Is CNN leaning more to the right? Yes.
What should we do about it? Boycott.
Ever since CNN was bought out by Warner Brother’s Discovery, there has been a significant shift in the traditionally neo-liberal news organization’s coverage. The once ostensibly left-leaning corporation is shifting to a more “neutral voice” for its news coverage, featuring “less opinionated takes,” from its hosts. I can only imagine they mean such controversial options as ‘elected officials shouldn’t lie to their constituents,’ or ‘fascism is bad.’
The changes first started as the American threat to democracy that is the current GOP lost federal power in the 2020 election, causing CNN ratings to plummet. This drop in profits and viewership caused a shakeup of CNN executives and the merger with CNN wathe installment of CNN chief executive David Zaslav, who has said that he wants a network for “both Republicans and Democrats.”
Even acknowledging Trump’s over 30,000 lies in office, or referring to his coup attempt to violently invalidate the 2020 election results as the “Big Lie,” is now taboo in the new hyper-centrist CNN as per an internal memo by new chief executive Chris Licht.
For clarity: CNN is owned by AT&T, which is also the parent company of far-right news network OAN – which pushes misinformation and partisan “journalism” harder than any other major news network.. According to sworn testimony by an OAN accountant, 90% of OAN’s revenue came from contracts with AT&T-owned television broadcasters like Direct TV.
When your parent company is largely responsible for shifting the Overton window so far right it’s literally created different realities, and you actively benefit from sowing their division, it’s a little absurd to claim you’re also going to be the one to bring them together.
In November 2021, Warner Bros. Discovery shareholder John Malone told CNBC he wanted CNN to “evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with” – meaning being the first to introduce a 24-hour, for-profit news cycle. So yeah, I guess you can say they’re going back to their roots of caring more about whatever’s most profitable than providing their viewers with accurate, non-sensationalized reporting.
This money-grab move is transparent to everyone, including the former fascist-in-chief himself who claimed on his social media site “Truth Social,” which sounds like something straight out of a dystopian novel, that if CNN “ever went conservative, they would be an absolute gold mine, and [he] would help them do so.”
If that isn’t a clear call to action, I don’t know what is.
The network’s new approach has catalyzed the resignation of several high-profile talking heads, including GOP critics Brian Stelter, Jeffrey Toobin, and John Harwood; who announced he was leaving the network a day after he called Trump was leaving the republican party as a “Dishonest Demagogue” – a generous and forgiving title in my eyes.
Harwood’s resignation is has reignited a movement to boycott CNN that first launched after Stelter walked out of the news network in August after Licht canceled his media show Reliable Sources, the network’s longest-running program.
Feel’s a little on the nose, doesn’t it? Canceling a show called Reliable Sources.
Thousands of people from all corners of the internet have called for a boycott of CNN. “Stop sharing CNN articles. Even if they break the news, find another media outlet/independent source that’s running the story,” said one user. “Don’t reward a corrupt network that rakes in revenue by propping up a Fascist regime.”
But it’s not just fringe accounts making this call. Even Jon Cooper, former finance chair for Barack Obama and self-proclaimed “devout CNN viewer” tweeted, “I decided to #BoycottCNN as soon as the network began its shift to the right…If I wanted to watch right-wing propaganda, I’d watch Fox.”
We should all take Coopers lead. If CNN wants to follow Trump’s lead and become a “gold mine” then we should leave them with an abandoned mine shaft, where all they’ll find is fools gold and a crumbling infrastructure.