This is CNN? Brian Stelter’s widely panned interview with Jen Psaki draws tiny audience, heavy criticism

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CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Brian Stelter averaged only 791,000 viewers on Sunday despite a chummy interview with White house press secretary Jen Psaki, as the struggling program has now failed to crack the one-million viewer benchmark for 10 straight telecasts. 

The disappointing turnout was nearly the show’s smallest audience of the year, but managed to eke out a victory over the May 23 edition that averaged only 763,000. Stelter’s widely panned interview with Psaki, a former CNN colleague, was also the show’s second-worst performance of the year among the key demographic of adults age 25-54, as “Reliable Sources” attracted only 126,000 viewers from the group coveted by advertisers. 

CNN’s "Reliable Sources" with Brian Stelter averaged only 791,000 viewers on Sunday. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Brian Stelter averaged only 791,000 viewers on Sunday. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The dismal turnout among the crucial category barely beat the May 16 episode of “Reliable Sources” that attracted only 122,000 demo viewers. 

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“Reliable Sources” dropped 16 percent of its audience compared to the previous week, as viewers continue to tune out Stelter at an alarming rate during the Biden era. The reliably liberal host spent years nitpicking former President Donald Trump and conservative media at every turn but has struggled to attract an audience since President Biden was sworn into office. 

As a result of Stelter shedding viewers, his highly criticized chat with Psaki wasn’t seen by many people when it aired on Sunday morning. The interview was mocked by critics on both sides of the political aisle after the CNN host asked the press secretary what the media gets wrong when covering the Biden administration while largely avoiding tough questions. 

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Stelter also asked Psaki, who was a colleague of Stelter as a CNN commentator during the Trump era, if she fears Republicans will ruin the country before their children grow up.

“Somehow Brian Stelter managed to take his humiliatingly ‘tell-me-why-I’m-bad-Jen’ start to his interview and get even more sycophantic from there. Even Psaki had to be thinking: ‘oh my god, the intensity of his adoration is … uncomfortable,’” journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote

While the audience was tiny, the interview was so widely mocked that Stelter vented about the backlash he received in his Twitter mentions. 

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“My Twitter mentions right now: liberals mad because I asked @PressSec about why Biden won’t hold more press conferences. Conservatives enraged because I asked her ‘what do you think we get wrong?’ And I feel so old fashioned thinking to myself, ‘judge the interview in context,’” Stelter tweeted

Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien contributed to this report.