Brian Stelter Gets Lambasted on His Own Show by an Unlikely Figure

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

We’ve got ourselves a true ‘grift recognizes grift’ moment today. CNN’s Brian Stelter invited disgraced shock-author Michael Wolff on his show this morning, likely expecting him to spend the entire time trashing Donald Trump and feeding CNN narratives.

If you don’t remember who Wolff is, he’s the guy who has his media star blow up after penning a book full of provably false assertions regarding the Trump White House. He basically lived on CNN and MSNBC for a time, until it became clear he was doing more harm than good for their orange man bad pursuits.

Despite that, and because Stelter has no journalistic standards, he had Wolff back on his show to plug his latest anti-Trump book. Yet, the CNN host got something he didn’t bargain for — getting lambasted on his own show.

Wolff calls Stelter sanctimonious (fact-check: true) and notes that he’s why people hate the media and don’t trust them. He also notes the false virtue with which the media carry themselves regarding what they claim to be the truth. You can see Stelter start to get uncomfortable, obviously caught off guard by what he’s hearing. Prior to Wolff’s rant (not shown in the clip), he was talking about Trump’s interactions with media figures, so things shifted fairly quickly in the conversation.

After Stelter unsuccessfully tries to laugh off what Wolff is saying, the author then notes that CNN and other networks are overly repetitive and talk about the “same-old” stuff all the time. That’s also undoubtedly true. There can be a hundred more important, relevant stories going on in the world, but if Trump walks down a ramp slowly or sips his water with two hands, that’s going to lead to yet another six-person panel trashing Republicans on CNN. There’s nothing new or original in what Stelter and his network do, which likely explains their crashing ratings.

Things continued after Stelter said he is simply seeking the truth in how he covers the news. Wolff responded that people don’t want to tune in to Brian Stelter to be told “what’s real.” The segment ends after Stelter asks him why he’s still coming on CNN. Wolff answers, “Well, I’m a book salesman,” in what was a fairly effective bit of dry humor.

In the end, this was more of a train wreck than anything, but certainly an entertaining two minutes, regardless. Wolff is obviously not an arbiter of what’s true, given his own track record. Yet, what he says to Stelter isn’t wrong, and sometimes a bad messenger can deliver a good message. Meanwhile, CNN’s management and hosts seem content to keep running their network into the ground. That’s just fine with me.