OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
CNN host and media pundit Brian Stelter was completely dressed down by author Michael Wolff, whose trilogy of books chronicling the Trump administration was the subject of Stelter’s Reliable Sources segment on Sunday.
The author spoke to Stelter on “Reliable Sources” on Sunday morning to promote his latest book but ended up trashing the Stelter for being in “its own bubble” and accused him of being “full of sanctimony.”
“Don’t talk so much. Listen more,” Wolff advised Stelter.
Wolff sparred with Stelter over claims he made in the book about the night of the 2020 presidential election and Fox News’ decision to call Arizona for Biden. “You want this to be true,” Wolff told Stelter of Fox News’ denial that News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch on election night personally decided that the outlet should call Arizona for Biden.
In the book, Wolfe wrote, “Lachlan (Murdoch’s son) got his father on the phone to ask if he wanted to make the early call. His father, with signature grunt, assented, adding, ‘F— him’.” Fox News described the claim as “completely false.”
In the light of Stelter’s attacks on Fox News, Wolff confronted the host for being “one of the reasons people can’t stand the media” and took him to task for the role he plays as one of the liberal left’s loudest cheerleaders.
I thought the United States had the 13th Amendment. Michael Wolff completely owned Brian Stelter. pic.twitter.com/2pJGFuIHqd
— Ian Miles Cheong @ stillgray.substack.com (@stillgray) July 18, 2021
“I think the media has done a terrible job on this,” said Wolff. “I think you yourself, you know, you’re a ‘nice guy’, you’re full of sanctimony. You become one of the parts of the problem of the media.”
“You come on here, and you have a monopoly on truth,” the author continued. “You know exactly how things are supposed to be done. You are one of the reasons why people can’t stand the media.”
“You’re cracking me up,” replied Stelter, who attempted to downplay Wolfe’s criticism.
“It’s your fault,” replied Wolff.
“So, what should I do differently, Michael?” rebutted Stelter.
“Don’t talk so much,” replied Wolfe. “Listen more. You know, people have genuine problems with the media. The media doesn’t get the story right. The media exists in its own bubble.”
“You know, that last segment that I had to listen to, of all the people saying the same old stuff,” Wolfe continued “You’re incredibly repetitive, week after week. You’re the flipside of Donald Trump. ‘Fake news,’ and you say ‘virtuous news.’”
“No, we just figure out what is real,” replied Stelter, who was visibly shaken by the interaction.
“Well, Figuring out what is real is not so easy, and most people don’t want to turn to Brian Stelter to tell us what’s real, I’m sorry.”
“Well then, why did you bother coming on CNN a few times this past week?” replied Stelter, followed by nervous laughter.
“I’m a book salesman,” replied Wolfe.
Wolff’s assessment of the CNN’s Brian Stelter and the media reflects popular public opinion. According to a recent Gallup poll, the media, as an American institution, enjoys the least amount of confidence among the public. The poll reveals that no more than 21% of respondents said they had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the print media, while only 16% of Americans said they trusted television and cable news. The only institution worse than the media was Congress – of which only 12% of Americans said they had any confidence in.
As detailed in Deadline, Fox News topped viewership in June in the second quarter amid crashing ratings across all major cable news networks. In the primetime slot, Fox News leads with an average of 2.13 million viewers, compared to 1.31 million for MSNBC, and a mere 798,000 for CNN. CNN dropped 57% in views compared to last year.