CNN’s Brian Stelter has spent the better part of his time behind the anchor’s desk building his own personal echo chamber, an insulated space safe from dissent or contrarian voices.
Stelter’s metaphorical bubble was popped, though, on Sunday by none other than Rick Davis, CNN’s longest-serving executive and, in fact, the founding producer of “Reliable Sources,” the show for which Stelter serves as host.
Toward the end of the 10-minute segment, Stelter got a basic lesson in journalism (and anchoring) when he asked Davis, who retired last week after four decades at CNN, how he could improve the show.
Probably much to Stelter’s surprise, the veteran producer told him to drop his schtick: Davis urged the anchor to spend less time advancing his agenda and spend more time talking to those whose views are different from his own.
“I think you need to strive to have more voices on the show from right-of-center — responsible voices from right-of-center — on the show,” Davis told Stelter. “And occasionally, when you can, you want to have some newsmakers on who can express to you how they feel about the media, particularly if they feel like they media got it wrong, and let them talk about it.”
Stelter, for his part, seemed to just laugh off the suggestion, telling Davis that he’s “still got the producing chops.”
During the same episode, Stelter went after “liar” Fox News, arguing the voice of his network’s biggest competitor should be diminished — a suggestion he claimed is not a call for censorship and does not limit free speech.
Journalists Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald — both of whom are left-of-center — rejected Stelter’s odd suggestion that throttling access and reach are not forms of censorship:
Stelter routinely uses his anchor’s desk to advocate for and echo the agenda of the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden.
One of the best recent examples, of course, of Stelter’s progressive slant is a chyron he wrote on his show last month. He highlighted White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s “promise” to share “accurate info,” proudly adding his own note: “(How refreshing).”
For what it’s worth, that chyron hasn’t turned out too well for Stelter. According to a new report from The Daily Beast, Biden’s communications staff have “on occasion probed reporters to see what questions they plan on asking” Psaki.
Stelter, according to Fox News, hasn’t indicated if he plans to take Davis’ advice.