Clay and Buck

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Brian Stelter and His Unreliable Sources Out at CNN

18 Aug 2022

BUCK: I have some big breaking news. You’re gonna see all day long is gonna result in a lot of tears, a lot of the drinking of soy milk, a lot of angry tweets. Brian Stelter of CNN, who, honestly, provided so much good content for right-wing commentary over the years, his show has been canceled at CNN, Reliable Sources, it’s gone, and Stelter is leaving CNN; so it really does turn out that my theory all along that he was Jeff Zucker’s Mini-Me, essentially, that he was a little version of Zucker doing what Zucker wanted him to do, looks like it is likely was the case ’cause they’re giving him the boot. Well, in a broader sense, Clay, this is not a surprise because CNN turned itself into an anti-Trump organ. There was no other purpose.

If you were somebody who was watching CNN at all — and I will say, whenever there is an election where Democrats lose, throwing on CNN and really MSNBC is great fun because of all the gnashing of teeth and the weeping of tears. But CNN abandoned any pretense of being a journalistic enterprise so that all it really turned in every day was Brian Stelter like, (impression) “So is Trump going to create nuclear war or just give Putin the White House? We discuss today on Reliable Sources.” I mean, it turned into a parody of itself. But I wonder now with the ratings so far down if they realize they may actually need to pivot back to that or they will pivot back to that if Trump becomes the Republican or is going to try to become the Republican nominee, or are they gonna continue with what they’ve been doing, which seems to be a little bit of a housecleaning so they can at least get the facade going of a journalistic enterprise instead of a propagandistic enterprise. What say you, Mr. Clay Travis?

CLAY: I don’t like to tap dance when people lose their jobs because at some point one of us may lose our job. Everybody in media loses their jobs.

BUCK: I just want to do that to Stelter. I’ll send him a fruit basket.

CLAY: Brian Stelter was a perfect approximation of the pathetic collapse of CNN. As a news organization — let’s be honest. A lot of you out there who are around Buck and mine’s age remember when CNN let’s say during the Iraq war, do you remember when they had reporting from inside of Iraq, Bernard Shaw, remember the Scud Stud back in the day, when there didn’t — I gotta be honest with you — there did not seem to be a particular direction of CNN’s coverage.

And then when Trump ran for president and certainly when he was elected, CNN went completely off the rails and Brian Stelter — and I would think if Brian Stelter’s gone, you know who else should be thinking I’m not long for this network, Jim Acosta. If you were stridently anti-Trump in your behavior and in your coverage, it seems like Chris Licht, I believe, is his name, right, the new leader of CNN — is attempting to return CNN to some semblance of normalcy. And, Buck, you used to work there. And before Trump broke CNN’s brains within they were left-leaning, but they weren’t crazy. And it seems like he’s trying to eliminate the crazy. And I think Stelter was a strong example of the crazy inside of CNN.

BUCK: Yeah. Now if I try to go in there, it’s like, “Do you renounce Clay Travis and all association with Clay Travis?” ‘Cause Clay’s banned. Although I think your ban would probably go away now. I think CNN also it should be noted had to recognize that Republican lawmakers who know what time it is, who know what the deal is, stop going on, for the most part.

CLAY: That’s right.

BUCK: The people that are really in the fight, that are trying to advance the agenda against the opposition of the Democrat left just realized, why go to a place that’s a sham so that I can have tomatoes thrown at me on live TV for the amusement of delusional libs? So they decided that they weren’t gonna do — which is the right move. The new CNN boss has come in and said, “If you’re a lawmaker, we’ll have you on, we’ll ask you real questions.” This thing they used to do. I used to call it the CNN ambush, which usually involved Republicans, anchor who’s always a lib and then lib commentator, and then the whole thing is skewed so that you basically don’t get to speak and you just get attacked and then they cut to commercial. That was their favorite maneuver over there.

So that just goes to show you I think how far the media has changed. But also on the issue of Stelter, I’ve never even really met him, I don’t know him so it’s not personal or anything like that. He’ll be fine because the left is always fine. You get fired — look what happened. Chris Cuomo’s got a new job, they’re paying him millions of dollars, as if he’s the only guy who can read off of a prompter and be like (impression), “Hey, I like this Democrat Party,” like, everyone can do this. So this is what you see on the left — people on the right get fired and their lives are altered forever and they have a tough time paying the mortgage in a few months. People on the left just go from one — they fail up always, ’cause the apparatus is there to catch them. So I don’t really worry about left-wing media figures for a whole bunch of reasons.

CLAY: Yeah. And I think the other aspect to think about big picture in terms of media coverage, CNN is in a weird place because over half, basically, of the American population is served by Fox News. And people always say, “Oh, Fox News is so right-wing.” Now, if you look at the data on who watches Fox News, oftentimes Fox has over half of the news audience, more than MSNBC and at CNN combined.

In fact, more Democrats in some hours watch Fox News than watch MSNBC or CNN. That’s according to 25-54-year-old, maybe some of it’s hate watch. I think more likely they just approve of the coverage of Fox News because Fox News, to my opinion, covers what the vast majority of people agree with. MSNBC, Buck, as I’m sure you would acknowledge and all of our audience out there would acknowledge, is admittedly a far-left-wing news organization. What should CNN’s role be?

BUCK: Well, in a era where everybody with a smartphone is a videographer, an on the scene reporter, a correspondent, a live feed capable, commentary-able. You know, the notion of having a cable news network 24/7 that doesn’t have a point of point of view doesn’t make any sense.

CLAY: Yeah.

BUCK: Right?

CLAY: Challenge.

BUCK: — point of view, what value is CNN really bringing? So I do think that will be interesting.

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