A new report indicates Chris Licht, the new boss at CNN, is evaluating whether or not certain on-air talent like Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter are too partisan for the network as they try to adapt new ‘values.’
Licht, according to multiple sources that spoke with Axios, “is evaluating whether personalities and programming that grew polarizing during the Trump era can adapt to the network’s new priority to be less partisan.”
If these personalities are unable to adapt, to provide respectful interviews “that don’t feel like PR stunts,” the report states, “they could be ousted.”
“To conservative critics,” Axios writes, “some on-air personalities, like Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter, have become the face of the network’s liberal shift.”
While not specifically stating those two are on the chopping block, it’s curious that the outlet does name names in their report.
🚨 SCOOP @sarafischer @axios:
CNN’s Chris Licht scrutinizes talent for partisan tone … monitoring anchors including Jim @Acosta, @brianstelter to see if they can comport w new style — no interviews that look like stunts
Those who can’t may get canned https://t.co/i01vTgZ4Op
— Mike Allen (@mikeallen) June 7, 2022
RELATED: Chaos: Brian Stelter Accuses Chris Cuomo Of Trying To ‘Burn Down’ CNN, Insider Demands Stelter Be Fired
CNN CEO Chris Licht Could Oust Brian Stelter, Jim Acosta
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Axios is quick to note that the network isn’t seeking to shift away from personality and opinion programming completely – especially during primetime – but Chris Licht “wants to ensure that partisan voices don’t dominate in a way that harms CNN.”
It will be interesting to see how much their past resumes will affect future performance.
The specifically cited reporter Jim Acosta spent his entire tenure as White House correspondent during the Trump administration trying to create viral moments and score points with CNN’s liberal viewership rather than actually engage in journalism.
Steve Krakauer, a one-time senior digital producer for CNN, has blasted Acosta for delivering “continued kayfabe” and described him as “self-serving” and someone who “give(s) all good journalists a bad name.”
Truly an embarrassment, on multiple levels. Jim Acosta’s self-serving antics give all good journalists a bad name. https://t.co/TarlLVZ3RZ
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) June 29, 2018
RELATED: CNN’s Jim Acosta Mocked Over Claim That Covering Trump Was A ‘Non-Stop National Emergency’
A New Direction
Brian Stelter had made his own mark as a partisan media ‘hall monitor’ whose obsession with Fox News would have made celebrity stalker John Hinckley blush.
His situation may be even more tenuous due to his squawking defense of former network President Jeff Zucker, who resigned for engaging in a ‘secret’ affair with a subordinate.
Stelter was such a trooper for his former boss that he donned some war paint and went after disgraced former anchor Chris Cuomo, accusing him of trying to “burn down” the network.
STELTER: Andrew Cuomo Was Going To Reveal ‘Incriminating Evidence’ About Jeff Zucker pic.twitter.com/bExdlP7qA9
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 2, 2022
Stelter’s accusation led to one CNN insider suggesting he should be fired for not reporting on Zucker’s relationship when it was known throughout the network as an “open secret.”
“The network needs to step up and fire Brian Stelter,” the insider reportedly said at the time. “He is allegedly our top media reporter – yet he failed to report on the scoop that everyone in the office knew. And if he wants to say he didn’t know, he is truly terrible at his job.”
“Brian Stelter should be calling his agent to start looking for another job,” another source told the Daily Mail. “He’s been Jeff Zucker’s water boy for years and no one believes he didn’t know about all of this.”
Do you know who else thinks Stelter is ‘truly terrible at his job’? Popular podcaster Joe Rogan.
Rogan mocked the CNN personality for an especially embarrassing interview in which Stelter fawned over former White House Press Secretary Jan Psaki and asked what the media gets wrong in covering the Biden administration.
Joe Rogan destroys CNN’s Brian Stelter: “You’re supposed to be a journalist!” https://t.co/a4cdnDYDwc pic.twitter.com/mRGm55AGyw
— Not the Bee (@Not_the_Bee) June 18, 2021
“How about Brian Stelter talking to the press secretary, ‘What are we doing wrong? What are we doing wrong?’” critiqued Rogan. “Like, hey motherf***er, you’re supposed to be a journalist.”
Perhaps not for much longer if Chris Licht starts cleaning house.
Axios notes that Licht’s desire as a new boss is to dial back “on partisan and alarmist programming in favor of traditional journalism.”
He’s going to have to clear out a lot more people than Stelter and Acosta to transform the network’s terrible reputation.
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