CNN's go-to media reporter Brian Stelter has been widely criticized for not offering up the full story about his network colleague Jeffrey Toobin, who was swept up in a Zoom masturbation scandal Monday.
Vice broke the news that The New Yorker magazine had suspended Toobin -- also CNN's star legal analyst -- over an alleged incident that involved nudity during a Zoom call with colleagues at the magazine and members of WNYC radio. Vice later reported that two sources said Toobin was seen masturbating on the call.
Stelter, however, offered a peculiar description of the alleged self-pleasuring.
"Jeffrey Toobin has been sidelined at a pivotal moment in the run-up to the presidential election. The reason: He exposed himself during a Zoom call with New Yorker colleagues in what he says was an accident. Here's our full story," Stelter tweeted with a link to his CNN article about the controversy.
Neither the CNN article nor Stelter's "Reliable Sources" nightly media newsletter mentioned the fact that Toobin was accused of masturbating on the Zoom call.
Critics piled on Stelter, who is widely known as the media's "hall monitor," for his failed attempt to summarize the CNN controversy.
"Dude, the only 'accident' was that he got caught. You don’t 'accidentally' start jacking off during a video chat," Daily Wire senior editor Emily Zanotti told Stelter.
"This is not satire. Repeat... THIS IS NOT SATIRE," National Review contributor Pradheep Shanker warned his Twitter followers.
"WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE GUY WHO WHIPPED OUT HIS JUNK DURING A WORK CALL," writer Andi Zeisler sarcastically exclaimed. "He was not 'sidelined.' This didn’t happen *to* him. He made a choice and that choice led to consequences. This isn’t difficult."
"Imagine a news org framing the Toobin scandal this way (saying he was 'sidelined' for an 'accident,' not suspended for sexual misconduct), and then ask yourself if you'd believe anything else that news org reported. Anything at all. You would not, and should not," The Federalist political editor John Daniel Davidson similarly expressed.
"I appreciate your clarifying 'OUR full story', which tacitly acknowledges that CNN is not giving its readers the TRUE story. Namely that one of its chief legal analysts was masturbating on a live Zoom call with women present," said "Louder with Crowder" host Steven Crowder, calling out Stelter's masturbation omission.
Vice reported on Monday that the Zoom call, which was described as an "election simulation," included Toobin's New Yorker colleagues Jane Mayer, Masha Gessen, Andrew Marantz, Jelani Cobb, Evan Osnos, Sue Halpern and Dexter Filkins playing various roles including President Trump, Joe Biden, "establishment Republicans," 'establishment Democrats," and "the military." Toobin was playing "the courts."
According to two sources, Toobin was seen masturbating in what was supposed to be a 10-minute "strategy session," though the report added that it "seemed like Toobin was on a second video call."
"The sources said that when the groups returned from their breakout rooms, Toobin lowered the camera," Vice said. "The people on the call said they could see Toobin touching his penis. Toobin then left the call. Moments later, he called back in, seemingly unaware of what his colleagues had been able to see, and the simulation continued."
The detail about Toobin's alleged masturbation was added to the report after it was initially published, as noted by Vice: "This piece has been updated with more detail about the call and the headline has been updated to reflect that Toobin was masturbating."
Toobin, one of CNN's biggest stars, offered an apology for his "embarrassingly stupid mistake" and attempted to explain what led to the incident.
“I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers," Toobin said in a statement to Motherboard. “I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me. I thought I had muted the Zoom video."
A spokesperson for New Yorker confirmed to Fox News, "Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended while we investigate the matter.”
CNN also said in a statement, "Jeff Toobin has asked for some time off while he deals with a personal issue, which we have granted.”