‘Promising’: Musk warms to new CNN programming plan featuring ‘less hype, more nuance’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk finds CNN’s proposed programming plan that touts more nuance and less hype “promising,” giving his tentative nod to nixing “breaking news” banners and biased coverage.

The CNN network has been engulfed in uncertainty since its highly promoted CNN+ streaming service failed spectacularly during its merger with Warner Bros./Discovery. In the wake of that historic media catastrophe, CNN’s new chief executive Chris Licht has devised a groundbreaking plan going forward.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that Licht wants CNN to focus more on “nuance” rather than “hype.”

“A month into his tenure as the new leader of CNN, Chris Licht is changing the news network from the Jeff Zucker days, encouraging less hype and more nuance. Some at the network are skeptical,” the media outlet declared on Twitter.

“This sounds promising,” Musk tweeted in response to the report.

Licht made it clear from the moment he came on board that he plans to do things differently at the network. One of those items deals with CNN’s “breaking news” banner.

“CNN’s ubiquitous ‘Breaking News’ banner is gone, now reserved for instances of truly urgent events,” the New York Times reported. “Snarky onscreen captions … are discouraged. Political shows are trying to book more conservative voices, and producers have been urged to ignore Twitter backlash from the far right and the far left.”

According to a new entry in the CNN standards guide, a CNN story must qualify as “‘stop what you are doing and watch’ news” to warrant the “Breaking News” label. Even then, the label should only appear on screen for one hour, unless it involves an unfolding live story.

“Its impact has become lost on the audience,” Licht wrote in a newsroom-wide memo on Thursday, adding that CNN should be “focused on informing, not alarming our viewers.”

Licht previously worked for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” and has now gone from a show with 200 workers under his direction to running a major network with more than 4,000 employees.

In light of that fact, “some CNN journalists say they wonder if he can navigate a sprawling, unwieldy global news network past what has been a no good, very bad year,” according to the Times.

CNN has been plagued by scandals over the last year. Its top anchor Chris Cuomo was fired over so-called “ethical lapses,” advising his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) during his own scandals dealing with sexual harassment and the pandemic. Cuomo could potentially receive millions in a settlement over his dismissal.

Then, just before CNN+ was to hit the big time, CNN’s former head Jeff Zucker announced his resignation over an undisclosed relationship with employee Allison Gollust which many contend was an open secret. Shortly after Zucker exited stage left, Gollust followed him out the door. Both will be the recipients of plump severance packages and legal settlements via the network.

“I’m not here to get into the weeds of day-to-day editorial decision-making,” Licht told employees on his first day at the network according to the New York Times. He proclaimed that CNN will “challenge the traditional philosophy of cable news.”

“I am going to make decisions slower than some would like,” Licht wrote in his memo. “I know this organization has been through tremendous change over the last four months, which is why I am approaching this process slowly and thoughtfully as we look at all parts of the operation.”

Licht told advertisers last month, “At a time where extremes are dominating cable news, we will seek to go a different way.”

At a recent meeting in Washington with producers and journalists, Licht reportedly commented that he wanted to book more Republicans and conservatives on political shows to offer a wider range of viewpoints according to the news outlet.

Many conservatives did not share Musk’s optimistic view of CNN’s resurrection:

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