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CEO of parent company that owns CNN offers refreshing journalistic honesty over anger about Trump town hall
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery

CEO of parent company that owns CNN offers refreshing journalistic honesty over anger about Trump town hall

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav shot down on Thursday complaints from CNN talent over providing its audience with "both sides" of an issue.

Warner Bros. Discovery is the parent company of CNN.

What is the background?

The decision to host a town hall with Donald Trump has caused internal strife at CNN, though network executives have defended their decision.

At the Columbia Journalism School commencement on Wednesday, Christiane Amanpour delivered stinging criticism for hosting Trump, suggesting the network was guilty of engaging in "bothsidesism," which she used pejoratively.

"Be truthful, but not neutral," Amanpour said. "Bothsidesism is not always objectivity. It does not get you to the truth. Drawing false moral or factual equivalence is neither objective or truthful. Objectivity is our golden rule and it is in weighing all the sides and hearing all the evidence, but not rushing to equate them when there is no equating."

Amanpour used the Ukraine war as one such example where "bothsidesism" is not always acceptable because Ukraine "is the victim of a Russian imperialist illegal aggression."

The speech came after Amanpour met with CNN CEO Chris Licht to share her grievances about the town hall. According to CNN, Licht encouraged employees to watch Amanpour's speech, when he knew beforehand that she would address the town hall.

What did Zaslav say?

Speaking at a media and technology conference in New York, Zaslav said he believes CNN must show "both sides" of news stories to regain trust with Americans.

"Our view is there's advocacy networks on either side. We have the best journalists in the world. We need to show both sides of every issue," he said. "CNN should be the place that people come for the best version of the truth and for journalism."

When CNN joined the Warner Bros. Discovery conglomerate last year, CNN's new corporate leaders brought with them significant vision changes for the network. For years, CNN was plagued by talent and news decisions that Americans believed reeked of political advocacy — not journalism. The result was distrust and poor TV ratings.

Zaslav said Thursday he shared that view: CNN, before changes, was "left-leaning." But that is changing in a positive direction, he said, pointing to a recent poll that showed a double-digit increase in audience trust. With that improvement, he said companies are returning to the negotiating table.

"[A]dvertisers are interested in CNN again. They don't want to be part of an advocacy network," Zaslav said. "We've had meeting after meeting and they say, 'We're with you.' CNN has a digital audience of 150 million."

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Chris Enloe

Chris Enloe

Staff Writer

Chris Enloe is a staff writer for Blaze News
@chrisenloe →