CNN’s Brian Stelter ignored Jeffrey Toobin’s awkward comeback on show claiming to cover media industry

Media top headlines June 14

MSNBC’s Joy Reid getting slammed for claiming students learn ‘Confederate Race Theory,’ an NPR TV critic doubling down on an op-ed urging Tom Hanks to be ‘anti-racist,’ and Biden muttering that he’ll get into trouble with his staff round out today’s top media headlines

CNN’s Brian Stelter claims his low-rated show “Reliable Sources” takes an inside look at the media industry, but the liberal host ignored the most buzzed-about segment of the week Sunday when he didn’t cover Jeffrey Toobin’s awkward return to CNN. 

Toobin blew up Twitter on Thursday after CNN’s chief legal analyst sat down with anchor Alisyn Camerota to address his indecent exposure that resulted in his firing from The New Yorker and an extended leave of absence from the liberal network. Toobin, who was seen masturbating by colleagues on a Zoom call in October, was given a second chance by CNN and became the butt of jokes across the industry in the process. 

Stelter, who heavily promotes CNN in addition to his focus on conservative media criticism, ignored the story on “Reliable Sources” after downplaying it earlier in the week. Despite the heavy backlash that continued into Friday, Stelter suggested in his newsletter on Thursday that the Toobin comeback was already old news. 

“There were a wide range of reactions to the news on Thursday afternoon. But by nightfall, I pretty much sensed that the social media conversation had moved on to other subjects,” Stelter wrote.

The media industry and TV observers had hardly “moved on” when Stelter attempted to clean up CNN’s mess, as Toobin remained firmly in the zeitgeist. 

NBC News was still advancing the story on Saturday morning when it published a story, “Jeffrey Toobin’s CNN return after Zoom call was a class in performative accountability,” which blasted the way CNN handled the situation. 

“Toobin claimed he is ‘trying to become the kind of person that people can trust again,’ but his performance on cable TV indicated he has yet to achieve this beyond skillful rhetoric. A culture of accountability, however, is not the exclusive work of the individual but of communities, and, particularly in this case, the institution of CNN. The network has yet to demonstrate how it has changed its policies or implemented a culture of accountability since Toobin’s chosen eight-month leave of absence,” NBC News culture critic Marcie Bianco wrote a day after Stelter declared the story was dying down. 

The Washington Post was still publishing stories about the Toobin incident on Saturday, too. 

Fox News’ “MediaBuzz” covered the story on Sunday as well. Stelter falsely claimed everyone “moved on” from the Toobin saga but it seems he was referring to his own program.

A CNN source confirmed to Fox News last week that Stelter’s report that several anchors and hosts had clamored for Toobin to return was true. The left-leaning analyst has been with CNN since 2002.

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report. 

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