New CNN boss Chris Licht is reportedly seeking to hire reasonable, down-to-Earth, politically centrist sports media star Charles Barkley, and leftists can’t stand it.
News of Licht’s reported intentions emerged on Friday from Puck News, which noted that Licht “has been pitching a number of on-air talents from the worlds of news, entertainment, sports and comedy about hosting weekly, news-oriented prime time shows on his network,” including Barkley.
Barkley’s potential show in particular “would see the 11-time NBA All-Star, Hall of Famer, and current mega-popular TNT Inside the NBA analyst interviewing newsmakers, journalists, and other guests about various topics of the day.”
“The conceit is that a genuine, outspoken, often humorous figure like Barkley might be a bigger draw than the traditional self-serious newsman, and might be better suited to ask guests the kinds of questions that average Americans actually care about,” according to Puck News.
Without naming names, CNN later somewhat confirmed the news to Fox News.
“Chris is having conversations with dozens of culturally relevant individuals from the worlds of news, sports, entertainment and comedy,” a spokesperson said.
The reaction has been one of fire and fury from leftists, many of whom resent Barkley’s sometimes conservative viewpoints.
He’s a sellout uncle tom.
— Athanasios Zoyganeles (@AthanasiosZoyg9) February 10, 2023
Won’t work. CNN is going in the wrong direction.
— A coup in search of a legal theory (@katheri34207054) February 10, 2023
What is #CNN thinking? Are they still in the news business or what? This is not going to work.
— Citizen_Campbell (@campbell_elroy) February 10, 2023
It’s almost comical what Licht thinks will be good for the network and what people want. None of his moves have improved the content or their performance.
— Samhain442 (@Samhain442) February 10, 2023
Chris Licht is destroying CNN like DeSantis in Florida, destroying their ratings, getting rid of Don Lemon in prime time for these weird new format shows and replacing it with Charles Barkley. A complete joke and dangerous impact he has had.
— Wisky (@wisky_j) February 10, 2023
barkley has garbage opinions on a lot of social matters.
money has distanced him for the realities that many people, particularly people of color, go through in their everyday.
can’t really take words of a guy who takes private jets to get around as a voice of justice & reason
— SM (@slothmanifesto) February 10, 2023
Notice all the complaints about the recent changes at CNN. Ever since Licht took over, he’s axed some of the network’s most left-wing hosts and tried to steer the network back toward being a genuine news network versus a left-wing echo chamber.
This has angered the network’s leftist fans, some of whom are now former fans. They believe the network is selling out and becoming conservative — when in reality, Licht’s just trying to make it genuinely fair and balanced, like Fox News.
Barkley is a perfect example of this. He’s neither a raging leftist nor a die-hard conservative. He’s an average Joe with average Joe opinions. Some of his opinions run to the left, and some of them run to the right.
The problem is that leftists only see the world through the lens of leftism, and so they resent the prospect of being exposed to conservative ideas and observations.
Ideas such as disdain for cancel culture and “PC people,” as Barkley once called “woke” zealots who zealously follow the diktats of political correctness.
Charles Barkley shreds ‘jacka**es’ of cancel culture: Can’t even talk about big ol’ women down in San Antonio! https://t.co/VpCCSesphf
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) June 16, 2021
And observations such as the one Barkley made last year when he said that the liberal “utopia” of San Francisco is a “dirty ass” city that “needs a good washing.”
In fairness to CNN’s leftist critics, the network’s ratings have plummeted even further amid the changes sought by Licht.
However, they were already pitifully low before thanks largely to its drumbeat of left-wing content that most people evidently found unappealing.
Granted, some of the recent ratings decline has probably stemmed from the fact that some of its primetime slots are currently devoid of a regular host and thus rudderless, thanks to all of the leftist hosts who’ve been fired.
“For over a year, CNN has struggled to fill the gaping hole in its primetime lineup. After the 2021 firing of Chris Cuomo, the 9 p.m. ET time slot has been a revolving door of failed experiments from Jim Acosta to Jake Tapper while oftentimes the network has turned to 8 p.m. anchor Anderson Cooper to do two back-to-back hours,” according to Fox News.
“The primetime woes grew further complicated in September when Licht pulled Don Lemon, who anchored his own two-hour show from 10 p.m. til midnight, to launch a morning show alongside Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, which was met with behind-the-scenes drama and waning viewership,” Fox News reported Friday.
What remains to be seen is whether filling these spots, particularly with reasonable people like Barkley, will fix CNN’s dilemma …
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