CNN’s roller-coaster journey is taking another turn with the abrupt departure of CEO Chris Licht, a development that has sent shockwaves through the media giant. Since the conclusion of the Trump administration, CNN has grappled with its identity, often falling back on a role defined by opposition to Trump. Licht, who took charge in April 2022, attempted to nudge the network towards a less extreme left position. However, with his departure, there are concerns that the network may rebound sharply to the left.
The New York Times has revealed a bit about the interim brain trust who will run the show at CNN until a permanent replacement is found. This group includes three editorial executives, backed by a newly appointed chief operating officer.
For those who found solace in CNN’s modest move towards center-left, the appointment of Virginia Moseley, CNN’s executive vice president of editorial, may raise eyebrows. Moseley is married to Thomas Nides, President Joe Biden’s ambassador to Israel, a man with significant connections to the Clintons. Therefore, expectations of any pro-Republican coverage under Moseley’s watch may be a long shot.
Nides’ political background involves a stint as the deputy secretary of state for management and resources in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2013, directly under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. His work was recognized with the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award by Clinton in 2013, making it unlikely for Moseley, or Nides himself, to be open to scrutinizing these same political figures who have honored them.
The couple’s potential partiality became a topic of controversy when Biden announced Nides’ nomination in 2021, raising questions about Moseley’s continued role at CNN.
The other members of the interim leadership team may not have such direct ties to the political figures they should be covering, but each carries a cloud of doubt. Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development, has spent most of her professional life working for left-leaning media companies, with a career at CNN since 2012 and a prior 30-year tenure at ABC.
Eric Sherling, the executive vice president for U.S. programming, is another CNN veteran, raising concerns that he might be too ingrained in the network’s current ethos to facilitate any positive change.
Finally, the newly hired chief operating officer, David Leavy, has significant Clinton connections. The Times reported that Leavy was deputy press secretary for foreign affairs during Bill Clinton’s presidency.
The timelines for appointing a permanent replacement for Licht remain undisclosed, leaving the media world in suspense over CNN’s future direction. As the network transitions under new leadership, we can only wait and see if it manages to find a balanced and impartial path forward.