Can Chris Licht Get Republicans Back On CNN — And Why It’s So Important (2022)

Can Chris Licht Get Republicans Back On CNN — And Why It’s So Important (1)

Chris Licht, the new president of CNN, is settling into one of the most challenging jobs in news, and questions abound regarding how he will guide the network out of the extreme turmoil it has faced over the last year. A major step in his plan to bring CNN back to the center? Convincing Republican officials back on its airwaves.

Puck’s Dylan Byers has done a good job of gleaning Licht’s initial vision for CNN, which mostly involves a desire to restore the network’s reputation as a high-minded place for proper journalism. That’s a shift away from the partisan chest-thumping that became pervasive on the network in the last few years of Jeff Zucker’s leadership.

After neatly summarizing the current state of play in cable news — in which MSNBC viewers are led to believe that Marjorie Taylor Greene’s rhetoric represents all Republicans, and Fox News viewers see Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the Democratic standard-bearer — Byers explains what he sees as Licht’s vision:

According to the people that I talk to in and around CNN, Licht sees this opportunity. He aspires to elevate the conversation and provide viewpoints that better reflect the full spectrum of public opinion. And frankly, he wants to make the content smarter, a decibel lower, and above the my-side boosterism. That sort of adult conversation sophistication has been a hallmark of his career from Morning Joe, which still features the most insightful political conversation on morning TV, to CBS This Morning and even Colbert. Perceptive CNN viewers will notice that he’s already removed the constant “breaking news” banner, toned down the chyrons and introduced a far more measured tone to the website’s headlines.

(Video) Stephen Colbert To Chris Licht: "I Love You For The Man You Are"

The DEK of the article succinctly poses the goals and challenges Licht faces: “Sure, an adult-table bastion of centrist upscale cable news sounds fantastic, especially since Fox News and MSNBC have totally abdicated the middle. But can it still be done, and will it rate?”

Given Byers’ recent track record on all things CNN, Discovery, and the media figures involved (seriously, has any reporter more single-handedly dominated as massive media as Byer has on this?) we can take his analysis of the Licht strategy at face value. It also follows Occam’s Razor by simply making the most sense.

But how should Licht go about executing this strategy? I posit that the first step in reclaiming the center is convincing Republican elected officials to come back on CNN airwaves for meaningful, policy-based interviews. And yes, I am fully aware that this idea will bring much chagrin to Daily Show writer Matt Negrin, who is a vocal critic of what he sees as a media bias that favors platforming Republicans. (Sidenote? Negrin’s Chagrin is a terrific name for a podcast, Matt.)

Yes, booking political officials from either party presents its own challenges as most politicians are really effective at not telling the truth. Calling out blatant misinformation presented by an elected official is not just good television, but also good for the country in general.

There was a time not that long ago when CNN viewers regularly saw substantive interviews between Republican lawmakers and anchors asking tough questions. The Chris CuomoAlisyn Camerota era of New Day benefited from terrific bookings and insightful discussions.

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The bookings weren’t always fruitful. Other CNN programs were more craven, settling for the insights of the Washington Generals of cable news, Jeffrey Lord (remember him?)

But then Donald Trump effectively called for a jihad against CNN, stoking a rivalry fueled in part by the network’s full-throated and relentless anti-Trump coverage (coverage that was not unwarranted, it’s worth adding!) The conflict got so heated that a Trump supporter mailed pipe bombs (or fake pipe bombs) to CNN talent, among others. Things were beyond ugly. Before long, Republican officials stopped showing up on CNN entirely, save a few Never-Trumpers eager to offer the same message as everyone else on the network.

To illustrate the evolution of CNNs’ punditry, take a look at those booked to offer a conservative voice in recent years, and where they are now. Can anyone truly say that, for example, Ana Navarro is a Republican? That may say more about how the Republican Party has evolved under Trump, but it also reveals one of the many challenges Licht faces.

Broadly speaking, Licht’s objectives are two-fold: 1) Restore CNN’s reputation as a news-based, centrist, outlet with people across the political spectrum; and 2) restore its appeal to the right and center-right, which have abandoned it entirely.

These aren’t precisely the same thing, considering what MAGA has done to the Republican party, and considering that most of the mainstream press considers Fox News extreme right-wing and, therefore, most Republicans. Further, restoring access to the right (objective 2) may very well undermine CNN’s credibility with the broader set of viewers (objective 1.)

