The boss of CNN’s new father or mother firm stated on Friday the community was “the leader in news to the left” – however his communications crew quickly scrambled to stroll again the frank admission, insisting he wasn’t speaking about politics.
Discovery CEO David Zaslav, whose media big is ready to shut its merger with CNN’s proprietor WarnerMedia this spring, made the shock comment throughout a dialogue about the community’s future – days after the abrupt resignation of the community’s president, Jeff Zucker.
“We have this great entertainment menu, which should keep people in the home, from the kids to the grandparents. Why would they go anywhere else? And then we’re the leader in news to the left,” Zaslav instructed CNBC on Friday.
Zaslav’s remark drew a stunned response from CNBC host Joe Kernan, who puzzled aloud if it was a reference to CNN’s ideological bent.
“Definitely to the left. Did you say to the left?” Kernan stated, earlier than taking again the query, saying he “probably shouldn’t have said that.”
Zaslav didn’t make clear in response, and it instantly went viral on social media, the place customers pointed to it as an acknowledgement that CNN leans left politically.
Scrambling to stroll again the feedback, Discovery’s crew stated Zaslav typically makes use of the phrases “the left” or “the right” to reference present and future enterprise initiatives. Later in the CNBC interview, Zaslav referred to development “on the right side of the company,” which he described as together with WarnerMedia-owned HBO and a rising portfolio of sports activities rights.
A Discovery spokesperson instructed the Post that Zaslav “didn’t finish his thought,” including that he makes use of the phrase to arrange his conversations round Discovery’s enterprise.
Zaslav made the same comment throughout an AT&T and Discovery joint news convention in May 2021, describing the “left side” of the joint firm as “everything other than the content.”
CNN’s political stance is a supply of frequent scrutiny in the news business. Under Zucker’s management, CNN cultivated an antagonistic relationship with former President Donald Trump and different distinguished conservatives.
Last November, Zaslav instructed Deadline that he would take a “hands-on” strategy at CNN and different WarnerMedia properties. Zaslav had a hand in the launch of MSNBC, one other left-leaning community, throughout his time as an NBC govt.
The Discovery CEO additionally took intention at Fox News, describing the conservative outlet as “much more of an advocacy network than a news network.”
“I think overall we’d probably be better off if we just had news networks in America,” Zaslav stated. “But we don’t. Media tends to be a reflection of where the country is. Where the country was when we launched MSNBC was much more fact-based and less divided.”
Zucker abruptly resigned this week after admitting he failed to correctly disclose his relationship with one other senior govt, CNN chief advertising and marketing officer Allison Gollust. Zaslav and different Discovery brass reportedly heard about the resignation simply hours earlier than it occurred.
Discovery executives are treating Zucker’s unexpected exit as a “fresh start” for CNN, in accordance to the community’s personal media reporter, Brian Stelter.
Discovery can’t play any position in CNN’s operations till the deal concludes. Zaslav is anticipated to identify Zucker’s everlasting alternative when the merger closes.
For now, a trio of CNN executives will assume Zucker’s obligations at the community.