After Tucker Carlson was ousted from Fox News two months ago, Elon Musk recently encouraged Rachel Maddow and Don Lemon to transfer their TV news shows to Twitter. As CNN falters, the billionaire appears to want Twitter to replace television news.
There is no need for confidentiality or legal paperwork. Musk said on his Twitter account on Thursday. You can count on us to back you up 100%. Everyone is welcome in the virtual town square.
The CNN owner’s offer comes while the network is in disarray following the departure of anchor Don Lemon, who was widely criticized for sexist statements. On Wednesday, amid a drop in viewership, CNN went through another shock by firing CEO Chris Licht.
A devastating story in The Atlantic painted Licht as a conceited leader without a strategy, which led to his dismissal. He was CEO for a total of 13 months.
CNN’s bottom line is also taking a hit. Prime time viewership was down to 535,000 in the first quarter from an annual average of 1.7 million in 2020. Since Trump took office, CNN’s annual profits have dropped from over $1 billion to $750 million.
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The War Within CNN
There has been tension between CNN’s upper management and the news staff in recent years. Warner Bros. Discovery board member and billionaire John Malone told CNBC in 2021 that it would be “refreshing” if CNN would “actually have journalists.” Under Licht, who supposedly tried to steer the network away from “activist” journalism, tensions between talent and leadership grew.
Last month’s town hall that Licht hosted with ex-president Donald Trump was met with controversy and criticism from some CNN journalists. Trump’s followers applauded as he made numerous false comments and branded CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins a “nasty person” during the town hall.
CNN’s cultural and financial issues coincide with a tumultuous period for the cable news industry as a whole. Viewership of numerous broadcast networks has dropped in the digital era, and the number of Americans who own televisions and consume TV news has decreased.
Musk, an outspoken advocate of the right to free expression, has stated his intention to use Twitter to create a multi-purpose platform for news, social media, and digital streaming.
“On this platform, unlike the one-way street of broadcast, people are able to interact, critique, and refute whatever is said,” Musk tweeted earlier this month.
Musk is looking for a lefty anchor to counter Tucker, a conservative show that premiered on Twitter on Tuesday hosted by Tucker Carlson. Musk expressed his desire for “many others, particularly from the left,” to join the ranks of Twitter content creators in a tweet.
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As a result of Musk’s purchase of Twitter and the subsequent easing of censorship, the spread of hate speech and false information has accelerated on the platform. Two weeks after Ron DeSantis’s shaky presidential run announcement on Twitter, Musk invited lefty anchors Don Lemon and Rachel Maddow on Thursday as part of his ongoing effort to transform the social media platform into a “digital town square.”
However, since purchasing Twitter, the internet tycoon has reportedly been at odds with the media, even temporarily barring reporters “on a whim,” as some have pointed out. Musk also made it official that NPR’s account was “state-affiliated media,” which ultimately led to NPR’s departure from the service. Twitter eventually changed the designation, but NPR never came back.
Neither Maddow nor Lemon have made any public statements in response to Musk’s suggestion that they start their own Twitter shows.
In a recent tweet, Musk said that he believes Twitter should replace CNN as the default news source on the platform. He argued that CNN is “biased” and “fake news,” and that Twitter should instead provide users with a more diverse range of news sources.
Musk has been a vocal critic of CNN for years. He has accused the network of being biased against him and his businesses, and he has called its reporting “fake news.” In a recent interview, Musk said that he believes CNN is “a dying brand” and that Twitter should not be associated with it.