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The path forward? 1) Book non-extremist Republican and Democratic officials and 2) Prepare well-informed anchors to push back on false or misleading rhetoric. If anyone is up for pushing this boulder up the mountain, it’s Licht.

A successful progenitor of the cable news model I’m describing is Morning Joe, the MSNBC morning show Licht launched many moons ago. Is Morning Joe centrist? Depends on who is adjudging its politics, to be frank, but it’s more in the middle than nearly any other show of equal influence.

So why exactly will CNN benefit from booking non-extremist Republican voices to its air? Because viewers are in dire need of hearing opposing points of view to penetrate the partisan bubbles so many live in, which are hermetically sealed by the opinion programs that are regularly consumed. The vast majority of Democrats and Republicans are not extremist lunatics, and CNN can reintroduce a civil discourse that can ideally heal a wounded body politic.

There are reasons to question whether Licht can actually pull this off. He was also tasked with turning around CBS This Morning, and while he did make significant improvements, the show remains comfortably in third place. The undertaking was such a huge lift that I am certain Licht was delighted to hop off that ride to join The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as showrunner. He also created, with Colbert and others, Our Cartoon President, which, quality aside, might be a tough line item on his resume for future Republican guests to get past.

All of this is to say that cable news desperately needs to return to panel discussions that explore issues from different perspectives, instead of preaching to an increasingly furious choir. Dayside Fox News programming might just be the best network at having guests from the other side of the aisle on its airwaves, largely because no Republicans will go on CNN and MSNBC has no interest in speaking with them.

(Video) 'Hold on a second': CNN anchor presses GOP lawmaker on comparing Trump to Clinton

Licht’s reported desire to reclaim the center of kitchen table issues may be a tough sell, and it may not even rate.

CNN earns roughly one billion in profit each year, so if that level of revenue can be maintained while its programming works to restore its reputation across the political spectrum? That would be a huge win, regardless of ratings. And lest we forget, journalism was never supposed to be entertainment.

It wouldn’t just be a win for CNN and Licht, but for the body politic as well.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

Chris Licht, the new president of CNN, is settling into one of the most challenging jobs in news, and questions abound regarding how he will guide the network out of the extreme turmoil it has faced over the last year.. Puck’s Dylan Byers has done a good job of gleaning Licht’s initial vision for CNN, which mostly involves a desire to restore the network’s reputation as a high-minded place for proper journalism.. After neatly summarizing the current state of play in cable news — in which MSNBC viewers are led to believe that Marjorie Taylor Greene’s rhetoric represents all Republicans, and Fox News viewers see Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the Democratic standard-bearer — Byers explains what he sees as Licht’s vision:. The DEK of the article succinctly poses the goals and challenges Licht faces: “Sure, an adult-table bastion of centrist upscale cable news sounds fantastic, especially since Fox News and MSNBC have totally abdicated the middle.. I posit that the first step in reclaiming the center is convincing Republican elected officials to come back on CNN airwaves for meaningful, policy-based interviews.. Before long, Republican officials stopped showing up on CNN entirely, save a few Never-Trumpers eager to offer the same message as everyone else on the network.. Broadly speaking, Licht’s objectives are two-fold: 1) Restore CNN’s reputation as a news-based, centrist, outlet with people across the political spectrum; and 2) restore its appeal to the right and center-right, which have abandoned it entirely.. A successful progenitor of the cable news model I’m describing is Morning Joe , the MSNBC morning show Licht launched many moons ago.. Dayside Fox News programming might just be the best network at having guests from the other side of the aisle on its airwaves, largely because no Republicans will go on CNN and MSNBC has no interest in speaking with them.. The post Can Chris Licht Get Republicans Back On CNN — And Why It’s So Important first appeared on Mediaite .

CNN CEO Chris Licht has set his executive team, firming up the direct reports who will help run the cable news channel’s global operations.Licht’s appointments are mostly longtime CNN staffers, reflecting a desire to shift CNN’s focus toward hard news, rather than a desire to make dramatic change.“W...

Licht also formally announced the addition of two outsiders to his executive team: Washington Post veteran Kristine Coratti Kelly, who earlier on Wednesday was tapped to lead global communications for CNN, and Chris Marlin, a friend of Licht’s who is tasked with leading strategy and business operations, and will be “charged with finding new revenue and optimization opportunities across the business.”. Michael Bass will remain executive vp programming, and will lead CNN’s daily editorial call; Amy Entelis, will continue to lead talent and content development as executive vp; and Ken Jautz will continue serving as executive vp news, including oversight of operations and production, as well as HLN.. Virginia Moseley will now serve as EVP of Editorial for CNN US, now including the Digital news team managed by Rachel Smolkin.. In this role, Kristine will lead our global communications and brand strategy and oversee our CNN Worldwide PR and communications teams, as well as global marketing.. Ramon will continue working closely with Amy Entelis in his expanded role and will now report to me.

