CNN’s new CEO is making waves at the liberal network after they became so partisan and angry during the Trump years under Jeff Zucker.
Chris Licht has now thrown down the gauntlet, declaring that both on-air personalities and their programming must become less partisan and people who won’t comply will get the axe.
CNN’s new boss, Chris Licht, is evaluating whether personalities and programming that grew polarizing during the Trump era can adapt to the network’s new priority to be less partisan.
If talent cannot adjust to a less partisan tone and strategy, they could be ousted, three sources familiar with the matter tell Axios.
Licht wants to give personalities that may appear polarizing a chance to prove they’re willing to uphold the network’s values so that they don’t tarnish CNN’s journalism brand.
For on-air talent, that includes engaging in respectful interviews that don’t feel like PR stunts. For producers and bookers, that includes making programming decisions that are focused on nuance, not noise.
CNN’s tone became more partisan and combative during the Trump era and under the leadership of former CNN president Jeff Zucker.
To conservative critics, some on-air personalities, like Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter, have become the face of the network’s liberal shift.
Licht doesn’t want to necessarily shy away from personality programming, especially in prime time, but he wants to ensure that partisan voices don’t dominate in a way that harms CNN, a source notes.
Licht took the helm at CNN last month, shortly after longtime CNN president Jeff Zucker exited the network in scandal.
His priorities are widely seen as aligned with the leadership of CNN parent Warner Bros. Discovery.
CNN did not comment.
From what I understand the partisan talent at CNN is not happy about this because they think they bring the ratings. But Licht isn’t budging an inch. He’s going to make the network less partisan because that’s what his Warner Bros. Discovery bosses want from him.
I think this is undoubtedly a good thing, but it still won’t undo the damage that CNN did to their own reputation during the Trump years. They’ve lost the trust of so many in this country with their hateful and scandalous coverage of Trump.
If they want to win back some of that trust, which will be very difficult, then I think it starts with getting rid of their liberal hotheads like Acosta, Lemon, and Stelter and hiring more conservative talent that isn’t just used as a punching bag. As well as adding a more conservative show to their prime-time lineup.