Well, that didn’t take long. New CNN boss Chris Licht has lashed out at “the left” over their constant criticism of changes he is making at the beleaguered network.
In an interview with The New York Times, Licht said blasted the “uniformed vitriol” coming from that side of the political spectrum regarding changes he says are necessary to rebuild the legacy cable news outlet after years of far-left, anti-GOP and anti-Trump coverage.
“The uninformed vitriol, especially from the left, has been stunning,” Licht told the Times. “Which proves my point: so much of what passes for news is name-calling, half-truths and desperation.”
Licht said his vision is for the outlet to offer a “rational conversation about polarizing issues” so viewers can “take what they’ve heard to the dinner table and have a discussion.”
Looks like CNN is getting an enema!!https://t.co/iey4qwerqe
CNN boss Chris Licht slams 'left-wing, uninformed' critics attacking him for making network less partisan – after he fired hundreds of anchors and staff
— Christopher Harris (@BlackSheepDawg) December 19, 2022
“I want CNN to be essential to society. If you’re essential, then the revenue will follow,” he added. “Maybe it won’t work. But I’d rather try to win this way.”
He has made several changes, firing some personnel and moving others like Don Lemon from his little-watched prime time slot to co-host of the morning show with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlyn Collins.
The Education of CNN’s Chris Licht https://t.co/566Yoen0WQ
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) December 18, 2022
“They obviously like each other. The chemistry is great. I love the collaboration,” Licht said of the new morning show lineup. “Every day, it evolves. It’s not like me giving orders. It’s so much fun.”
The Times noted:
By almost any measure, Mr. Licht, 51, has had a rough start. His first major act was to kill the network’s fledgling streaming service, CNN+, and fire 400 or so people working on it. CNN’s revenue and profits have plunged to a projected $750 million this year, down from $1.25 billion last year, partly from the costs associated with CNN+, the network acknowledged.
CNN’s ratings declined, on average, this year compared with 2021, according to Nielsen, with CNN falling behind MSNBC for the first time in prime time on election night among total viewers.
At the end of November, Mr. Licht levied another round of job cuts — this time just under 10 percent of CNN’s work force of about 4,000, which plunged morale further. Among the casualties were familiar commentators like Chris Cillizza, key behind-the-scenes producers with decades of experience, and the entirety of HLN, CNN’s sister network, and its popular morning host, Robin Meade.