CNN anchor Brian Stelter doesn’t merely report on news stories. He lives the stories — and on a very visceral level at that.
He demonstrated this graphically in April, when he famously told listeners that he “crawled in bed and cried for our pre-pandemic lives.” He explained, “I wanted to share because it feels freeing to do so.”
Since then, the reporter who wears his emotions on his sleeve has sought out other opportunities to share with viewers the touchy-feely side of the news.
He begins by showing images of protests over the death of George Floyd from all over the country. These get him wondering what it’s like to walk a mile in the shoes of black reporters covering these incidents. His musings, a transcript of which follows, begin at 1:58 in the video.
Even these images don’t capture what it’s like for black reporters to see these images day in and day out and be covering these moments as they happen and be living this story. I don’t think I can possibly ever fully understand how my African-American colleagues are feeling while facing a unique set of challenges, unique burdens, covering this story while living it. So, that’s where I want to begin this hour. There’s been some headlines about this recently. There’s a CNN.com headline saying many journalists of color are fed up and speaking out. Staffers calling out management at places like refinery 29d, BuzzFeed, The New York Times and the Philly Inquirer. In fact, this weekend the top editor at the Inquirer resigned. There was an article published in the paper with the title “Buildings Matter Too,” which understandably caused an uproar from staffers at the Inquirer. In fact more than 40 journalists called out sick and tired, a protest earlier this week. Look, this is bigger than any one moment, bigger than any one news room.
The benefit to CNN of reporting the story behind the story is that it leaves less time for them to cover “news,” which the network is forever getting blasted for distorting.
At the same time, this diversionary reporting raises a question: How many of their viewers want to tune in to these non-stories? These can’t be helping CNN’s already failing ratings among cable news providers. Who exactly is the network broadcasting for?