“Reliable Sources” host Brian Stetler said goodbye to viewers Sunday following the show’s cancellation, warning that “CNN must remain strong” and calling his role patriotic in a dramatic final monologue.
Stetler was allowed to host one final episode of the low-rated program on the media, which was cancelled on Thursday, marking the end of CNN’s longest-running show.
“It’s not partisan to stand up to demagogues,” he said. “It’s required. It’s patriotic. We must make sure we don’t give platforms to those who are lying to our faces. But we also must make sure we are representing the total spectrum of debate and representing what’s going on in the country and the world.”
The comments could be seen as a dig on new CNN chief executive Chris Licht, who has made a push for more centrist and less left-leaning coverage on the network since replacing disgraced boss Jeff Zucker in May.
Stelter helmed the Sunday morning show for nine years, and was often critical of Fox News, even writing a book called, “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.”
“We must make sure we don’t give platforms those who are lying to our faces. But we also must make sure we are representing the full spectrum of debate and representing what’s going on in this country, in this world,” he said in his sign-off speech.
“That’s why CNN needs to be strong. That’s why I believe CNN will always be strong.”
The anchor and media critic thanked Licht, formerly of CBS, saying it was “rare” to get to do a final show after cancellation.
“This might sound weird, but thank you to CNN’s current boss Chris Licht for letting us say goodbye,” he said.
During an internal meeting on Friday, Licht apparently publicly thanked Stelter.
“I really appreciate all that Brian has done to build the media beat for CNN. He’s a great human being and a good person. I wish him all the best on his new venture,” he said.