CNN head Chris Licht has indicated that he’s wanted to bring a change to the network, to make it more concentrated on news. It’s been known for a long time for seeming to be more of another arm of the Democratic party because of the left-wing bias at the network under former CEO Jeff Zucker.
In the process of trying to change the network, Licht has dumped some of the folks who operated more like Democratic political operatives including people like Brian Stelter and John Harwood. He’s moved other people around, like demoting Don Lemon to the morning show.
As we reported, Licht also tried to take on the drunken, bawdy New Year’s Eve excesses for which CNN has become known.
“[CNN CEO Chris] Licht told employees he felt on-camera drinking eroded the credibility of CNN personnel and damaged the ‘respectability’ they may enjoy among viewers,” Variety also noted in their story.
Likely Licht didn’t want a repeat of some of the events of the past that included CNN personalities smoking a joint on live TV in 2017 and jumping into a liquor-filled tub with a drag queen in 2019. There there was Don Lemon, who last year went on a wild, drunken rant about being a “grown a** man” and not caring about what his critics said about him. He threw in some bonus twerking into the bargain and a crude joke about the male anatomy into the bargain.
But even though Licht banned drinking, that didn’t resolve their greater problem of being bad at what they do. You have one job when you’re covering New Year’s Eve — the countdown. Don Lemon caught a lot of flack from people on social media for missing that countdown moment from his location in New Orleans. Instead of counting down, Lemon was doing what Lemon does, throwing beads into the audience and dancing to Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up,” skipping right over the stroke of midnight.
CNN has redeemed itself by ringing in the new year in New Orleans with "Back That Azz Up" and not acknowledging the stroke of midnight in any way pic.twitter.com/tieCeHc4sA
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 1, 2023
Priorities, right? That’s Lemon.
But this wasn’t just on Lemon, but on whoever was producing the show and communicating with Lemon who failed to get him back on task to the countdown. They can’t even blame drinking this time unless Lemon and the other employees were sneaking sips while not on air.
Viewers were not amused.
LOL, sober Don Lemon on CNN can’t even get the countdown to midnight right. Love New Orleans, but this wasn’t really about NYE.
— Stephen Scaffidi (@WTMJSteve) January 1, 2023
Don Lemon botched CNN's New Years countdown… what a perfect summary of that failing network.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) January 1, 2023
But it’s par for the course when it comes to CNN. It’s the failure to do its job that people care about more than the drunken excesses, although those excesses likely don’t help people take them seriously. Some people like the excesses so that they can laugh at Lemon or Anderson Cooper being drunk. But it doesn’t lend to people thinking better of the network. The problem has been that they don’t get the regular news right and they’re always pushing the Democratic narrative. That should be the thing to concentrate on – to change – if the network truly wants people to think of them differently. As it is, their ratings are in the toilet. That’s a heavy weight that Licht is not likely to overcome without continuing to make significant changes in the personnel including Don Lemon.