On air, retiring CNN boss tells Brian Stelter he needs ‘responsible voices from right of center on show’

After 40 years, CNN’s vice president of standards and practices Rick Davis is stepping down, but not before he gave Brian Stelter some stunning advice: book more conservatives to interview on your show. Naturally, Brian appeared to basically ignore and glibly gloss over the advice of his mentor because this is CNN, after all.

On Sunday, the “Reliable Sources” host interviewed Davis and probably could not believe his ears. The admission came towards the end of the segment, but in it, Davis claimed that Stelter and CNN fell short in hearing from and listening to conservatives. So much for diversity.

Stelter started out by praising Davis as a “living legend.” He told his audience that Davis had been with CNN since the very beginning of the network which began on a Sunday. Then he asked for advice from Davis on how he could make his program better. He apparently did not get the answer he expected.

“I think you need to strive to have more voices on the show from right of center,” Davis cautioned Stelter, who robotically nodded along.

“Responsible voices from right of center on the show,” Davis stated.

“And occasionally, when you can, you want to have some newsmakers on who can express to you how they feel about the media, particularly if they feel like the media got it wrong and let them talk about it.” Davis continued. “If you had the opportunity, wouldn’t it be great if you had a writer who wrote a story and the newsmaker who felt like he didn’t get a fair shake?”

That is a refreshing change of tune from someone at CNN, and no doubt, unpopular with the other moguls there. But then again, everything is in the wording. Who defines what ‘responsible’ means to CNN? And the network is not known for listening to those on the right who firmly believe they get something wrong.

Stelter has made his CNN creds on dissing conservative media and attacking Trump. He usually dismisses any reporting that does not fall in lock-step with CNN’s less than bipartisan coverage.

After failing to really even acknowledge the advice, Stelter went back to praising Davis as if it meant nothing at all.

“Reliable Sources” is known for representing the liberal viewpoint in politics and media. They have guest after guest who does nothing but bash the right incessantly. As for conservative pundits, they are all but non-existent on the network.

Davis did say that the longevity of “Reliable Sources” is due to its analysis of the media. He also said that the show is “on steroids now” with all the conversations concerning media outlets and their competitors.

“Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of reporting and commentary on CNN about the impact of conservative and right-wing media, and there’s a lot of discussion in conservative media about the mainstream media, the ‘evil mainstream media,’” Davis noted. “The people who are the viewers and the readers and the listeners of those channels and those outlets hear about it from the people who are the opinion leaders, and they’re interested in that, and they talk to me about it.”

So, the advice he gave Stelter appears to have come from viewers who caught the ear of Davis. Perhaps Stelter should rethink blowing off the advice of someone who has been with the network for 40 years and knows what the audience is interested in.


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