Trump on deck is 'financial lifeline' to CNN, other struggling networks

Trump on deck is 'financial lifeline' to CNN, other struggling networks

CNN CEO Chris Licht announced the layoffs on November 30, 2022, calling the process a 'gut punch.'

Trump on deck is 'financial lifeline' to CNN, other struggling networks

Recent layoffs at CNN are more likely a money decision than a shift toward objectivity in how the network reports the news, says a media watchdog.

The carnage continues at CNN. Hundreds of layoffs last week, from the mail room to upper management, shook up the flailing network as new CNN boss Chris Licht called the layoffs a "gut punch." Robin Meade, the network's anchor of Headline News since 9/11, is gone; Atlanta correspondent Martin Savidge, who started with Ted Turner, is out; even some senior vice presidents got the axe.

Curtis Houck of Media Research Center says any outlet that is hemorrhaging money like CNN should expect some deep cuts.

Houck, Curtis (MRC) Houck

"As of now, based off [what] we've seen thus far, [these layoffs at CNN] are clearly from a business perspective," Houck tells AFN. "[They're] no different than layoffs you've seen at major newspapers like the ones we've seen simultaneously at Gannett."

But he says some of those who were let go could be seen as a nod toward pulling CNN to the political center. Political commentator Chris Cillizza was one of those.

"If CNN is committed to turning the car around in terms of objectivity and coming back towards reality, that's the kind of guy that I think most people would say, Yeah, he's got to go," Houck shares.

But with a couple notable exceptions, CNN has not made the shift to the right – and it continues to be stuck in the ratings cellar, trailing rivals Fox News and MSNBC in total viewership this year (according to ratings data from Nielsen).

But Houck contends the return of Donald Trump to the public scene is "a huge boon" to networks like CNN. "I mean, it is a massive financial lifeline to them," he adds.

According to the New York Post, last week's layoffs affected no more than 10% of CNN's staff of approximately 4,400 employees.