by Matt Margolis, PJ Media:
Angelo Carusone, the president and CEO of leftwing media “watchdog” site Media Matters, expressed a fear to SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah. Carusone is worried about the potential for CNN, under the leadership of new chief executive officer Chris Licht, to be taken over by Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch.
CNN is in the middle of a shakeup right now, and between the loss of leadership and the firing of longtime anchors, the future doesn’t look particularly bright for the former undisputed champion of cable news.
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“Thing I really am afraid of is that … they sell to Rupert Murdoch,” Carusone said. “I’m terrified of this. It is super, it is his white whale, and I think that it doesn’t fit into Discovery’s portfolio in a meaningful way. I’ve always been afraid of this, and the posture of making the platform more appealing, more attractive, more neutral, I think weakens it enough that they say, ‘Look, it’s just not worth it. We didn’t get the returns on investment. It hasn’t turned the corner yet.’”
At least he admits that CNN wasn’t neutral.
“You know, I don’t think they’re going to get the audience gains that they think they’re going to get, which is part of the strategy,” he continued. “And that’s a real problem, too. So at its core, I’m afraid that in the short term, we see some bad coverage out of them, some spots of bad coverage which actually have bigger harms when it comes from CNN. And then bigger… But longer term, I think that it actually weakens the business model of CNN enough that it makes them more susceptible to just being spun off. And that’s not great either.”
Is Carusone just full of it, or is there really a chance that Murdoch would buy CNN? According to Carusone, he’s not making up this concern out of whole cloth.
“I don’t think people realize how often Rupert Murdoch tries to buy CNN,” he explained. “It happens all the time. He did it and he made a really aggressive, year-long-plus play in 2017 and a run at it in 2014.”
“So I don’t think it’s, it’s insane or too far gone to say, nah, this guy doesn’t need to finance if he’s sitting on a mountain of cash that was supposed to be used and is earmarked for media acquisitions, they haven’t used it yet,” he added. “It’s just, I mean, there’s a mountain of cash. He doesn’t need the financing. He can pay for the deal in cash. He can overpay, which is what Rupert Murdoch always does. He always overpays, always, because he knows that it’s easier.”