CNN’s reboot, cleansing itself of deadwood and political hacks that were killing its ratings, has set media and political circles on fire who contend the network’s new corporate ownership is shifting its focus to the political right.
The network is adamantly denying that the assertion is true, claiming it is focused instead on objective journalism.
The left, however, sees the ejection of high-profile pundits such as Brian Stelter along with less biased political coverage as evidence of a move toward the right, instead of just reporting on the facts which is what journalism is supposed to entail.
CNN anchor Brianna Keilar is getting intense heat for daring to criticize President Biden’s divisive “Soul of the Nation” speech. The questioning of that particular inciteful rhetoric by the president triggered leftists to posit that CNN was skewing to the right simply because Keilar objected to Marines being used as political props in the blood-red background.
“Whatever you think of this speech the military is supposed to be apolitical. Positioning Marines in uniform behind President Biden for a political speech flies in the face of that. It’s wrong when Democrats do it. It’s wrong when Republicans do it,” she wrote on Twitter.
Whatever you think of this speech the military is supposed to be apolitical. Positioning Marines in uniform behind President Biden for a political speech flies in the face of that. It’s wrong when Democrats do it. It’s wrong when Republicans do it.
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) September 2, 2022
Keilar is by no means a fan of former President Trump and is by all accounts a leftist. But she had the spine to call out Biden for his obviously propagandistic move.
Her comments reportedly incensed White House staffers. They came a day before CNN White House reporter John Harwood, a critic of Trump, unexpectedly left the network as well.
“The message coming out … is that this is part of a deliberate effort to get rid of people at CNN who are seen as too critical of Donald Trump and Fox News,” Matthew Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, asserted according to The Hill.
He also claimed that there were “some very high-profile cases of CNN staffers making a sort of public display of criticizing President Joe Biden.”
Some at CNN are seemingly going out of their way to channel right-wing attacks against President Joe Biden as they try to avoid getting targeted in Chris Licht's purge. https://t.co/e3Nw4IRi27
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) September 7, 2022
“CNN is not shifting from left to right or pursuing a centrist position,” a CNN spokesperson told The Hill in a prepared statement. “We are entirely focused on our core strength and mission — objective journalism, presented in a fair and compelling way. We will continue to acknowledge different worldviews and experiences. We will always stand up for democracy and call out lies — regardless of their origin. That is not centrism, that is journalism.”
CNN’s ratings skyrocketed during former President Trump’s presidency but when he left office they cratered.
Following CNN being seen as not leftist enough by progressives, the hashtag #BoycottCNN trended on Twitter last week.
“I decided to #BoycottCNN as soon as the network began its shift to the right,” wrote Jon Cooper, who is a former finance chair for President Obama. “If I wanted to watch right-wing propaganda, I’d watch Fox.”
I decided to #BoycottCNN as soon as the network began its shift to the right. It was a tough decision, since I’ve been a devout @CNN viewer since I was in my 20s.
If I wanted to watch right-wing propaganda, I’d watch Fox. So for now, it’s ONLY @MSNBC for me.
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) August 29, 2022
A number of liberals are insinuating that the shift at CNN can be traced back to John Malone, who is a billionaire media mogul and major shareholder in Discovery, which purchased CNN’s parent company Warner Media last year.
Malone has previously asserted that he “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.”
“A lot of people on the outside are seeing this as some sort of gambit for audience and viewership,” Michael J. Socolow, who is a former assignment editor at CNN and is now an associate professor at the University of Maine’s Department of Communication and Journalism, stated. “There are much bigger economic and regulatory benefits for the political positioning than any kind of viewership gains.”
More shakeups are rumored to be on the way at CNN, leaving many staffers paranoid.
“There isn’t a bigger, faster rumor gossip machine than a newsroom,” Joe Ferullo, who is a former network television executive, said. “In a vacuum, that rumor machine goes in overdrive, so it has to be addressed.”
The new head of CNN had hoped that shifting it to the right would allow them to pick up Fox viewers. Instead, CNN is simply losing viewers to MSNBC.
This will go down as one of the WORST decisions in cable television history.
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) September 4, 2022
“To contend that there are two sides to the Jan. 6 insurrection or Trump’s methods really is beyond remarkable, it’s kind of repulsive,” charged Larry Sabato, a pundit who runs the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, according to The Hill. “Why are they doing it? The media moguls want it done because they’re fairly conservative themselves, whether they openly admit it or not. So they’re pleasing themselves and justifying it by saying we’ve all got to get back together.”
“While Twitter is not necessarily real life, one can’t help but notice that CNN viewers are growing frustrated with some of these recent developments,” Tom Jones of the Poynter Institute wrote. “It would behoove Licht to get out ahead of this and explain what CNN is doing and where it is going.”
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