Sucking up to ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Peckersville) has to be a low point in a TV journalist’s career.
CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter plunged the act to new depths on Sunday when he invited Weiner on to say virtually nothing about Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign and his wife, Huma Abedin‘s, involvement in the race.
Stelter made no mention of all the times Weiner has lied to the media, including to anchors of his own network about that bulging underwear photo seen around the world. Mediaite‘s Joe Concha sucked the air out of Weiner’s TV prowess, writing, “Anthony Weiner isn’t just a liar…he’s of the compulsive variety.” He even conjured up an imagined conversation between Weiner and Abedin based on the bullshit Weiner told Stelter.
Concha came down hard on Stelter for being a soft host in the Weiner interview. “It’s clear Weiner lied with the cameras rolling once again, and the host didn’t bother to challenge him on the whole wife-doesn’t-know-I’m-on-CNN-talking-about-Hillary claim outside of saying, ‘Really?'” he wrote. “…Reliable Sources can and must do better.”
After the show, Stelter bragged about the gobs of email he received from Weiner’s appearance. He never clarified whether it was thumbs up or thumbs down.
But the real question is: did any of that translate to ratings?
The short answer is no.
According to Nielsen ratings, “Reliable Sources” has seen its monthly viewership steadily drop since February of this year. In the last month alone, “Reliable Sources” is down 18 percent in total viewers and 8 percent in the demo (ages 25-54).
463,000 total viewers tuned into last Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” — 166,000 of those were in the key demo. (By comparison, FNC’s “Media Buzz” had 210,000 demo viewers and over 1 million total viewers.)
Producers of “Reliable Sources” are none too pleased with Stelter, who has taken over the show’s bookings, sources tell The Mirror. Stelter has, in effect, taken away the collaborative process that normally goes into these programs between producers and the host.
If you watch the Weiner clip, Stelter specifically says “I wanted Anthony Weiner on the show today.” Any good host would say, “We wanted…”
Producers for “Reliable Sources” are “being cut out of the loop by someone who had no TV experience before somehow getting this show,” an industry source told The Mirror on condition of anonymity.
The Mirror posed several questions to Stelter, including one about his relationship with the program’s producers. I also asked if Weiner would be a regular guest on “Reliable Sources.”
No response arrived by press time.
As previously reported on this blog, even Sydney Elaine Leathers, Weiner’s ex-gal pal who has since entered the porn industry, saw something unseemly about CNN using Weiner as some sort of expert.
“At least I realize I’m a joke,” she wrote on Twitter Sunday. “Wish he had the same level of self awareness.”
Joked a Mirror source, “Leathers will be on RS next week talking Carly Fiorina. Should be a hoot.”
Let’s hope Stelter would consider the outspoken lass. Fair is fair. And no doubt, she’d pull in ratings.