Leave It to Hapless Brian Stelter to Make CNN's 'Toobin Problem' Even More Embarrassing

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Brian Stelter

CNN’s intrepid chief media correspondent Brian Stelter is the gift that keeps on giving to Republicans. Only in this case, he’s also giving an even bigger headache to The Most Trusted Name in News™.


CNN’s headache began — this headache, that is; CNN has more headaches than, as my dad used to say, you can shake a stick at — on Monday when news broke that its chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, was exposed (pun intended) for engaging in a particularly graphic “Anthony Weiner moment” during a Zoom meeting with coworkers.

As I reported in an article titled CNN’s Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin ‘Takes Some Time Off’ After ‘Going Anthony Weiner’ on Zoom Call, Toobin, who also writes for the New Yorker, was suspended by the magazine on Monday for masturbating on a Zoom video chat between members of the New Yorker and WNYC radio last week.

Later on Monday, CNN said Toobin had “asked for some time off” from his analyst role on the network.

“Jeff Toobin has asked for some time off while he deals with a personal issue, which we have granted,” the network said in a statement.

Memes immediately sprung up on Twitter, among them #Toobin. Here’s one of the “milder” tweets.

This analogy sums up the feelings of a lot of people.

So anyway, as the social media ridicule of Toobin continued at a fever pitch, no doubt embarrassing CNN,  even more than “journalists” like Don Lemon and Fredo Cuomo embarrass themselves on a daily basis, up pops Stelter to lament the Toobin story.


Problem is, rather than lamenting Toobin’s disgusting behavior, the Trump-loathing Stelter instead lamented Toobin being “sidelined at a pivotal moment in a run-up to the election,” seemingly dismissing the creepy reason his pal was put on the shelf.

“Jeffrey Toobin has been sidelined at a pivotal moment in the run-up to the presidential election. The reason: He exposed himself during a Zoom call with New Yorker colleagues in what he says was an accident.”

Hoo boy, Brian.

Stelter made it even worse by responding to his own tweet, almost defending the excuse of the CNN “fixture.”

“Toobin, a fixture on CNN, ‘has asked for some time off while he deals with a personal issue, which we have granted,’ the network said. I asked him if he had any further comment, but he referred back to what he told Vice, including that ‘I believed I was not visible on Zoom.’

Good job, Brian.


Yep, congrats, Brian — you just made it worse.

Consider yourself served.

Podcaster Cody Johnston jumped on Stelter for the way he framed his tweet, also pointing out the irrelevance of the “pivotal moment in the run-up to the election.”

Independent journalist Molly McCluskey echoed the “framing problem.”

“The framing of this is incredibly problematic.

“Toobin has not ‘been sidelined’ for ‘an accident’. He has been suspended for subjecting his colleagues to sexual misconduct. He is not a victim. This is not something that has been done to him.”

How’s that taste, Brian?


Ditto, for this Twitter user.

Stelter took a hard one to the “priorities” shorts from Karen.

“What an absolutely atrocious presentation of what happened. Unbelievable. He was caught masturbating in a Zoom meeting.

“It was his choice to act in that atrocious manner. He’s no necessity for election coverage. Get your damn priorities straight and stop defending bad behavior.”

Ouch, Brian, I bet that one left a mark.

Of Toobin’s “request for time off,” CNN said it didn’t know how long he would be out, adding:

“Ordinarily Toobin would be busy covering a controversial Supreme Court confirmation and an election that could end up being challenged on legal grounds.”

These two Twitter users called BS on the attempt to minimize Toobin’s behavior, as well.


CNN being CNN. It doesn’t get any better.

That whole “Most Trusted Name in News” thing has become a joke that CNN caricatures on a daily basis. Maybe something like The Most Distrusted Name in Dumpster Fires™ would be more appropriate.


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