CNN’s Brian Stelter, Jim Acosta singled out as liberal hosts who could be ‘ousted’ by new regime
CNN hosts Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter were called out in a new report about an attempt to restore the organization to a nonpartisan approach to news as the “face of the network’s liberal shift” in the eyes of conservatives.
CNN took a sharp turn to the left during recently ousted boss Jeff Zucker’s tenure, but the new regime has claimed plans to restore credibility with a less partisan approach. New CNN chairman and CEO Chris Licht previously informed staffers he would “double down on what’s working well and quickly eliminate what’s not,” and there have since been lingering questions about what programs or personalities would be eliminated
An Axios report published Tuesday cited “three sources familiar with the matter” who said Licht is evaluating if staffers can adjust to the less polemic approach, and anyone who doesn’t fall in line “could be ousted” so they don’t continue to hurt CNN’s reputation. Licht is reviewing the operations of the entire network in the early weeks of his tenure.
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CNN hosts Brian Stelter and Jim Acosta "have become the face of the network’s liberal shift" to conservative critics, according to Axios.
((AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana/Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN)
“To conservative critics, some on-air personalities, like Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter, have become the face of the network’s liberal shift,” Axios’ Sara Fischer wrote.
Fischer including Stelter as an example of CNN hosts who could be shown the door raised eyebrows among media observers, as she’s been a guest on his Sunday “Reliable Sources” program. However, Stelter has developed a reputation for defending liberal media outlets at all costs while attacking conservatives with the same ferocity. He was a frequent critic of former President Trump and worked ly with Zucker before the latter was forced out in February.
Stelter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A CNN insider pointed out that Fischer simply noted Stelter and Acosta are targeted by the right, and they aren’t identified as being on the chopping block.
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Brian Stelter is a frequent critic of former-President Trump and other conservatives.
Acosta’s inclusion was unsurprising, as the staunchly liberal host has long been considered one of the more partisan personalities at CNN.
He made a name for himself as CNN’s chief White House reporter during the Trump era, when he became notorious for shouting questions, bombastic on-air editorials and bickering with the president and other members of the administration. Trump sparred with Acosta on multiple occasions, raising his profile by calling him “fake news.” CNN removed Acosta from his White House beat upon President Biden taking office for a weekend anchor and “domestic correspondent” gig, where he continues to make no secret of his politics; for several months, his pinned tweet was a link to his own segment calling Trump an “insult to clowns.”
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“Licht doesn’t want to necessarily shy away from personality programming, especially in prime time, but he wants to ensure that partisan voices don’t dominate in a way that harms CNN, a source notes,” Fischer wrote.
CNN’s Jim Acosta was once temporarily banned from the White House after he engaged in a contentious back-and-forth with Trump during a press conference that included briefly contacting a female White House aide who was attempting to take the microphone.
Acosta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Licht previously announced he would “reimagine” CNN’s morning program where current co-host Brianna Keilar has developed a reputation for combative interviews with conservatives. It is unclear if she will be part of the revamped morning program which is expected to begin this fall.
Fox News’ Nikolas Lanum contributed to this report.