A podcast interview with CNN’s executive Vice President Andrew Morse revealed three crucial facts about CNN’s outlook on the forms of media.
Morse told Variety’s Strictly Business podcast that CNN.com does not rely on President Trump for web traffic. He also said that the digital media that criticized CNN is no longer around. Finally, he slammed Facebook and Apple for being “media companies,” and for “letting down audiences.”
Morse’s downplaying of President Trump’s importance is ironic considering that, on the morning of September 23, President Trump is prominently displayed on the front page of the website. Headlines on the front page mention Trump 14 times. CNN’s online content takes a strong focus on the president in a mostly negative light.
The CNN VP also stated that the outlet’s online competitors are dead. “A lot of our competitors that were quick at the time -- the digital upstarts that were quick to criticize CNN, criticize old media -- and took shots at us, they’re not around anymore,” he told host Andrew Wallenstein. “We weathered the storm, and we took the turns we needed to take.” The implication here was that CNN is simply too big to criticize and take down based on its approach.
Mostly importantly, however, Morse expressed the opinion that Facebook and Apple should be seen as media companies in the same light as CNN. Wallenstein wrote that “Morse regards them as competitors as much as they are collaborators.”
“I think they’ve let down advertisers, I think they’ve let down journalism,” Morse told Wallenstein. “I don’t think we should cede the ground in the news business to Facebook or Apple.”
Both Facebook and Apple have launched their own news tabs, in collaboration with several news outlets. Facebook has considered paying individual outlets up to $3 million in exchange for access to certain stories. The Facebook news tab will be curated by human editors with a background in journalism, opening the door for bias against whatever outlet falls afoul of their opinions.