Note: This article may contain commentary reflecting the author's opinion.

A New York Times expose released Sunday outlined just how difficult the job of CNN CEO Chris Licht has become as he attempts to shift the network away from left-wing partisan reporting to a more moderate outlook.

Licht, who took over CNN earlier this year, began his tenure at CNN by dissolving CNN+, the network’s fledgling streaming service, as the network faced decreasing numbers following the start of the Biden Administration. 

CNN was repeatedly pitted against former President Donald Trump as the source of “fake news” and as a purely biased, partisan outlet. Throughout the Trump Administration, CNN did take that approach as being hostile to the former president. However, once Trump was out of the picture, the network’s audience fled.

It became so bad for CNN, it was surpassed by MSNBC for the first time which led Licht to announce a number of changes at the company, alongside job cuts. In response to the changes, leftists have criticized the CEO with Keith Olbermann calling Licht a “TV Fascist,” according to the New York Times.

“The uninformed vitriol, especially from the left, has been stunning,” Licht told the Times. “Which proves my point: So much of what passes for news is name-calling, half-truths, and desperation.”


Licht has attempted to shift CNN back into a slot in the middle of the political aisle as he and other high-level executives see Fox News and MSNBC as “advocacy” networks.

The CNN CEO told the New York Times that he wants to appeal to normal, everyday Americans. “One of the biggest misconceptions about my vision is that I want to be vanilla, that I want to be centrist. That is bulls—,” the former late-night show producer explained to the Financial Times in November, per the New York Post. “You have to be compelling. You have to have edge.”

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Licht hopes that the CNN office will have an environment where employees can have “rational conversations about polarizing issues.” Additionally, he dreams that the creation of that environment is translated to viewers who would be able to “take what they’ve heard to the dinner table and have a discussion.”

The CNN newcomer has a lot of difficult decisions in his path ahead and CNN is likely to continue to suffer unless it can successfully revamp its image into one that is not purely biased in one direction. 

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