Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, who sits on the board of Discovery Communications Inc., wants to see the left wing CNN return to party political journalism after implementation of a merger it would put the liberal network under the Discovery umbrella.
“I would love to see CNN evolve back into the kind of journalism it started with, and actually have journalists, which would be unique and refreshing,” Malone said in an interview. aired Thursday on CNBC.
CNN’s current schedule features a variety of shows – including “New Day,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” “Cuomo Prime Time” and “Don Lemon Tonight,” which do not always match the bare bones of founder Ted Turner. factual access to journalism.
Earlier this year, AT&T Inc. agreed in merging its WarnerMedia division with Discovery Communications Inc., creating a streaming giant to compete with Walt Disney Co.’s Disney + and Netflix. The agreement is expected to be completed in 2022.
CNN, which has struggled to attract viewers in the Biden era, has long been rumored to be sold as it is not a clear fit to the streaming world. Malone, however, would prefer to keep it and restore its reputation.
“I think a coward’s way out would be to sell it or separate it and then tell it in a tax-efficient way,” Malone said. “I think good journalism can play a role in this future portfolio that Discovery-TimeWarner will represent.”
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Discovery CEO David Zaslav will lead the combined company called Warner Bros. Discovery, and he has publicly committed to retain CNN after the merger. While Malone is helping to keep CNN, he is aware that others may not agree.
“I’m only one voice here,” Malone said.
He also praised Fox News, highlighting in particular Bret Baier and Brit Hume.
“Fox News has, in my opinion, followed an interesting path of trying to have ‘news’ news, I mean some actual journalism, embedded in a program with all opinions,” he said.
CNN has developed a reputation as a left-leaning opinion network that bills itself as a direct news operation and has fought for relevance as a result. It ended recently in October with its smallest monthly audience among both viewers in total on weekdays and the main demographic primetime demographic for adults ages 25-54 since 2014, as each weekday program on CNN ended with an annual low in both categories.
CNN’s most popular program of the news-heavy month was the scandal-ridden “Cuomo Prime Time,” which averaged 811,000 viewers a night ended behind 15 Fox News and seven MSNBC programs. Despite being the most popular program on CNN, “Cuomo Prime Time” had its worst month since its launch in 2017.
Fox News topped CNN with more than 240% in primetime viewers and 150% among primetime demos to end with its biggest win over the Liberal Network since 2014. In addition to viewer battles, CNN has been confronted with serious embarrassing scandals and controversies including legal analysts Jeffrey Toobin’s infamous Zoom incident and Chris Cuomo, who in a state investigation was named as a member of a team of outside, loyal confidants to his big brother – former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – who contributed to a culture that allowed the governor’s “sexually harassing behavior” to flourish.”
Fox Business’ Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.