New data from the Pew Research Center shows that trust in the mainstream media among Republicans continues to essentially fall off a cliff.

That in the years since 2016 — does anyone even need to be reminded why that year is a benchmark?. — the percentage of Republicans who say they have at least “some” trust in national news organizations has plummeted from 70% that year to just 35% now.. The partisan spread between these two groups (35% among Republicans, compared to 78% among Democrats who say they trust the national news) is the largest it’s been since the Pew researchers have asked this question over the last five years.. Specifically, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks .. Like Netflix’s Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror — a 5-episode limited series that not only unpacks the events of the day itself but also probes world events that set the stage for it, as well as the aftermath.. And, of course, trust in the national mainstream media is nowhere near what it once was.. The part of this story about trust that the mainstream media almost never grapples with, however, is its own culpability herein.. Let’s take Rolling Stone magazine’s story in recent days about supposed ivermectin overdoses causing chaos in a hospital as just one example.. “One hospital has denied Dr. Jason McElyea’s claim that ivermectin overdoses are causing emergency room backlogs and delays in medical care in rural Oklahoma, and Rolling Stone has been unable to independently verify any such cases as of the time of this update ...

CNN+ is a casualty of the network's identity crisis, which is in and of itself a casualty of our national identity crisis.

The network can’t be neutral because its definition of neutrality is out of step with the public’s—and it can’t be ideological for the exact same reason.. Reporting from Fischer and others indicates CNN rushed the launch of CNN+ before completion of the Warner Bros.. Those executives “thought there weren’t enough people willing to pay for subscription video news services to warrant the $1 billion investment CNN planned for CNN+ over four years.”. CNN is trying to be Johnny Carson in a Colbert world.. In fact, his last job was with Colbert.. If you want to make money on a niche platform, you can’t spend like it’s a mass media platform.. Jeff Zucker, CNN’s disgraced former boss, loved the prime-time antics of Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, both of whom embodied the network’s false but sanctimonious sense of neutrality.. Licht is correct that CNN’s brand used to indicate some sense of neutrality, of an outlet that could be trusted during breaking news events.. I don’t actually know how big that audience is anymore.. So how can the television network be neutral even if it really tries?. She previously covered politics as a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

The executive producer of Stephen Colbert's CBS late night show is expected to be named next week.

Chris Licht, a veteran TV news executive and current showrunner for CBS’ “Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” is expected to be named president of CNN, filling the role of its ousted leader, Jeff Zucker. PrintChris Licht, a veteran TV news executive and current showrunner for CBS’ “Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” is expected to be named president of CNN, filling the role of its ousted leader, Jeff Zucker.Two people familiar with the matter confirmed a report in the newsletter Puck that Discovery Inc. Chairman David Zaslav has tapped Licht for the role.. Read more: Los Angeles Times » A detained woman escaped her handcuffs and shot a deputy and civilian through the window of a patrol car in Blanchard, Oklahoma.. White guy replaces white guy That won't be much of a change.. Chris Licht Poised to Take Command of CNN in Discovery-WarnerMedia Merger Chris Licht, the wunderkind producer who launched “Morning Joe,” retooled “CBS This Morning” and helped late night host Stephen Colbert gain traction on CBS, is jumping to C… Hi, I’m a graphics designer... Jeff Zucker’s replacement at CNN will be Chris Licht NEW: Jeff Zucker’s replacement at CNN will be Chris Licht So Zucker will be calling Licht every morning with the days script, and then Licht will pass it on to DonLemon and the rest of the CNN sock-puppets?. CNN will dial down the prime-time partisanship under new top exec Chris Licht SCOOP: Under new chief Chris Licht, CNN will dial down the prime-time partisanship and double down on the network's news-gathering muscle, top sources tell Axios.. Discovery to Name Chris Licht to Run CNN Veteran news and late-night TV showrunner Chris Licht will lead CNN, people familiar with the matter said, as Discovery looks to steady a network roiled by the departure of its long-serving president Do you serve pride and ignorance or am I overreacting?. White guy replaces white guy Go back to real fact checked news please!. Chris Licht Expected To Lead CNN After Discovery-Warner Media Merger Chris Licht, the executive producer of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert who also launched Morning Joe on MSNBC, is poised to take over the reins of CNN after the Discovery-WarnerMedia merger clos…. Print Chris Licht, a veteran TV news executive and current showrunner for CBS’ “Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” is expected to be named president of CNN, filling the role of its ousted leader, Jeff Zucker.Discovery in a much-anticipated merger expected to take place in April, according to a person familiar with the matter.Axios on linkedin Axios on email Jeff Zucker (L) and Chris Licht attend the 2019 Mirror Awards in New York City.first by Puck News' Dylan Byers.. A representative for Discovery Inc. Puck previously reported the new deal, which is said to have been cemented by Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who lured Licht away from a growing development deal that Colbert and his senior team have put together with Paramount Global, CBS’ parent company.. Details: A longtime friend of Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Licht will be responsible for overseeing CNN's worldwide news division.

