Looks like CNN’s Brian Stelter got the memo from the network’s new owners about discussing ‘facts’ — even when it relates to the once-taboo subject of Hunter Biden.
The “Reliable Sources” host did a major 180 about the scandal-scarred son of President Joe Biden, and the federal investigation related to emails found on Hunter’s laptop, during his show on Sunday.
Hunter Biden may face charges as the federal criminal investigation continues into possible tax fraud, money laundering and foreign lobbying crimes linked to his overseas business deals.
Stelter — who had called the Hunter Biden leaked laptop a “classic example of the right-wing media machine” — broached the subject in an interview with Michael LaRosa, the former press secretary for First Lady Jill Biden.
“What about his son?” Stelter asked his guest. “What about Hunter? Hunter under federal investigation, charges can be coming at any time, this is not just a right-wing media story. This is a real problem for the Bidens.”
Stelter even suggested that the president could be forced to forgo re-election in 2024 as a result.
“I hope he runs. I know he’s going to run, he’s planning to run,” LaRosa said.
When the New York Post first broke the news in 2020 that Hunter’s laptop showed shady business activities and that his father — then vice president — was aware of it, Stelter called the news a “manufactured scandal.”
Even after two years — and verification of the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop by the New York Times and Washington Post — Stelter did not offer a mea culpa, nor did the media analyst probe why legacy publications had chosen not to cover the story in 2020.
“I think there’s a tension between big American newsrooms that want to check something out themselves that don’t want to rely on other outlets, that don’t want to just repeat and regurgitate, but then there’s an audience expectation of being able to instantly cover every story and have every answer,” Stelter said in April during a panel discussion at the “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference, according to Fox News.
Stelter continued: “And so in September or October of 2020, when the New York Post has something other outlets can’t match it, there’s this pressure- ‘Why aren’t you confirming this? Why aren’t you focusing on this? Why aren’t you leading on this?’ Because we haven’t matched it, we haven’t confirmed it.”
The anchor bizarrely chalked it up to a “tension between fast and slow journalism,” instead.
Stelter’s flip-flopping stance on Biden’s laptop comes as his bosses at CNN are looking to recalibrate the left-leaning network to become more centrist and focus on “facts” as opposed to “opinion.”
CNN boss Chris Licht, who replaced CNN’s longtime boss Jeff Zucker this year, has been charged with pumping up CNN’s slumping ratings, bringing in more revenue and regaining the trust of viewers. Zucker, who resigned after he didn’t disclose an affair with a coworker, had focused on injecting commentary and points of view into daily reporting that had juiced CNN’s ratings during Donald Trump’s presidency, but has turned off viewers since Trump left office.
A June report from Axios suggested that Licht is monitoring anchors at CNN to ensure their tone follows the network’s plan to become less partisan — and personalities such as Brian Stetler are under a microscope.
Anchors who are unable to “adjust to a less partisan tone and strategy” could be removed from their posts, the publication noted.