March 2, 2024
Brian Stelter delivered an on-air farewell during the final episode of CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, calling attention to what he called the "super strange situation" as the network canceled the long-running show while allowing it to produce one more segment afterward.

Brian Stelter delivered an on-air farewell during the final episode of CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday, calling attention to what he called the “super strange situation” as the network canceled the long-running show while allowing it to produce one more segment afterward.

At the end of the hourlong episode largely focused on examining how media itself is changing, Stelter stressed the importance of providing space for dialogue and the “full spectrum of debate.” He also called on viewers to hold CNN and other networks accountable for their coverage.

BRIAN STELTER’S CNN SHOW RELIABLE SOURCES CANCELED BY NETWORK

“This small but mighty show punched above its weight for so many years,” Stelter said. “Even a former president commented on the cancellation.”

Former President Donald Trump mocked Stelter on social media after news broke that the show was canceled.

“Brian Stelter of Fake News CNN got fired because he lied, and lied, and lied — ABOUT ME,” Trump wrote on Truth Social amid news of Stelter’s departure. “May he REST IN PEACE!”

Stelter’s final monologue addressed the need for media criticism.

“This show’s going away, but there’s going to be so many more. We need to have room for media criticism and debate and discussion, and we will. So much of the media ecosystem in 2022 is garbage, but so much of it is spectacular. The hard part’s sorting out the treasure from the trash,” Stelter said. “It’s on all of us. We are all members of the media, all helping to make it better.”

The show’s send-off featured appearances from members of the media, including investigative journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame. In a segment focused on media coverage, Bernstein spoke critically of cable news providing former Trump what he said was “unprecedented free airtime” during the 2016 Republican primary.

“I think it was a kind of irresponsible coverage that we did, all the all the cable news networks did it,” Bernstein said. “It gave him free ammunition to spread lies to essentially give campaign speeches with us not making a decision about what is news.”

Claire Atkinson, chief media correspondent for Insider, addressed the elephant in the room during the segment, talking about how Warner Bros. Discovery shareholder John Malone may have been behind the show’s cancellation. Malone has denied any involvement but has said that he wants the network’s programming to have more straight news reporting, according to the New York Times.

The show’s final guest, journalist Brian Karem, was a familiar face and the first ever guest to appear on Reliable Sources when it premiered.

Reliable Sources has been a hallmark of CNN’s Sunday schedule since 1993 and has had multiple hosts over the years, including Bernard Kalb and Howard Kurtz. Stelter, who joined the show in 2013, called the job a “gift of a lifetime.”

Upon CNN confirming its cancellation last week, it was also revealed that Stelter was leaving the network. The Reliable Sources newsletter, a compilation of the big headlines in media, will continue and be led by CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy. Stelter said he would be rooting for CNN even after he departs.

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“The free world needs a reliable source,” Stelter remarked at the end of his show before signing off.

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