CNN’s past scandals are exposed as it tries to rebrand itself as the most objective news source in America.
CNN has been in the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons. A new poll published by YouGov found that CNN is now the most polarizing news source in America, with a 92-point difference between the net trust of Democrats and Republicans in the network. MSNBC follows closely behind with a 91-point difference, and the New York Times with an 82-point difference.
Despite recent changes to fix its partisan reputation, including firing longtime anchor Don Lemon, CNN’s ratings have hit an all-time low. The network averages 178,000 viewers in the key 25-to-54 demographic, down 63% from a year ago.
Under CEO Chris Licht, CNN is undergoing rapid change, seeking to row away from overt political partisanship and back to objective reporting. Licht wants the outlet to focus more on objective reporting than the partisan commentary it became known for throughout the Trump administration. He has directed network anchors and producers to stop using the phrase “The Big Lie” to describe attempts to overturn the result of the 2020 election – in part because it’s a Democratic party catchphrase. Licht prefers the more specific “Trump’s lie” or “lies about the election.”
CNN’s new direction was signaled by its recent announcement that it will broadcast a town hall with former President Donald Trump. The move aims to jumpstart the relationship that Trump used to have with the network. Trump’s team said “CNN executives made a compelling pitch.”
After the announcement many prominent individuals came out strongly against the Trump townhall.
The network is also facing revenue losses due to lower ratings. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Kagan, CNN’s net advertising revenue fell 2% last year. To address this issue, Licht is considering seeking brand sponsorships to sponsor segments on CNN shows.
The reformist effort comes as CNN faces an identity crisis after the Trump presidency. Trump had famously dubbed CNN as the “Fake News Network,” and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper had called him “an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun.”
However, CNN’s attempt to rebrand itself as the most objective news source in America may not be easy. The network is under pressure from cable-TV distributors to drop politically contentious cable channels, and DirecTV has already dropped One America News Network, the conservative channel criticized for spreading misinformation.
The effort to turn CNN away from being the story to reporting it comes amid a huge split within journalism and within newsrooms about how to respond to this moment. CNN’s reformist effort is seeking to reflect the real lives of its viewers and elevate the way America and the world views this medium.
CNN has been facing a crisis of identity, with its polarizing reputation as the most partisan news source in America. Despite recent changes under CEO Chris Licht to fix its partisan reputation, including firing longtime anchor Don Lemon, the network’s ratings have hit an all-time low. Now, CNN is undergoing a rapid change, seeking to row away from overt political partisanship and back to objective reporting.
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