(mrcNewsBusters) CNN boss Chris Licht drew a big James Stewart profile on the front of the Sunday Business section of The New York Times. Licht’s public chatter about making CNN less partisan and screamy is drawing bad reviews from partisan and screamy leftists. This went unsaid: CNN hasn’t really changed at all.
A chorus of media pundits has pounced on every tidbit of bad news. Mr. Licht’s early programming efforts aimed at repositioning the network as broader and less partisan have prompted howls of criticism, with former MSNBC host and former colleague Keith Olbermann publicly calling Mr. Licht a “TV Fascist” after he moved Don Lemon, a liberal host, from a prime-time slot to a revamped morning show.
“The uninformed vitriol, especially from the left, has been stunning,” Mr. Licht said in one of several interviews with The New York Times spanning his nearly eight-month tenure. “Which proves my point: so much of what passes for news is name-calling, half-truths and desperation.”
From the beginning, Licht’s preaching about how he took the CNN job to save democracy sounded very self-important. Stephen Colbert didn’t want him to leave his show to run CNN:
But for Mr. Licht, nothing less than democracy itself was at stake. He argued he could make CNN a news channel that people trusted, as opposed to one that monetized partisan combat….
“CNN would be lucky to get you,” Mr. Colbert continued. “But you’re my friend, and I’m telling you not to go.”
“This is a calling,” Mr. Licht countered.
At which point Mr. Colbert stopped trying to dissuade him: “I can’t negotiate with a calling.”
Warner Brothers-Discovery boss David Zaslav played on that self-importance when recruiting Licht to CNN:
At their first meeting, Mr. Zaslav argued that running CNN would be “a great opportunity to build the No. 1 news brand in the world,” and “the most trusted brand in news where people go every day and in a crisis for the best version of the truth.”
And more than that: “This is important for America. It’s important for a functioning society.”
Stewart lamented “CNN had also become the poster child for the poisoned relationship between former President Donald J. Trump and mainstream media organizations.” But when the so-called “mainstream” is constantly dropping bombs on Trump and the Republicans, is it representing a “mainstream” or the Democrats? No one asked. They played this silly exercise pretending CNN’s somehow “in the middle,” far to the right of MSNBC, which isn’t reality. They’re more like twins than squabbling sisters.