When chairman and CEO Chris Licht took the helm at CNN earlier this year he expressed that his mission to clean up the corporate media outlet was “a calling,” and now, after months in the trenches, he reported being stunned by the left’s “uninformed vitriol.”
Much like the “Twitter Files” have confirmed what many knew all along about the censorship and suppression Big Tech has been engaged in for years, Licht’s tenure with the international news organization has evidently exposed him to the persistence of the left’s echo chamber.
Having set out to return CNN to fact-based reporting by “fearlessly speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo, questioning group-think, and educating viewers and readers with straightforward facts and insightful commentary while always being respectful of differing viewpoints,” Licht spoke with The New York Times about how any pitfall on this course has opened him up to attacks.
“The uninformed vitriol, especially from the left, has been stunning,” the CEO told the outlet.
Chris Licht, CNN’s new chief executive, has had a rough start. Licht said he was under no illusion that stepping into the job would be easy or make him popular.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 18, 2022
Ratings at the network have struggled as the new direction has been implemented which has included the termination of the likes of Brian Stelter and John Harwood along with a sizable reduction in off-air workforce as other personalities have had their time slots rearranged.
Reacting to backlash as the network adapts to the changes, Licht said, “Which proves my point: so much of what passes for news is name-calling, half-truths and desperation.”
Inadvertently supporting the CEO’s point, former MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann, still posting from his dog’s account, took credit for being a spreader of “uninformed vitriol” as he attacked Licht as a perpetrator of “meddlesome schemes” now “portraying himself as The Real Victim Here.”
Please enjoy many paragraphs of CNN's henchman Chris Licht portraying himself as The Real Victim Here™️
"The uninformed vitriol" he refers to is mine. It's hardly uninformed. I worked with him- and was the victim of his meddlesome schemes -for four yearshttps://t.co/GvTOP0o2QF pic.twitter.com/NPczXANMrT
— Keith Olbermann's Dogs (@TomJumboGrumbo) December 18, 2022
Included among the more obvious moves that have triggered the left was the chairman’s decision to hire the founder and editor of The Reload, Stephen Gutowski to provide measured content on Second Amendment issues.
“No one wants a school shooting,” Licht explained, “But we have to understand the culture of people who like guns.”
“This is not vanilla, centrist or boring,” he added. Those sentiments followed up comments he offered while speaking with the Financial Times in November where he said, “One of the biggest misconceptions about my vision is that I want to be vanilla, that I want to be centrist. That is bullsh*t.”
“You have to be compelling,” he went on. “You have to have edge.”
Licht has remained open with employees about the direction of the network and, having worked his way up in media, recently expressed during an all-staff meeting that he understands the challenges of his team and supports them in striving toward legitimate journalism.
“In terms of morale, let me just say, you work at a world-renowned news organization alongside the best journalists on the globe. Your jobs have an impact,” he said. “You are part of something bigger, of something with tremendous meaning. And nothing about that has changed. And you have in me as a leader, who has done a lot of your jobs, someone who has your back every step of the way. My loyalty is first and foremost to this organization and to journalism without fear or favor to anyone else, including our parent company.”
“That’s why I’m here. That’s why I took this job,” the CEO asserted.
As for detractors, he made clear to the Times, “I want CNN to be essential to society. If you’re essential then the revenue will follow. Maybe it won’t work. But I’d rather try to win this way.”
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