CNN’s ratings-challenged “Reliable Sources” claims to examine the top media stories on a weekly basis, but left-wing host Brian Stelter gave MSNBC a pass on Sunday and ignored the liberal network being banned from the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
In a brief statement before the court Thursday, Judge Bruce Schroeder addressed an incident in which a person who identified himself as an employee for MSNBC allegedly followed a sealed bus with blocked out windows as it left the courthouse to transport jurors to an undisclosed location. The story made immediate headlines but wasn’t mentioned during Stelter’s program as the CNN host continued his tradition of downplaying or dismissing stories that would put liberal news organizations in a negative light.
The man spotted following the bus identified himself as James J. Morrison – and he told investigators he was instructed to follow the vehicle, Schroeder added. The judge said Morrison claimed to be working under the supervision of an MSNBC producer based in New York. As a result, MSNBC was banished from the remainder of the trial.
NBC News eventually admitted Morrison was employed by the network as a freelancer, but claimed he “never contacted or intended to contact the jurors during deliberations, and never photographed or intended to photograph them.”
A major news network being shunned from a polarizing trial as it dominates the national news cycle would seem perfect for a program that claims to cover the media industry, but Stelter has a long history of focusing only on content critical of conservatives or non-liberal news outlets.
MSNBC was not mentioned once during the hour-long program, according to a search of transcripts via Grabien Media.
Instead, Stelter treated viewers to segments on conservative media coverage of the Rittenhouse trial, an interview with left-wing “1619 Project” author Nikole Hannah-Jones, a promotional interview with ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl about his new book on Donald Trump, a diatribe about “news whiplash,” and complaining that CNN can’t air trials related to the January 6. Capitol riot because cameras aren’t allowed in Federal court.
Stelter has had a hard time attracting viewers during the Biden era and set 2021 ratings lows on back-to-back weeks heading into Sunday’s episode. “Reliable Sources averaged only 645,000 viewers on Nov. 7 for its smallest audience of the year. It only garnered 76,000 viewers among the key demographic of adults age 25-54 on Nov. 14, for its smallest audience in the advertiser-coveted category.
Stelter also ignored Liberty Media chairman John Malone, who sits on the Discovery Communications Inc. board of directors, declaring he wants CNN to revert back to nonpartisan journalism following the completion of a merger that would put the liberal network under the Discovery umbrella.
Earlier this month, the Washington Post corrected and removed large chunks of its own reporting on the discredited Steele dossier but Stelter ignored it.
In October, he failed to acknowledge CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s viral interview with podcast giant Joe Rogan, who forced Gupta to admit CNN should not have characterized Rogan’s use of ivermectin as “horse dewormer” amid his recovery from COVID. His show previously ignored a sexual harassment allegation against CNN host Chris Cuomo, when veteran TV producer Shelley Ross said the “Cuomo Prime Time” namesake groped her when they worked together at ABC News.
Stelter has also glossed over the Washington Post’s major correction of its January report that accused Trump of urging Georgia election officials to “find the fraud,” the major MSNBC leadership shakeup, Toobin’s firing from The New Yorker following his Zoom call masturbation scandal, and the ousting of MSNBC contributor Jon Meacham after it was revealed he was moonlighting as a speechwriter for the Biden campaign.
In 2019, Stelter completely avoided the revelation that ABC News had spiked an investigation into convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.