For those of you afraid CNN might return to its ancient roots and start reporting actual news, fear not.
In an interview with the Financial Times published Monday, newish CEO Chris Licht made things clear. Though he’s rejiggered the lineup since replacing Jeff Zucker in May, viewers can still expect nothing close to a down-the-middle foray into facts.
To hear Chris tell it, a pure, reliable relaying of information doesn’t jive with modern times. These days, you’ve got to have some razzmatazz. In fact, he seems downright offended by the idea that CNN would be a news organization:
“One of the biggest misconceptions about my vision is that I want to be vanilla, that I want to be centrist.”
His response to such an idea:
“That is bull***t.”
It doesn’t fly in 2022:
“You have to be compelling. You have to have edge.”
As noted by the New York Post, the outlet’s certainly been on the edge:
[I]n the years since Trump has been out of office, CNN’s ratings have tanked… CNN has plunged far below Fox and MSNBC, with none of its shows cracking the top 20 in October, according to Nielsen.
But as for being compelling, Chris isn’t necessarily wrong. Consider this clip of actual news, and how it compares to Americans’ contemporary sensibilities; also, enjoy CNN’s 1980 mission statement:
Nowadays, who needs news when they can get half (or less of) the story? Chris reckons the network needs a point of view:
“In many cases, you take a side.”
That should work out well to host Don Lemon. In June of last year, he announced, “I don’t do opinion. … [I] do point of view.”
Even so, Don would presumably prefer CNN to be centrist. He asserted the following to former Clinton Administration spokesman Joe Lockhart in 2020:
“[I]’ve been giving people the facts about the Democratic party, that it’s actually a centrist party…”
As you may know, Don and others have been shifted — and, in some cases, shafted — under new network management. Back to the Post:
Since taking the reins, [Chris Licht] axed opinionated media reporter Brian Stelter, who hosted the now-defunct Reliable Sources, White House correspondent John Harwood and dethroned Don Lemon from his ratings-challenged 10 p.m. primetime show. The left-leaning Lemon now co-hosts morning show CNN This Morning with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins.
As for partisanship, don’t get Chris wrong; he’s swearing off the center, but he doesn’t believe CNN should be particularly Left or Right:
“Sometimes, you just point out uncomfortable questions. But either way, you don’t see it through a lens of Left or Right.”
It appears the CEO wants a more dynamic delivery. If you keep everything at maximum intensity, nothing is intense:
“If everything is a crisis, if everything is 11, if everything is breaking news, then no one listens when there actually is a crisis. When you say, ‘No, no — really — the house is on fire now.’”
He told the Financial Times he wants the network to be “more like a newspaper.” Of course, the question is, “Which newspaper?”
Whatever the case, it sounds as if CNN will hold on to a few things that have kept viewers and readers riveted. After all, who wants this…
…when you can have this:
Joe Rogan uploads damning evidence accusing CNN of altering his COVID announcement video: 'Yellow Journalism' https://t.co/PAeWCHfqPl
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) January 9, 2022
More razzmatazz to come.
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