Chris Licht, the new president of CNN, is continuing his turn away from the network's prior lean toward liberals in an attempt to remake the network in the wake of its collapse under his predecessor Jeff Zucker
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Chris Licht, the new president of CNN, is continuing his turn away from the network’s prior lean toward liberals in an attempt to remake the network in the wake of its collapse under his predecessor Jeff Zucker.

Licht, 50, has reportedly told his staff to no longer use the phrase ‘the big lie’ to refer to ex-President Donald Trump’s phony claims about fraudulence in the 2020 election results.  

The wording is a popular one for the network. According to Mediaite, the phrase has been said 168 times in the first half of June alone. 

Hosts like Reliable Sources’ Brian Stelter are often fond of the phrase to the point where they use it prominently in graphic packages and chyrons.  

Licht was asked to opine on the term during a conference call Tuesday with the network’s management and the producers of various shows.  

Chris Licht, the new president of CNN, is continuing his turn away from the network's prior lean toward liberals in an attempt to remake the network in the wake of its collapse under his predecessor Jeff Zucker

Chris Licht, the new president of CNN, is continuing his turn away from the network’s prior lean toward liberals in an attempt to remake the network in the wake of its collapse under his predecessor Jeff Zucker

Licht, 50, has reportedly told his staff to no longer use the phrase 'the big lie' to refer to ex-President Donald Trump's phony claims about fraudulence in the 2020 election results

Licht, 50, has reportedly told his staff to no longer use the phrase ‘the big lie’ to refer to ex-President Donald Trump’s phony claims about fraudulence in the 2020 election results

The wording is a popular one for the network. According to Mediaite , the phrase has been said 168 times in the first half of June alone

The wording is a popular one for the network. According to Mediaite , the phrase has been said 168 times in the first half of June alone

It's one of many changes being made by Licht, who took over on May 2 from the deposed Jeff Zucker

It’s one of many changes being made by Licht, who took over on May 2 from the deposed Jeff Zucker

He allegedly said that he preferred staff avoid it, though was clear in saying that this was not mandatory.  

As an alternative, instead of flashing ‘the big lie’ they should use ‘Trump election lie’ or just ‘election lies.’ 

A source said that Licht believes the specific phrasing of ‘the big lie’ – a reference to Hitler’s Nazi propaganda efforts during the Third Reich – is a Democratic Party talking point.  

CNN employees have suggested that the news was not met happily by people within the Atlanta-based network. 

‘It’s worrisome that we’re being told how to talk about one of the worst things that ever happened to American democracy,’ a CNN insider said to Mediaite. ‘We have to call lies, lies, whether they’re small lies or big lies. Is there any lie bigger than that lie?’

That insider suggested that Discovery board member John Malone – now on the board of the network’s parent company who has been critical of CNN under Zucker – is behind this. 

‘It seems to indicate where things are headed,’ they added. ‘We didn’t have this problem until John Malone was sitting on the board of this company.’

An insider suggested that Discovery board member John Malone - now on the board of the network's parent company who has been critical of CNN under Zucker - is behind this

An insider suggested that Discovery board member John Malone – now on the board of the network’s parent company who has been critical of CNN under Zucker – is behind this

CNN employees have suggested that the news was not met happily by people within the Atlanta-based network

CNN employees have suggested that the news was not met happily by people within the Atlanta-based network

A former producer at MSNBC’s Morning Joe and most recently with Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, this is far from the first time Licht has tried to get the network to tone things down since he took the reins.  

Licht, as part of his efforts to revamp the outlet, has been evaluating news personalities and programs that became polarizing during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Those who fail to get on board with the network’s new priority to become ‘less partisan’ could be terminated, CNN insiders told Axios. 

Licht isn’t reportedly looking to get rid of primetime personality programming, but he does want CNN’s news staff to present information in a way that upholds the network’s apparent values of unbiased reporting. 

Analysts allege this could prove problematic for network correspondents Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter, among others, who have ‘become the face of the network’s liberal shift.’

Licht wants to give the controversial personalities a chance to ‘prove they’re willing to uphold the network’s values’ before casting anyone out, the insiders said.

Specifically, he wants on-air talent, producers and bookers to make programming decisions that are focused on ‘nuance’ and don’t tarnish the CNN brand, which was once regarded as ‘the most trusted name in news.’

He does not plan to change the tone of the network’s primetime shows, but does want to ensure partisan voices don’t ‘dominate’ programming in a harmful way.

This would be a shift from the way former CNN president Jeff Zucker ran the network, which many argue allowed for the furthering of an anti-Trump agenda.

Those who fail to get on board with the network's new priority to becomes 'less partisan' could be terminated, CNN insiders allege

Those who fail to get on board with the network’s new priority to becomes ‘less partisan’ could be terminated, CNN insiders allege

Licht, who officially took over at CNN on May 2, also said in a recent memo that he agrees with criticism from ‘people both inside and outside the organization’ that the banners are overused on TV, Axios reported.

‘It has become such a fixture on every channel and network that its impact has become lost on the audience,’ he wrote. ‘We are truth-tellers, focused on informing, not alarming our viewers.’

Licht said that CNN bureau chief Sam Feist had led a review to determine best practices for use of the Breaking News label, and added new rules to the network’s stylebook, or internal editorial guidelines.

‘It certainly will need tweaks, so we are open to feedback, but this is a great starting point to try to make ‘Breaking News’ mean something BIG is happening,’ said Licht of the new rules.

Both fans and critics of CNN embraced the move in remarks on Twitter, with many journalists tweeting word of the change with the joking label ‘BREAKING NEWS’.

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