comScore CNN's Brian Stelter Hires Lou Dobbs Producer

Brian Stelter Has Railed Against ‘Scary’ Lou Dobbs. Now, He’s Hiring One of His Producers.

CNN host Brian Stelter’s show Reliable Sources has hired a producer from Lou Dobbs Tonight on Fox Business, Mediaite has learned. That hire comes despite Stelter routinely calling out Lou Dobbs for fear-mongering about migrants, airing conspiracy theories and channeling disinformation to President Donald Trump on his show.

Diane Kaye, who has been a freelance segment producer for Fox Business since November 2018, was recently brought on board at CNN as a producer for Stelter’s Sunday media show, a source familiar with the move told Mediaite. During her time at Fox Business, Kaye started on Charles Payne’s Making Money in the fall of 2018 before moving over to Dobbs’ show earlier this year.

She also previously worked on the show of former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, as well as various programs on CNN, HLN, and Fox Business, according to her Linkedin page.

CNN did not respond to Mediaite’s requests for comment on the hire.

While networks crossing partisan lines to make hires isn’t uncommon, the Reliable Sources host bringing on a producer from Dobbs’ show is notable given Stelter’s particularly damning criticism of the Fox Business show.

“If President Trump was watching Lou Dobbs the other night, he heard that foreigners may kill millions of Americans,” said Stelter while commenting on a Dobbs segment from March 30, adding the host’s rhetoric toward immigrants is “nonsense but it’s scary” given his closeness to the president.

On April 14, Stelter criticized Dobbs’ contribution to the “Trump-Fox feedback loop,” pointing to Fox News sharing a false claim that was then re-shared by the president — thus justifying additional coverage of the lie by the network that spread the misinformation in the first place. In one example of this loop in action, Trump tweeted a false poll that showed his approval rating at 55 percent, which he had re-shared from Dobbs’ show. (Dobbs later corrected the error to note the poll had Trump at 43 percent but the president did not take down the erroneous tweet.)

“This really shows Lou Dobbs’ influence with the Trump White House. He was calling for the DHS secretary to be fired, and then lo and behold, a week and a half later, [Kirstjen] Nielsen’s out,” observed Stelter.

In October of last year, Stelter called a Dobbs segment “so gross” in response to a guest spreading an antisemitic conspiracy theory about Jewish billionaire George Soros secretly funding the migrant caravans to replace white Americans. (Fox Business apologized for the segment and vowed to never invite the guest back.)

Stelter’s boss, CNN president Jeff Zucker, has outright accused all Fox News employees — even the “good journalists there” — of contributing to the network’s de facto state “propaganda machine.”

“There are a handful of good journalists there, but I think they are lost in what is a complete propaganda machine,” said Zucker in March 2018. “The idea that it’s a news channel, I think, is really not the case at all.”

More recently, Zucker doubled down on his “state-run TV” claims while speaking at SXSW in March and specifically called out Fox’s hard news staffers for opting to work there while contributing to the “propaganda” outlet.

“They chose to work at Fox and they don’t get to hide behind the fact that they’re excellent journalists or anchors,” he said. “The fact is they work at a place that has done tremendous damage to this country.”

Curiously enough, Stelter works for a division of CNN originally started by Dobbs. His media reporting falls under CNN Business, a vertical technically launched by Dobbs who, as a CNN host and executive in the 1990s, was the founding president of CNNfn — the original name for the network’s business division.

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma