Liberty Media President Praises Fox, Scolds CNN For “Really Journalists” Following AT & T-Discovery Merger
Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, who sits on Discovery Communications Inc.’s board of directors, wants left-wing CNN to revert to non-partisan journalism after a merger is finalized that would place the liberal network under the Discovery umbrella .
âI would love to see CNN go back to the kind of journalism it started with, and have reporters, which would be unique and refreshing,â Malone said in an interview that aired Thursday on CNBC.
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CNN’s current lineup includes a variety of shows – including âNew Day,â âAnderson Cooper 360,â âCuomo Prime Timeâ and âDon Lemon Tonightâ that don’t always match the bare bones of founder Ted Turner, just the- factual approach to journalism.
Earlier this year, AT&T Inc. agreed to merge its WarnerMedia division with Discovery Communications Inc., creating a streaming giant to compete with Disney + and Netflix from Walt Disney Co. The deal is expected to be finalized in 2022.
CNN, which struggled to attract viewers during Biden’s day, has long been sold because it clearly didn’t fit into the streaming world. However, Malone would prefer to keep him and rehabilitate his reputation.
âI think a coward’s solution would be to sell it or hijack it and then say it in a tax-efficient way,â Malone said. “I think good journalism could play a role in this future portfolio that Discovery-TimeWarner will represent.”
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Discovery CEO David Zaslav will lead the combined company called Warner Bros. Discovery and he publicly pledged to keep CNN after the merger. While Malone is okay with keeping CNN, he is aware that others might not agree.
âI’m just a voice here,â said Malone.
He also praised Fox News, specifically targeting Bret Baier and Brit Hume.
âFox News, in my opinion, has followed an interesting trajectory of trying to have ‘news’, I mean real journalism, built into an all-opinion agenda,â he said.
CNN has built a reputation as a left-wing opinion network that bills itself as a direct news operation and has therefore struggled to be relevant. It recently ended October with its smallest monthly audience among weekday viewers and the key prime-time adult 25-54 demographic since 2014, as every weekday program on CNN ended with an annual low in both categories.
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CNN’s most popular program for the news-rich month was the “Cuomo Prime Time” scandal, which averaged 811,000 nightly viewers to finish behind 15 Fox News programs and seven MSNBC programs. Despite being the most popular show on CNN, âCuomo Prime Timeâ had its worst month since launching in 2017.
Fox News topped CNN by over 240% in prime-time viewers and 150% in prime-time demo to end with its biggest win on the Liberal Network since 2014. In addition to struggling for hearing, CNN was faced with serious scandals and embarrassing controversies. including legal analysts in the infamous Zoom incident of Jeffrey Toobin and Chris Cuomo being named in a state investigation as part of a team of outside confidants and loyal to his big brother – the former governor of New York Andrew Cuomo – who helped build a culture that allowed governor’s ‘sexual harassment’ conduct to ‘flourish’.
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Jonathan Garber of Fox Business contributed to this report.