New CNN boss Chris Licht reportedly nudged producers to avoid describing former President Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen as “the big lie” – a move that comes as top brass drive a shift toward neutral news coverage.

Licht, who took over as CNN’s president earlier this year and is driving an overhaul at the left-leaning network, revealed his preference during a conference call with show executive producers and management on Tuesday, Mediaite reported.

The CNN president suggested that shows should instead refer to Trump’s disproven claims as “Trump election lie” or “election lies.” Licht asserted that using the phrase “the big lie” essentially parroted the Democratic Party’s “branding” and hurt CNN’s objectivity when covering the topic.

CNN representatives did not immediately return a request for comment on the report.

Licht purportedly told the producers that his stance did not constitute a mandate for CNN’s shows – which are in the midst of covering the ongoing Jan. 6 select committee hearings on the events surrounding last year’s Capitol riot.

Licht reportedly wants to stop CNN from calling Trump's election claims "the big lie."
Licht reportedly wants to stop CNN from calling Trump’s election claims “the big lie.”
AP

Still, Licht’s remarks reportedly have upset some employees at the network ahead of a highly anticipated CNN town hall on Thursday.

“It’s worrisome that we’re being told how to talk about one of the worst things that ever happened to American democracy,” a source described as a CNN insider told the outlet. “We have to call lies, lies, whether they’re small lies or big lies. Is there any lie bigger than that lie?”

The apparent discord is the latest sign of brewing change at CNN since ex-president Jeff Zucker was ousted for failing to properly disclose his relationship with a subordinate.

In May, Licht circulated a memo to staffers declaring that “too many people have lost trust in news media” and declaring that CNN staffers would be “advocates for the truth” in the future.

“I think we can be a beacon in regaining that trust by being an organization that exemplifies the best characteristics of journalism: fearlessly speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo, questioning ‘group-think,’ and educating viewers and readers with straightforward facts and insightful commentary, while always being respectful of differing viewpoints,” Licht wrote in the memo.

Licht is also reportedly monitoring CNN’s top anchors – including personalities such as Brian Stelter and Jim Acosta – to see if they can adhere to the network’s new emphasis on less partisan coverage. Anchors who can’t adjust to CNN’s directional shift could be forced out.

Brian Stelter
Brian Stelter is reportedly under scrutiny at CNN.
Getty Images for CNN

In addition, Licht has directed CNN producers to dial down the network’s use of network’s use of “breaking news” banners during live coverage — a tactic that was embraced under Zucker’s watch.

“We are truth-tellers, focused on informing, not alarming our viewers,” Licht said in another memo obtained by Axios.



Source link

About Author

Tyler Cowan