Harwood, longtime reporter for the Wall Street Journal, joined in network in January 2020, after serving as Chief Washington Correspondent for CNBC from 2006 to 2019. According to two people with knowledge of situation, Harwood still had time on his CNN contract, which suggests that network Brass decided to end his tenure early.
Representatives for CNN declined to comment on in reason for his departure. “We appreciate John work covering the White House, and we wish him everything best,” They said in statement.
Like a reporter who frequently conducted political analysis, Harwood was regular presence on on the network who was “clearly in-demand through shows” one — CNN insider was surprised.
His departure follows the sudden departure of head of CNN media Correspondent, Brian Stelter, Presenter of weekly media news show “Reliable Sources”, aired for three decades until it was canceled last month. Like Harwood, Stelter had time on his contract. Another longtime CNN commentator is legal-affairs expert Jeffrey Toobin, announced his departure on 12th of August.
Several current as well as former CNN staff who spoke with The Washington Post is the most of who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak frankly – interpret the sudden exodus as evidence that Licht, who joined in network as chairman and CEO in Mei starts her tenure with a casting call out voices that are often critical of former President Donald Trump And His Allies, in attempt to present new, more ideologically neutral CNN. It levels with a vision repeatedly expressed by David Zaslav, Managing Director of Warner Bros. Discovery.
Zaslav hired Licht to replace Jeff Zucker, network’s ousted longtime leader. who encouraged an earlier tonal shift at CNN, allowing networkstars to vent more emotions and opinion.
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“People are scared out,” said one CNN journalist. “It almost seems like there is a pattern. Is there a purge on? They seem to be sending a message: “Watch what you say. Watch what you’re doing.”
Licht publicly gave little guidance about new mission for CNN, leaving some employees feeling out of place. “Longtime CNN personalities are disappearing and viewers are not know why,” another CNN insider told CNN, noting that Licht didn’t hire many new votes to replace them.
Vocal commentary by Harwood set him, apart from many of his colleagues at CNN. In his final reporting Friday morning’s appearance, Harwood called Trump a “dishonest demagogue” when discussing President Biden’s speech from Philadelphia the night before. Harwood added what is the “highlight” of Biden’s speech, which claimed that Trump and his supporters are a threat to democracy, “is true”.
Harwood acknowledged on-air that his own statement deviated from the conventions of traditional journalism. “They bring us up believe that there are two different political parties with another points of view and we don’t take sides in sincere differences between them,” he said. “But that’s not what we’re talking about. These are not fair disagreements.”
Harwood comment looked like a deliberatelast volley,” said Wajahat Ali, a politician. commentator who worked as a correspondent for CNN in 2019 and 2020. “I don’t think it was an accident,” Ali said.
Ali suggested that forced departures of Stelter and Harwood will send a message to other CNN reporters that they should curb your political analysis for fear of crossing the line in opinion risk of to lose the “great job everyone wants”.
Licht told CNN staff he hoped to see more Visiting Republican politicians. He visited Capitol Hill in July and meetings were held with key Democrats and Republicans.
But network pushed back on suggestions that Licht was specifically trying to curry favor with Republicans, saying he just wants to do CNN” place for fair and respectful dialogue, analysis and discussion”.
Licht’s early activities in work is closely monitored in light of comments by John Malone, major shareholder in Warner Bros. Discovery, who said on CNBC last drop what he’ll like watch CNN evolve back to the mind of journalism, with which it began with and in fact there are journalists.
In an interview last month with The New York Times Malone denied any involvement in in in decision push out Stelter. He said he wanted news part of CNN will more centrist”, but that he “is not in control or directly involved.”
AT memo to staff in May, Licht said he wants CNN help regain the trust of many people lost in media”fearlessly speaking truth to the power of challenging the status quo, questioning ‘group-think”, and teaching viewers and readers with direct facts and insightful comments, always showing respect of different points of view.”
But one of CNN journalists who spoke with Post said that colleagues still trying to understand out where, in fact, new lines drawn. “I think they hope people will just guess what to do.”
BUT veteran producer on network, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to comment expressed concern about how recent departures—and the message they sent internally—will affect coverage of the upcoming midterm and presidential elections in which Trump may be a candidate.
“This is a really confusing and disturbing time on CNN from top to bottom,” the producer said. “I don’t know anyone who happy now.”