CNN hosts Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter have been called out in a new report about an attempt to reinstate the organization to a non-partisan approach to news as the “face of the network’s liberal shift” for conservatives.
CNN made a dramatic shift to the left during the tenure of recently ousted boss Jeff Zucker, though the incoming regime has asserted its intention to restore its credibility with a less partisan approach. The new president of CNN, Chris Licht, had previously advised the staff that he would “double down on what works well and quickly eliminate what doesn’t,” and since then there have been lingering questions about the programs or personalities that would be removed.
An Axios report released on Tuesday cited “three sources close to the matter” who stated that Licht is assessing if staffers can adapt to the less controversial approach, and anyone who doesn’t comply “could be ousted” so that they don’t continue to damage the reputation of CNN. Licht is now reviewing the network’s operations in the first few weeks of his tenure.
“To conservative critics, some on-air personalities, like Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter, have become the face of the network’s liberal shift,” Axios’ Sara Fischer wrote.
The fact that Fischer has included Stelter as one example of CNN hosts who might be asked to leave, have raised eyebrows among media watchers because she was featured on his Sunday show “Reliable Sources.” But it was known that Stelter has become known for advocating for the liberal media at any cost, while at the same time attacking conservatives with the same ferociousness. He was known as a frequent critic of President Trump and worked hand-in-hand with Zucker who was booted out in February.
A CNN insider noted that Fischer simply pointed out that both hosts were targeted by the right, and that they are not identified as the ones who will likely be ousted, per report.
The inclusion of Acosta was not unexpected. He earned a name for himself as CNN’s chief White House reporter under Trump, when he became known for his blatant questioning, bombastic on-air editorials and feuds with the president and others in the administration. Trump repeatedly clashed with Acosta, enhancing his profile by referring to him as “fake news.” CNN removed Acosta from his White House beat as President Biden took office for a weekend anchor and “national correspondent” position, where he continues to express his politics; for several months, his pinned tweet linked to his personal segment calling Trump an “insult to clowns.”
“Licht doesn’t want to necessarily shy away from personality programming, especially in prime time, but he wants to ensure that partisan voices don’t dominate in a way that harms CNN, a source notes,” Fischer wrote.
Licht announced earlier that he would “reinvent” the CNN morning show where current co-host Brianna Keilar has built a reputation for engaging in aggressive interviews with conservatives. It is unknown if she will be part of the revamped morning program, expected to launch this fall.
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