Why does corporate wokeness persist? One answer is that the personal cost for trying to get rid of it is too high. It’s easier for most executives to embrace it than it is to fight it. As Discovery is discovering.
The attempt to turn around CNN was taken on by Chris Licht, according to him, convinced that, he “could make CNN a news channel that people trusted, as opposed to one that monetized partisan combat.”
Somehow he’s confused as why he’s so hated for trying to upend a reliable, albeit faltering, model.
“The uninformed vitriol, especially from the left, has been stunning,” Mr. Licht said in one of several interviews with The New York Times spanning his nearly eight-month tenure. “Which proves my point: so much of what passes for news is name-calling, half-truths and desperation.”
Well, who did he think was going to hate him?
Conservatives already hate CNN, but they also have nothing invested in it. Leftists do. A spurned partner is going to be much more obsessive than a pre-existing enemy.
At their first meeting, Mr. Zaslav argued that running CNN would be “a great opportunity to build the No. 1 news brand in the world,” and “the most trusted brand in news where people go every day and in a crisis for the best version of the truth.”
And more than that: “This is important for America. It’s important for a functioning society.”
Someone should have asked whether there’s even such a concept of a “trusted brand of news”. This seems to be a kind of warmed-over nostalgia for Cronkite sand castles. The Left has largely discarded any such notion as anything except agitprop. Liberals trying to rebuild it will need more to work with than that.
Objective journalism is a big ask in a culture where such a thing is outright forbidden at the journalism school level and where major percentages of the younger generation doesn’t even know the concept.
Licht keeps saying that he wants to have on people with different perspectives. That’s not really a trusted brand of news, but it’s openness. And Licht’s version of CNN is better than Zucker’s tabloid resistance version. Even if that’s about as low a bar as anything could be. But any kind of cable news network model is doomed. And the Left will be more than happy to blame CNN’s troubles on a refusal to go hard leftward.