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Tipsheet

Do News or Get Canned: New CNN Boss 'Evaluating' Stelter, Acosta

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Three CNN sources tell Axios that new network boss Chris Licht is "evaluating" the channel's talent to gauge their ability to do...news...rather than the partisan hackery CNN hosts have become infamous for even as their ratings tank. "If talent cannot adjust to a less partisan tone and strategy, they could be ousted," the scoop reports. 

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Apparently, "Licht wants to give personalities that may appear polarizing a chance to prove they're willing to uphold the network's values so that they don't tarnish CNN's journalism brand," although CNN's "journalism" has not exactly been sterling, to put things kindly. 

"For on-air talent, that includes engaging in respectful interviews that don't feel like PR stunts," Axios' report explains — presumably that means no more Avenatti-level groveling. "For producers and bookers, that includes making programming decisions that are focused on nuance, not noise." Seems like CNN's employees have an uphill climb to make. 

CNN, which didn't respond to Axios' request for comment on the evaluation set to take place, is seemingly trying to find some steady ground again to start rebuilding its brand as a news organization rather than a resistance-to-Trump channel.

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.

Licht took the helm at CNN last month, shortly after longtime CNN president Jeff Zucker exited the network in scandal.

His priorities are widely seen as aligned with the leadership of CNN parent Warner Bros. Discovery.

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And, as Townhall reported last week, CNN recently added new guidance to limit the number of segments or stories labeled "breaking news."

But CNN as anything but a progressive shill channel seems like something of an outlet without an audience. The network's coverage of Russia's war in Ukraine has shown some of CNN's roots — the sort of hard news that made it a reputable brand before it trended left and more or less lost its way. But if it becomes more of a straight news channel with personality-driven prime time shows, it's hard to imagine there being much of an audience there. 

The progressives who consume CNN won't tolerate fair coverage, and conservatives have been burned by CNN enough to never go back. The middle lane is pretty empty these days, but if CNN wants to make a play for the center, it'll be fun to watch who gets on the same page as CNN's new boss and who doesn't make the cut. 

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