Following the release of top hosts at CNN, staffers have grown “terrified” that even more people will be let go as the network and its new leader, Chris Licht, attempt to shake things up and transition to a more centrist news organization.
BREAKING: Brian Stelter Leaving CNN as Network Cancels Reliable Sources https://t.co/VSq4HnAJyp
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) August 18, 2022
Fears first began to arise when long time host Brian Stelter was let go and continued when it was announced that White House correspondent John Harwood was leaving the network.
today's my last day at CNN
proud of the work
thanks to my colleagues
i've been lucky to serve the best in American media – St. Petersburg Times, WSJ, NYT, the NBC family, CNN
look forward to figuring out what's next
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) September 2, 2022
The Washington Post reported that Harwood still had time left on his contract but when CNN representatives were asked about the reasoning for his departure they gave no comment. A statement from the network simply said, “We appreciate John’s work covering the White House, and we wish him all the best.”
The outlet further reported on the effects the recent departures have had on the network.
Several current and former CNN employees who spoke with The Washington Post — most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly — are interpreting the sudden exodus as evidence that Licht, who joined the network as chairman and CEO in May, is starting his tenure by casting out voices that had often been critical of former president Donald Trump and his allies, in an effort to present a new, more ideologically neutral CNN. That aligns with a vision repeatedly expressed by David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery.
Zaslav hired Licht to replace Jeff Zucker, the network’s ousted longtime leader, who had encouraged an earlier tonal shift at CNN by allowing the network’s stars to express more emotion and opinion.
A CNN journalist spoke on the releases of Harwood and Stelter saying “People are freaked out. It almost feels like there’s a pattern. Is there a purge going on? They seem to be sending a message: ‘Watch what you say. Watch what you do.’”
CNN’s ratings have seen a steady decline over the past few months while their conservative counterpart Fox News has achieved incredible numbers.
New CEO of CNN Chris Licht is making a point that the network is taking a sharp turn away from bias and emotion in the delivery of news. While CNN’s liberal reputation has been built over years, these recent changes could be a sign of something better to come from the network.
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