The Mirror

Since When Did Brian Stelter Become A CNN Executive?

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Whatever you want to think of Howard Kurtz, he beats the pants off his old show, CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter, week in and week out.

So just shy of two years in, with no ratings to show for it, Stelter is now talking like a CNN executive?

Wow. That’s delusional even by TV journalist standards.

At the end of this press release in which he announces the hire of Politico‘s Dylan Byers and gushes about him like he’s his boss, Stelter talks about having a vision around building a team that…blah…blah…blah. Wait. So Jeff Zucker is giving him hiring power now? On what metric? Reliable Sources hasn’t beaten Media Buzz in forever.

By the way…it’s beyond egotistical to write about your “vision” when you’re not even management.

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Don’t get me wrong. This would be a whole different story if you’re kicking ass in the ratings and really having an impact on a national conversation. But Stelter is still too relatively new there to be behaving in any kind of proprietorial way.

He’s also too new there to be insulting Wolf Blitzer over Twitter’s direct messaging system. “Ugh Wolf is the worst” — was the message he wrote in late June to a mystery source. He later said he had copied and pasted the quote, but wouldn’t say from where. “Today’s lesson: the worst kind of fail is the cut-and-paste DM fail,” he wrote with a yellow-faced open-mouthed emoticon.

At the time, FNC’s Greta Van Susteren let him have it with both barrels.

“CNN’s Brian Stelter has been in the business about 5 days and not traveled the world (just read the internet) and he dares to insult Wolf Blitzer, who has been in the business years and has traveled the world and interviewed world leaders?” she wrote on her Gretawire blog.

The Mirror has learned something else: Hardy Spire, according to Politico Playbook, is leaving CNN. He’s worked there 22 years, but he’s moving on in part because Stelter took complete control of Reliable Sources: Topics, guests, right down to the soundbites chosen. He felt marginalized after being here for over 20 years by a know-it-all. Hardy liked the network’s John King, but Reliable was his passion. According to his LinkedIn profile, Spire worked on the program for as senior producer for three years and seven months before he moved on to Inside Politics.

Sure, he sucks up to Zucker like no other. But is that reason for him to think of himself as a network executive?

His disdain for his older colleague aside, Stelter’s booking instincts leave something to be desired.

For example, he holds an idiot like Anthony Weiner up as an expert while treating New York Mag’s Gabe Sherman as a God.

What’s more, says a source, he still hasn’t fixed his blinding teeth, maybe the biggest sin of all in TV journalism.