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Axios Journalist Who Previously Worked for CNN Reports That CNN Is 'Hard News' Alternative to Fox, MSNBC

AP Photo/Ron Harris

Axios media reporter Sara Fischer on Tuesday morning covered the recent hires made by CNN, Fox News and MSNBC but claimed that her former employer, CNN, was shifting toward "hard news gathering" while its two cable news competitors were moving toward either side of the political aisle.


The Axios report came out shortly after a similar report from CNN's Brian Stelter was published Monday night. Fischer, notably, previously worked for Stelter on his Sunday morning media show, "Reliable Sources," which the Axios reporter still frequently appears on as a guest.

On Monday, Fox News announced that anchor Jesse Watters had been promoted and will host the network's open 7 p.m. timeslot and MSNBC revealed it was bringing on Vice President Kamala Harris' former chief spokeswoman Symone Sanders. And CNN hired Audie Cornish from NPR the same day in what both Fischer and Stelter said was a move toward hard news reporting over the partisan commentary direction of its competitors.

The report from Fischer mirrored Stelter's and included additional commentary from the CNN article about how the network is becoming less opinionated than Fox and MSNBC.

"While CNN appears to be pushing aggressively into lifestyle and hard news programming for its new streaming service CNN+, MSNBC and Fox News are doubling down on partisan voices," Fischer wrote.

And Stelter wrote that "CNN, MSNBC and Fox all made programming announcements that doubled as statements about each network's positioning in the news and talk marketplace" before later adding that CNN "did something different" than the other networks when it announced Cornish's hiring.

Fischer's report claimed that Watters' promotion was an indication that Fox News was moving further to the right toward its "pro-Trump viewership" while MSNBC was becoming more progressive as a result of the Sanders acquisition and the 2020 move to have Joy Reid anchor its 7 p.m. chair.


Meanwhile, Stelter said Fox News dove further into "right-wing talk" with its promotion of "the jocular and vehemently anti-Biden commentator Jesse Watters" and that MSNBC went in an "opposite direction politically" but a "similar direction conceptually" in its hiring of Sanders.

The two reports also both touched on what Chris Wallace leaving Fox News for CNN's streaming service, CNN+, meant for each network. Fischer wrote that Wallace's departure was "seen as a major loss for Fox's news division and a signal of the direction the network is moving toward" while Stelter said that "the recent spate of hires for CNN+ have been capital-J journalists like Chris Wallace."

Fischer has appeared as a guest on "Reliable Sources" for at least seven different segments on three different broadcasts in the latter half of 2021.

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