CNN's Brian Stelter calls Steve Scully suspension a 'WTF' moment after ignoring controversy on his show

C-SPAN suspended its political editor after he admitted to lying about his Twitter account being hacked

CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter appeared to have a sudden change of heart regarding the severity of the controversy surrounding suspended C-SPAN political editor Steve Scully. 

C-SPAN announced its suspension of Scully, who was previously set to moderate the now-canceled second presidential debate, after he admitted to lying about his Twitter account being hacked after he went viral over a tweet to former Trump aide turned adversary Anthony Scaramucci emerged.

Stelter appeared stunned in reaction to the news on Thursday. 

C-SPAN SUSPENDS STEVE SCULLY INDEFINITELY AFTER HE ADMITS HE LIED ABOUT HIS TWITTER BEING HACKED

"A true WTF, what-was-he-thinking moment... causing real damage to the national news media's reputation," Stelter tweeted. 

That wasn't the attitude he expressed on his media-centric program "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, which made no mention of the controversy. 

The CNN host also skipped the backlash NBC received for its Biden town hall it held last Monday, which was criticized as a "Biden infomercial" and later revealed that several "undecided voters" that were able to ask the Democratic nominee questions were either previously identified as Biden voters on MSNBC or had anti-Trump/pro-Biden social media posts. 

Critics mocked Stelter's sudden concern for the media's "reputation," many of them invoking one of his frequent "Reliable Sources" guests, disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather. 

CNN'S BRIAN STELTER AVOIDS STEVE SCULLY CONTROVERSY ON HIS 'RELIABLE SOURCES' MEDIA SHOW

"Meanwhile, Stelter will continue booking Dan Rather on his show," Daily Caller reporter Chuck Ross reacted. 

"Joy Reid has a prime-time show on MSNBC and you regularly book Dan Rather on your show named Reliable Sources," Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy tweeted, also alluding to the "hack" claims similarly made by MSNBC host Joy Reid in 2018. 

"Unlike, you know, using phony National Guard documents....like Stelter's 'legendary journalist' hero," NewsBusters executive editor Tim Graham quipped.

Stelter, who is often referred to as the media's "hall monitor," has a history of ignoring some of the biggest media stories that emerge, including the 2019 revelation of ABC News spiking the Jeffrey Epstein story

However, Stelter wasn't alone in avoiding the Scully controversy. Nearly all of the major news networks offered no on-air coverage to C-SPAN host's "hack" claim. 

"For several weeks, I was subjected to relentless criticism on social media and in conservative news outlets regarding my role as moderator for the second presidential debate, including attacks aimed directly at my family," Scully wrote in a statement to CNN. "This culminated on Thursday, October 8th when I heard President Trump go on national television twice and falsely attack me by name. Out of frustration, I sent a brief tweet addressed to Anthony Scaramucci. The next morning when I saw that this tweet had created a controversy, I falsely claimed that my Twitter account had been hacked."

MEDIA LARGELY AVOIDS STEVE SCULLY CONTROVERSY, TV NETWORKS SKIP DEBATE MODERATOR'S 'HACK' CLAIM

"These were both errors in judgment for which I am totally responsible. I apologize," Scully said.

He continued, "These actions have let down a lot of people, including my colleagues at C-SPAN, where I have worked for the past 30 years, professional colleagues in the media, and the team at the Commission on Presidential Debates. I ask for their forgiveness as 

I try to move forward in a moment of reflection and disappointment in myself."

C-SPAN also issued a statement, revealing that the network and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) were made aware about Scully's fabrication on Wednesday. 

"We are very saddened by this news and do not condone his actions," C-SPAN said. "Starting immediately, we have placed Steve on administrative leave. After some distance from this episode, we believe in his ability to continue to contribute to C-SPAN."

Both C-SPAN and the CPD initially defended Scully. According to C-SPAN's original statement, Scully "did not originate the tweet" in question. The statement added that the CPD was investigating the incident "with the help of authorities."

DEBATE MODERATOR STEVE SCULLY RAISES EYEBROWS WITH TWEET ASKING SCARAMUCCI 'SHOULD I RESPOND TO TRUMP'

CPD later stated that "it had reported the apparent hack to the FBI and Twitter" as part of its investigation. 

A spokesperson for Twitter previously told Fox News they had no comment when asked to confirm whether or not Scully's account was hacked. 

Scully, who has not yet publicly addressed the controversy himself and could not be reached for comment, has a history of blaming "hackers" for posts made on his Twitter account, dating back to 2012 and 2013.

The CPD had selected Scully to moderate the second presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden scheduled for Oct. 15. That debate was canceled Friday night after Trump pulled out following the CPD's announcement that the event would be virtual. Biden subsequently withdrew from the debate and has since scheduled an ABC News town hall for the night that the debate was supposed to take place. Trump similarly landed a town hall with NBC News airing opposite of ABC's Biden event. 

Scully's initial tweet caused confusion and fury among critics, with many concluding the moderator meant to send his message to Scaramucci privately. 

"@Scaramucci should I respond to trump," Scully wrote in the now-deleted tweet. 

Scaramucci responded by telling Scully: "Ignore. He is having a hard enough time. Some more bad stuff about to go down."

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Scully's credibility as an unbiased debate moderator was initially questioned after it became known that he previously worked as an intern for then-Sen. Biden and served as a staffer for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. 

During the 2016 campaign, Scully shared a New York Times op-ed headlined, "No, Not Trump, Not Ever."