CNN should fire Brian Stelter as its chief media correspondent for failing to report on network president Jeffrey Zucker’s longstanding affair with a co-worker, a network insider told a British newspaper.
“The network needs to step up and fire Brian Stelter,” the CNN employee told The Daily Mail.
The employee said it’s unconscionable that Stelter allowed himself to get scooped on the story of Zucker’s intimate relationship with Allison Gollust, CNN’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
“He is allegedly our top media reporter – yet he failed to report on the scoop that everyone in the office knew,” said the CNN insider. “And if he wants to say he didn’t know, he is truly terrible at his job.”
Zucker, who has held the office of president of CNN Worldwide since 2013 and has been chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, resigned Wednesday after admitting to a “consensual relationship” with a close colleague. The couple have worked together closely for 20 years at multiple networks. Katie Couric described the couple as “joined at the hip” in her 2021 memoir. One source told the Daily Mail their relationship, which the source says began much earlier than they let on to the public, was “an open secret.”
“Brian Stelter should be calling his agent to start looking for another job,” said an individual the newspaper identified only as “a cable news veteran” who wished to remain anonymous. “He’s been Jeff Zucker’s water boy for years and no one believes he didn’t know about all of this.”
“He’s been sitting on his moral high horse doing Jeff’s bidding and ripping Fox [News] and every other media outlet that Jeff tells him to while his ratings crash and burn. Where was he on the biggest story at his own network after chastising everyone else?” the veteran asked.
The affair reportedly came to the network’s attention during its probe of Chris Cuomo, whom the network let go following allegations that he had advised his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and that the CNN host had been accused of sexual harassment in his own right. Rolling Stone reported that “Zucker and Gollust were advising the governor at the beginning of the Covid pandemic in ways not dissimilar to what led to Chris Cuomo’s dismissal.” Jake Tapper suspected that Chris Cuomo or his legal team had reason to leak word about Zucker’s relationship if CNN refused to pay the remaining $18 million of Cuomo’s contract, according to the Wall Street Journal. AT&T reportedly negotiated with Zucker to resign in exchange for settling Cuomo’s contractual obligations for $9 million, reported the New York Post.
In Zucker’s resignation memo, which was shared by Stelter, the CNN boss referred to his nine years with the network as “an amazing run,” although the network continually lost viewers during his tenure, with the exception of one day last January.
Stelter, the host of “Reliable Sources,” has downplayed the network’s pronounced ratings slide, saying that “misleading ratings #’s get weaponized by Trumpworld.” Yet Stelter has felt the brunt of falling ratings and diminishing audience trust. “In December overall, according to Nielsen ratings, “Reliable Sources” averaged 693,000 viewers with 152,000 in the demo. Fox News’ 11 a.m. ET competitor, “Media Buzz,” averaged 1.460 million viewers, of which 217,000 were in the demo,” reported The Wrap.
Last Sunday, Stelter lamented the fact that podcaster Joe Rogan inspired greater confidence in his listeners than CNN. “Not all opinions are created equal,” Stelter told his audience. “You think about major newsrooms like CNN that have health departments and deaths and operations that work hard on verifying information on COVID-19, and then you have talk show stars like Joe Rogan, who just swing it, who make it up as they go along. And because figures like Rogan are trusted by people that don’t trust real newsrooms, we have a tension.”
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.