New CEO on CNN: Time to Take out the Trash

AP Photo/Ron Harris

We’ve talked about the change of ownership of CNN and how the word was that they would be changing things to move CNN back to its roots of being a news organization, the way it was decades ago.


Now, David Zaslav, the Warner Bros. Discovery head who is taking over the conglomerate that includes CNN and a variety of other entertainment networks, is speaking out on his intentions. He sat with Oprah Winfrey this past week, outlined some of the changes that would be coming, and bashed “advocacy networks.”

The CEO told Winfrey that CNN needs to be about reporting and truth and facts. “If we get that, we can have a civilized society,” he said. “And without it, if it all becomes advocacy, we don’t have a civilized society.” [….]

But even before that, billionaire media mogul John Malone — a close confidant of Zaslav — and a board member of the combined company, criticized CNN for its slanted coverage.

“I would like to see CNN evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with, and actually have journalists, which would be unique and refreshing,” Malone said during a CNBC interview last November. “I do believe good journalism could have a role in this future portfolio that Discovery-TimeWarner’s going to represent.”

Under Zucker’s successor, Chris Licht, an executive producer with stints at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” CNN is expected to get an overhaul that includes more hard news and less opinion programming, sources told The Post.

So not only are they moving back to their origins — being hard news — but Zaslav said that staff reductions would be coming to get rid of redundancies and the dead weight.

As we reported previously, one of those folks reputed to be on the chopping block is Brian Stelter. But there is certainly a slew of folks over there who deserve the ax big time. With the launch of CNN+ seeming to have run aground — it has barely any viewers and that has Chris Wallace throwing tantrums — one has to wonder if that might get rethought and/or cut, too.


According to Fox’s Charlie Gasparino:

People who know him tell me the following: With Zucker out, Zas has no allegiance to CNN+ or its people. If subs don’t begin to grow, he will likely fold it into another streaming service, Discovery+, and lop off a chunk of the people Zucker hired.

To cut costs, he’ll probably also scale back on some of its programming ambitions while focusing on other parts of the WarnerMedia empire.

So much for streaming saving CNN.

That might mean that unless he got shifted someplace else, Chris Wallace could be on the chopping block as well if CNN+ continues to tank. It’s hard to understand who would have thought it’s a good idea to charge subscriptions for something that people already hate when it’s thrown at them for free. But if Stelter and Wallace get taken out in all this debacle, it’s hard not to laugh and think that’s a positive move for the world.


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