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CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’ with Brian Stelter hits rock bottom in key demo

CNN’s beleaguered media show “Reliable Sources” with Brian Stelter hit an embarrassing new low on Dec. 22, when it averaged only 85,000 viewers among a key age group.

Stelter regularly touts the significance of the news demographic of adults age 25-54 but the dismal performance marked his lowest viewership of 2019 in the category.

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The dismal performance from Stelter came as Fox News’ “Media Buzz,” a direct timeslot competitor, thumped CNN’s “Reliable Sources” across the board in 2019.

Stelter’s “Reliable Sources” averaged only 748,000 total viewers for the year prior to its 2019 finale on Dec. 29, while “Media Buzz” averaged 1.3 million over the same time period. In addition, CNN’s Sunday morning media show lost 12 percent of its viewers compared to 2018, while “Media Buzz” kept its audience with nearly identical year-to-year averages.

Among the demo, “Reliable Sources” averaged only 167,000 viewers during 2019 compared to 227,000 for “Media Buzz” prior to the Dec. 29 episodes.

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The 2019 demo low of “Reliable Sources” on Dec. 22 occurred on the same day that “Media Buzz” topped its yearly demo viewership, averaging 298,000 age 25-54 viewers for its third-best performance of the year, indicating the holiday season is not what kept viewers away from CNN.

Stelter, the “Reliable Sources” host who also pens a media newsletter by the same name, has pivoted from straight news about journalism to focusing on President Trump. Earlier this month, Stelter was mocked for tweeting “journalists shouldn’t advocate for an outcome” when it comes to impeachment, as he has been among the outspoken media members who openly criticize Trump on a regular basis.

Stelter has repeatedly criticized Trump and members of his administration, often questioning Trump’s mental health and fitness for office. Back in August he was condemned for blaming technical issues for staying quiet when a guest said Trump is responsible for more deaths than brutal dictators Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.

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Stelter also recently omitted that ABC News spiked a story about convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein from his year-end list of top media stories and has oddly downplayed the scandal altogether.

Earlier this year, the controversial Project Veritas published footage showing ABC News anchor Amy Robach claiming higher-ups at the network killed a story that would have exposed Epstein three years ago, but the Disney-owned network says it wasn’t up to their standards.

The controversy quickly evolved into a manhunt by ABC for the alleged leaker and led to the firing of CBS News staffer Ashley Bianco, a former “Good Morning America” producer who claimed she wasn’t the one who leaked the video of Robach.

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Meanwhile, Project Veritas went on to publish an open letter from the alleged “ABC insider” exposed the cover-up to the right-wing outlet. However, none of this appeared to be noteworthy to CNN’s Stelter, who instead listed the “war on truth” and the Trump administration’s “assault on facts” as the top media story of 2019.

There has been speculation that the ABC News scandal received no coverage on CNN because Project Veritas, which frames itself as a conservative whistleblower watchdog group, previously targeted the liberal cable network just weeks prior, exposing what it called the “bias” of CNN President Jeff Zucker.

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

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