CNN keeps moving toward the center
I have been paying special attention to CNN since the new owners said they want to change the culture and restore traditional journalism. I have even gratuitously offered some suggestions on changes that would prove their sincerity. Many of my “recommendations” have been instituted.
My initial suggestion was that, if they wanted to be taken seriously about the announced change in direction, they would have to dump CNN’s politically biased so-called media critic Brian Stelter. Well, lo and behold, he was the first to go.
I also suggested that they should replace their “New Day” morning team of John Berman and Brianna Keilar. Puff! They are on their way out. I did not call for the booting of Don Lemon but questioned the utility of his nighttime show. His ratings against FOX’s Laura Ingraham were godawful. Lemon is now scheduled to be one half of the morning anchor team. If the bosses at CNN take my recommendation, they will pair Lemon off with a more conservative counterpoint.
I had suggested that they give Chris Wallace a spot in the daytime lineup. He was serving as an occasional panelist after CNN+ — the network’s new streaming programming was stillborn. Wallace was paid big bucks to be the majordomo for CNN+. It has now been reported that Wallace will have his own interview show – more or less replicating his old FOX News program.
I know a lot of hardline conservatives did not like Wallace – but he is far more balanced than the folks he will be replacing. In an appearance on the morning show, he articulated that there are two sides to the issue of bussing and flying migrants to Democrat cities. Whatever one thinks of him, he is an improvement over the old CNN cast.
I was taken by surprise – but pleased — by the ousting of CNN White House reporter John Harwood. I always have found him to be stridently biased in his reports. Dumping him was a good move. Another one gone is political analyst Jeffrey Toobin – whose analyses spun to the left.
I am not expecting a scorched earth policy at CNN. It will continue to be a slightly left-of-center outfit. A number of the remaining hosts appear to be shifting from dogmatic left-wing reporting to something approaching balance. I have counted more conservative panelists and interviewees. It may not be a sea-change, but it is significant.
But if the network is truly going to be more professional and more balanced, there is still work to be done. In my “must go” category is the smarmy and arrogant John Avlon. If they keep the currently misnamed “Reality Check” feature, it will need to be more than a political attack on Republicans and conservatives.
Also, on my exit list is the hyper-arrogant, biased and obnoxious James Acosta. (I bet you can tell that I do not like him very much.) He is not only a biased reporter, but also a left-wing combatant. His personal contempt for Republicans is palpable.
Some of the most important changes at CNN will not be as obvious because they are folks that do not appear on the screen – but have a greater influence over content and guests than do the anchors. I am referring to the producers, writers, and investigators behind the camera. They pick the subjects, write the scripts that are read off the teleprompters and they select the guests. They drive the political culture.
Some will get the axe – and some have. Others will jump ship before they are thrown overboard. And others – the most philosophically biased will quit in protest. Some of those will be reported in the public domain – especially if they make a fuss on the way out. But most will go quietly. We will only know of their departure by the content we see on the screen.
I would say that the new owners are more serious about a change than I first imagined. We will have to wait and see how far they go – and how it affects CNN’s plummeting ratings. Stay tuned.
So, there ‘tis.