Why did CNN’s Star Media reporter and host of the show, Brian Stelter, authoritative source Shaw, got kicked out of his job this week?
There are two valid theories inside and outside CNNs.
But before we get there, let’s talk about why we’re talking about Brian Stelter. Yes, people in the media care too much about other people in the media.And media reporters like me are even more guilty of this. But in this case, what happened to Stelter is significant. Because it tells us a lot about the future of his one of the most powerful news outlets in the world, CNN, and Warner Bros. Discovery, the company that owns CNN and some of the world’s media. most valuable cultural assets.
That’s the preface. Here’s a theory. Importantly, they are not mutually exclusive.
it’s politics, stupid
This is interesting. In this version of events, Stelter is a victim of John Malone. John Malone is a billionaire cable mogul and Warner Bros. Discovery’s most powerful investor. Warner Bros. Discovery now owns CNN and what was formerly called Time. Warner.
While Malone’s politics lean heavily to the right/libertarian, he was also critical of Donald Trump during his administration. We believe that the view is completely colored by Fox News. “John Malone doesn’t watch CNN. John Malone only through Fox News does he watch CNN,” he says of the CNN employee. “If you watched CNN on Fox News, you would hate CNN, too.”
And Stelter, who spent much of the Trump era criticizing the American right’s embrace of disinformation, has been targeted by Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson, who were happy to satirize him. Then, after Stelter’s boss, Jeff Zucker, was kicked out in February, Stelter said he wanted CNN to be like Fox News because Fox News had “real journalism.” I chased after Malone.
When asked about the theory by The New York Times, Malone gave one of the most candid confessions you’ll ever see a public figure feign denial. “I want the ‘news’ part of CNN to be more neutral, but I have no control or direct involvement,” Malone said.
translation: yes this pleases me.
So in this theory, Malone thinks Stelter represents CNN’s over-reporting. But perhaps Malone and his manager, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, and Zucker’s replacement, Chris Licht, an executive Zaslav hired, said he would find other CNN journalists they want to air. I guess. Another theory: they made Stelter’s example of him so they don’t have to let anyone else go.
Again, they’ll probably have to let a lot of people go because of theory 2.
it’s money, idiot
As we wrote earlier this week, Warner Bros. Discovery has a lot of debt, but Zaslav told investors that it doesn’t matter, partly because it has $3 billion in savings.
We’ve already seen signs of budget cuts at the company’s entertainment venues. bat girl Release the movie instead of releasing it, laying it off at HBO Max — but there are more cuts slated for this fall. was easy to cut. His show was a big deal in the media world, along with his daily media his newsletter. … see this “Pet of the Day” post from David Zaslav. — but not a big draw for Normal.
Under Zaslav/Licht, CNN has already made one significant cut. CNN+’s new streaming service, CNN+, was discontinued after a few weeks of launch (disclosure: my editors and I are producers of shows created for CNN+ by Vox Media).
But that may not be close enough to help the parent company hit that figure. Spend less time worrying about your ability to deliver top-notch news coverage.
CNN says both of these theories are wrong: Licht kicked out Stelter and authoritative source Because we need another show on Sunday morning. Also, CNN spokesman Matt Dornic told me the news service is under no pressure from new owners to lay off staff.
Again, there are certainly ways to reduce costs while adding people. Let go of expensive people and replace them with cheap people.
I hate to say “wait and see” at the end of a story like this. But this is where we need to see how it works. First of all, Stelter’s last show is Sunday. The only thing I’m sure of is that he wants to use the swan song to talk about all this.