Brian Stelter claims billionaire John Malone wanted CNN to be ‘more like Fox’

Fired CNN anchor Brian Stelter doubled down on his decision to call out billionaire John Malone on-air last year – asserting that the influential WarnerBros. Discovery shareholder wants the network to be “more like Fox.”

NewsNation anchor Dan Abrams pressed Stelter on whether he regretted criticizing Malone, given the fact that his show “Reliable Source” was unceremoniously canceled just a few months later.

“No, not at all,” Stelter said during a Tuesday appearance on NewsNation. “I think we were reporting what was going on. Malone was saying CNN should be more like Fox. And I think we see today more than ever before what Fox actually is.”

The Post has reached out to CNN and WarnerBros. Discovery representatives for comment.

Stelter was fired last year as part of an ongoing shakeup at CNN led by network president Chris Licht – who, at the direction of WarnerBros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, is leading an effort to adopt a fact-driven, nonpartisan approach to coverage.

Malone is a member of CNN parent WarnerBros. Discovery’s board of directors. He is also a close confidant of CEO David Zaslav.

Brian Stelter formerly served as host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

In a November 2021 interview with CNBC, Malone raised some eyebrows by publicly declaring his preference that CNN shift away from the opinion-based content for which it was known under the network’s disgraced former boss, Jeff Zucker.

“I would like to see CNN evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with, and actually have journalists, which would be unique and refreshing,” Malone said at the time.

Stelter fired back at Malone during a segment on his now-canceled show “Reliable Sources” in February 2020 – just a few months before he was forced out at CNN.

Brian Stelter on NewsNation
Brian Stelter said he still isn’t sure why he was fired.

“Many CNN staffers found that to be offensive,” Stelter said during the segment, referring to Malone’s remarks. “Jeff Zucker found that to be quite disturbing because he’s looking at that, thinking, what is Discovery’s key shareholder going to do to CNN?”

After Stelter’s firing last August, Malone said he had “nothing to do with” CNN’s decision to cancel his show and oust him from the network.

At the time, Malone told the New York Times that he wanted “the ‘news’ portion of CNN to be more centrist,” but noted he was “not in control or directly involved” in its programming decisions.

John Malone
John Malone has called for CNN to be more centrist.

During his appearance on NewsNation, Stelter was adamant that he still doesn’t know for sure why he was fired.

“I really, truly don’t know,” Stelter said. “I know I had a popular show by CNN standards and I know it was pretty cheap to produce, but I also know every show gets canceled eventually.”

Mediaite earlier reported on Stelter’s remarks.