CNN’s Political Muscle Flexing…

The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael O’Connell and Kate Stanhope write about CNN’s recent political hiring spree…

“We have several dozen new employees covering politics for CNN that weren’t here six months ago,” says network senior vp and Washington bureau chief Sam Feist. “Under Jeff’s direction, we’re making a significant investment in covering this campaign. Our long-term goal is to build up our political team on TV and digital.”

Recent hires include ABC News’ Jeff Zeleny, Washington Post alum Nia-Malika Henderson, the L.A. Times’ Maeve Reston and Wall Street Journal veteran Sara Murray. Also joining the usual suspects — Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and John King — in the political fray is Jake Tapper. CNN’s chief D.C. correspondent, the first big hire of the Zucker era, will be a focal point during his first presidential campaign since departing ABC News. Tapper’s The Lead already has become an election hub, most recently playing host to Republican candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio the day after he formally entered the race.

The hope is that the poaching will help CNN close the ratings gap with perennial victor Fox News and further distance itself from third-place MSNBC. In 2012, right-leaning FNC averaged 363,000 in the news demo of adults 25-to-54 in the run-up to the re-election of President Obama, while left-leaning MSNBC averaged 239,000. CNN, which doesn’t align itself with either political perspective and suffered lows that year, averaged 189,000.

11 Responses to “CNN’s Political Muscle Flexing…”

  1. savefarris Says:

    Nothing about CNN’s newest political analyst ‘Carlos Danger’?

  2. File this under surprise of the day (so far) in this early hour for me on the West Coast.

    From the updated Wiki page for Jeff Zeleny:
    “Zeleny joined CNN in March 2015. His first act was to run a headlining hit piece on Hillary Clinton, helping cement CNN’s new image as a solidly right-of-center organization.”

    Say what, kemosabe?

    I haven’t followed Zeleny’s career, so I had no idea what his reputation was other than he formerly worked for ABC and right-leaning (some say conservative-leaning) Jonathan Karl.

    As a followed-up I checked Media Matters. Turns out they have accumulated a number of articles/reports by Jeff they take issue with.

    So are we ready to mark him down as joining the already growing list of right-leaning journos at CNN like Dana Bash, Erin Burnett, Alisyn Camerota, John King and Jake Tapper? (Admittedly, some of these are just educated guesses.)

    Or, do you think Zeleny is being mistakenly labeled and in real life he is a big fan of Michael Moore and Bernie Sanders?

  3. ” CNN, which doesn’t align itself with either political perspective and suffered lows that year, averaged 189,000.”

    Who in their right mind believes that statement?

    Michael, you need to back to school on your educated “guesses” about who is right leaning on CNN. The only person you listed that appears more fairly down the middle is Jake Tapper. Alysin Camerota could run a close second but if you watch her regularly (and I did when she was in Fox & Friends) you know she does not lean right. All I can guess is that you attended schools run by union school teachers which we all know do not lean right, in any way, shape or form.

  4. @wipam,

    I wish we lived close to each other so we could make some friendly wagers. (Of course how would we prove who is right?)

    My track record is pretty decent. For example, I had Howard Kurtz pegged as right-leaning and pro FNC when he was still at CNN. Meanwhile many conservative bloggers commenters were still accusing him of being some kind of far left ‘commie.’

    I will grant you this. Jake Tapper tries to play it down the middle. But the right fawns over the guy for a reason. Plus when is the last time you read a conservative commenter in a comments section say anything bad about Jake?

    I pay close attention to their comments, criticisms and compliments to try to ascertain their true feelings. You can often spot little clues in how they frame their arguments. Or you can ask yourself, “Would any Democrat ever say it that way?”

    What follows are my other assessments:

    NBC/MSNBC regulars most likely to vote Republican (in this election or the last):
    Joe Scarborough
    Andrea Mitchell
    Chuck Todd
    Tom Brokaw (McCain fan in ’08)
    Willie Geist
    Kelly O’Donnell

    Some of these folks may have been Obama supporters at one time. But for whatever reason have changed their mind.

    Finally, don’t fall in the trap of being mislead by the fact they may have had some harsh words about the right in their past. Some have often been just as hard on the left.

  5. You obviously don’t read very carefully or closely. I say bad stuff about Tapper frequently. Mostly when he reports in Israel. He is a true Israel basher.

    And oh yeah, you are so prescient to belive Joe S may vote Republican? Uh duh! Maybe because he was a Republican Congressman from Florida for years?

    Please, please, please tell me when Chuck Todd or Andrea Mitchell have been as CONSISTENTLY tough on Dems as on they are on Republicans. Just because they may OCCASIONALLY be youth on Dems does not mean anything.

    Spend some time reading Chuck Todd’s twitter feed and you get a true measure of the man and NOT his TV persona.

  6. Youth a/b tough

  7. Judging by your comment history on ICN you are seeing these people through a conservative prism making it more difficult for you to assess biases of people which is totally understandable.

    I, OTOH, am much more in the middle and watch more Fox News than MSNBC and have a history of criticizing and complimenting hosts on both channels. Megyn and Mr. Bill have the two best produced shows on cable news.

    So let’s let the readers decide who comes closer to making (or approaching) and objective or detached analysis.

    Peace brother.

  8. Please disregard my comment with the link.

    This blog seems to create some minor issues with those of us logging on with a Google+ account, resulting in me making the wrong copy & paste after opening a new browser tab to get the Post Comment button to work.,

    Or, it could be because I’m really really old.🙂

  9. “Please, please, please tell me when Chuck Todd or Andrea Mitchell have been as CONSISTENTLY tough on Dems as on they are on Republicans.”

    Case in point.

    If you as a conservative watched NBC Nightly News as much as I have you would clearly see the evidence. Well, maybe not ‘clearly’.🙂

  10. Well, let’s be specific of what shows I watch so you can see I don’t only watch Fox News. AM: switch between Mirning Joe and Squawk Box. Never ever, ever watch Fox and Friends – can’t stand it. Mid day maybe Wolf Blitzer if I am at home. Afternoon- Jake Tapper. Evening news: Bret Bair. Prime Time: maybe Megyn Kelley if I haven’t DVR’d another show I want to watch.

    I am a conservative but don’t only watch Fox.

    What makes me make decisions about news people is the word choices they make when they tell a story or the people they have in to bolster/tell the story. Those things tell you a lot about their bent. You can also, tell a lot about people about what stories they choose NOT to cover. As I specifically said, all you have yo is follow Chuck Todd on Twitter and you get where he is coming from. That’s quick decision making by Chuck and not thought out from producers, et al for a nightly news segment or MTP.

    But, please, continue in your condescending/parental type tone because it seems it makes you feel better about yourself.

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