CNN's Tumultuous Year
The audience wasn't buying what CNN was selling.
CNN had good journalistic intentions when they put Chris Licht in charge a little over a year ago. The idea was to transform the cable news channel from one with a predictably liberal bias and make it what it used to be when Ted Turner launched the channel way back in 1980: a place to go for down-the-middle, fact-based information.
It was an idea that didn’t stand a chance in today’s fractured media world. It was an idea that was bound to fail.
When Chris Licht got fired last week, his boss, David Zaslav, who heads up Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s corporate parent, said Licht “poured his heart and soul into this job” but “for a number of reasons it didn’t work out.”
One of those reasons was that under Licht, CNN’s ratings had hit all-time lows.
According to the New York Times, “Mr. Licht’s boss, Mr. Zaslav, has said he believes that CNN’s coverage veered too far into ‘advocacy’ journalism under his predecessor, Jeff Zucker. Mr. Licht has sought to include on-air perspectives from commentators and newsmakers across the political spectrum, including conservatives.”
Good idea, but that’s not what CNN viewers wanted. People tune into cable news to get precisely what Zaslov and Licht were trying to get away from — advocacy journalism.
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