted several anonymous media industry insiders making comments such as, “Perhaps Zucker and Gollust thought they could use this preemptive strike to stop the investigation into their romance… if they did, Zucker has more damage on his hands. An investigation needs to be opened into the role he and Gollust might have played in the Stelter attack. That would be nothing short of a phenomenal breach of the network’s code of conduct and would force Stelter, along with Gollust, to be forced to quit.”
Stelter did not immediately respond when asked by Fox News Digital for comment.
The suggestion by Radar is the latest example of Stelter appearing to act as more than simply a reporter for the liberal network.
“I am not a spokesperson for CNN,” Stelter famously said during a 2020 appearance on “The View.”
Despite Stelter’s claim, he effectively served in that capacity on Wednesday when he appeared on air and read statements from Zucker and Gollust. He later added his own reporting about the internal strife.
CNN’s media reporter has served as a quasi-spokesperson in the past, too.
Last August, he was pressed by “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert on CNN’s handling of the Chris Cuomo saga. Stelter defended the network and Cuomo’s conduct during the heated exchange as Colbert pointed out the “odd conflict of rules” at play.