Brian Stelter‘s nine-year run at CNN came to an end Sunday with the very last episode of Reliable Sources. During the farewell installment, the media correspondent told viewers that “CNN must stay strong,” and warned about the impending threats that media and democracy will continue to face.
“I know it’s not partisan to stand up for decency and democracy and dialogue,” he said in the episode (watch a clip embedded above). “It’s not partisan to stand up to demagogues. 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 full spectrum of debate and representing what is going on in this country and this world.
“That’s why CNN needs to be strong… You viewers at home — it’s on you. CNN must remain strong. I know the 4,500 staffers are going to do their part to make it stronger than ever. But it’s going to be on you to hold CNN accountable, and not just CNN. You got to hold your local paper accountable. You got to hold your local digital outlet accountable. It’s on us. We are all members of the media, all helping to make it better.”
Stelter also noted that Reliable Sources was one of the network’s highest rated weekend shows and that it “punched above its weight for so many years.” The rest of the hour-long program continued the discussion on change in the media, some of which was seemingly directed at CNN’s parent company Warner Bros. Discovery and the current network leadership’s desire for a more centrist network.
News of Reliable Sources‘ cancellation came Thursday, with Stelter writing at the time that it’s been “a rare privilege to lead a weekly show focused on the press at a time when it has never been more consequential.”
Stelter gave zero indication in Sunday’s sign-off as to what his next plans are, but after thanking his family and the network’s staff and executives, he said, “This show is going away but there’s going to be so many more. We need to have room for media criticism debate and discussion, and we will.”
Stelter began his tenure at CNN in 2013, when he was tapped to take over as Reliable Sources host and serve as the network’s chief media correspondent. Prior to that, he worked as a media reporter at the New York Times for six years, having made a name for himself in the media industry via his cable news-centric blog TVNewser.