This week, a few intriguing tendencies in journalism surfaced as the disastrous House Speaker race took center stage in headlines and network news coverage. The Wall Street Journal named C-SPAN the winner of the week because of its newly acquired ability to broadcast live from the House floor, but CNN has established a name for itself recently because to the more than 42 Republican House members who have been on the network.
Their manners weren’t always with them when they arrived. Rep. Troy Nehls (R-WI) referred to CNN’s Erin Burnett as a “young lady” and referred to CNN as the “Clinton News Network” on Thursday night. I presume when you called me a young lady it was a compliment, Burnett, 46, retorted coolly.
In response, Nehls said, “Of course it was. I’ve never appeared on the Clinton News Network before. Absolutely.”
“All right, I will admit that I thought it was a little rude. But I’m delighted you’re talking to me, and I’ll treat you respectfully,” Burnett retorted, giving a lesson in how to deal with a difficult visitor.
Burnett, who has a renowned background as an international field reporter and has presented her program abroad from Afghanistan to Ukraine, seemed to embody Chris Licht’s new vision for CNN, which is to prioritize reporting over politics.
As Licht fired a number of well-known hosts, many of whom were well-known for being vocal opponents of the Trump administration, in a move to shed the network’s #Resistance brand built up during the Zucker years, critics last October accused CNN of drifting to the right.
When the discussion reached its peak in mid-September, CNN issued a statement to the Hill, which covered the concerns.
CNN is not adopting a centrist stance or moving to the right, a representative for the network told The Hill. “We are completely focused on our core competency and our mission, which is to present objective journalism in a fair and engaging manner. We’ll keep taking note of various experiences and worldviews. No matter where they come from, we will always defend democracy and expose lies. Journalism, not centrism, is what that is.
As CNN turned to Republicans to tell their own story, it looks that Licht’s vision has come to pass. 42 GOP members, and counting, have agreed to appear on the network to talk about internal party strife.
Additionally, CNN was able to secure interviews with conservative rank-and-file members who provided insights and policy viewpoints beyond the bombastic rhetoric in addition to bomb-throwing GOP lawmakers who are making headlines by defying Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
As the week wore on, CNN increased the proportion of Republican House members who appeared on camera. The network featured 6 on Tuesday, and 10 on Wednesday, featuring a spectrum of viewpoints from hardliner Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) to moderate Rep. David Joyce (R-OH). By the end of Thursday, CNN had interviewed 23 GOP House members, and as of Friday morning, 8 more were scheduled.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) made a spectacular visit on MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle in recent days, making CNN not the only cable news network to host more Republicans.
In response to earlier charges that CNN assisted in propelling Donald Trump into the White House in 2016, Licht emphasized in mid-November the significance of not merely covering the “noise” surrounding the loudest voices in American politics.
He makes sure that whatever he does receives a lot of attention as part of his strategy so that when he slips in anything really significant, like a coup, it appears to be noise. And I don’t want us to fall prey to it, either,” Licht said, alluding to Trump.
In the critical 25-54 age category on Tuesday, CNN won many hours of coverage, besting both Fox News and MSNBC, as a result of its coverage strategy of the House Speaker saga. Additionally, CNN’s midday news program ratings have witnessed a huge increase, and the network is now inching closer to MSNBC in terms of total daytime viewers, even if Fox News opinion hosts continue to dominate the ratings in terms of overall viewers.
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