Chris Licht Officially Tapped as Next CNN Chief

In a note to CNN staff Monday, Zaslav said that CNN’s coverage of the war in Ukraine has been “extraordinary,” and that “the stewardship of this incredible organization is an amazing opportunity.”“I am confident you will love Chris, and that he is the next great leader to move CNN forward to even higher heights all around the world, and on every platform,” he added.. Discovery to Name Chris Licht to Run CNN Veteran news and late-night TV showrunner Chris Licht will lead CNN , people familiar with the matter said, as Discovery looks to steady a network roiled by the departure of its long-serving president Do you serve pride and ignorance or am I overreacting?. White guy replaces white guy Go back to real fact checked news please!. Chris Licht will be the new president of CNN Chris Licht , a veteran TV news executive and current showrunner for CBS’ “Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” is expected to be named president of CNN , filling the role of its ousted leader, Jeff Zucker wow that's a huge shift in right direction.. U.Chris Licht , a veteran producer who has overseen programs like MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and CBS’ “CBS This Morning” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” was named chairman and chief executive of CNN Global — a new name for the news operation once its parent, WarnerMedia, is acquired by .Discovery in a much-anticipated merger expected to take place in April, according to a person familiar with the matter.first by Puck News' Dylan Byers.. Licht joins WB Discovery from CBS, where he was executive vp of special programming and executive producer of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert .

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BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter live in New York.. There is so much media, there's so much media criticism, that it's very difficult for a White House to set a clear communication strategy, and see it breakthrough to the American people.. STELTER: The American people, the press.. They don't want to see women in positions of power or people of color in positions of power, or to see gay people and trans people live freely and openly.. So, all the talk about democracy and extremism in the Republican Party, a lot of people don't see it that way at all.. Donald Trump is, of course, been there for a long time, many Republicans are now echoing his lies, and when we see what the January 6 committee is laying out, not partisan in the slightest, Republican witnesses, Republican questioners, Republican members like Liz Cheney leading the divide, we can't shrink from identifying who is on the truth side and who is on the line side.. I do think, as a challenge to all of my colleagues in the media, one of the things we need to keep trying to do is to explain what the truth is, to do it in language that people can understand, to do in ways that help try to break through some of these bubbles that people live in.. What's his policy is, is that if you are showing the claim that Trump has made, the false claim he has made about the election, unless you immediately in that same video correct it or you have a disclaimer in it, then they are counting that whole video as spreading misinformation, even if it's clear that, you know, it's not you the producer of the video saying that.. And we're -- you're not going to bring more Americans, I don't think, more Americans who haven't already made up their mind on Trump.. And I think the risk of under-covering what people, independent and moderate people who've not made up their minds about who they would vote for next time based on inflation, the economy, those things, that's what -- I'm not saying the January 6 committee doesn't -- it certainly matters, and should be covered.. But I think people have decided how they feel about it and there a lot of other issues that certainly merit attention that people haven't totally made up their mind about yet.. STELTER: So, a related story, and one of the most interesting media stories of the week was about this place, about CNN.. STELTER: You say people are not taught that.. Because when you have an educational system that rarely has literature on people of color and you simultaneously rarely talk about racism and our children are being raised in an inequitable society where certain people with certain skin color are more likely to be impoverished or incarcerated, our kids are being taught that it must not be racism.. And we do a lot of shows about a lot of unusual people and families and subcultures and sort of lots of different people.

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