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July 07, 2023

Is Warner Discovery Looking to Sell Basketcase Liberal CNN?
(And Who On Earth Would Possibly Be Interested In Buying It?)

It would be a perfect buying opportunity for the leftwing groomer corporation Disney... except Disney is losing money left and right and will have to sell off pieces of itself before it can ever buy anything again.

CNN is not for sale, David Zaslav has insisted.

That is a sales technique. When no one is interested in buying, declare defiantly that no one could would be allowed to buy it, hoping to conjure some phantom value in the minds of the weak-willed.

Incidentally, David Zaslav is trying to make CNN a profitable, not-embarrassing freak show precisely so that he can sell it.

But analysts warn that the CEO of debt-laden Warner Bros. Discovery may not have much choice but to try to sell the asset, however attached to the network he may be. The real question: How hard will it be to get a deal?

I mean, you could sell it to China. Though China has enough influence in the US just by buying the Bidens at $5 and $8 million a pop. Not sure why they'd need a very expensive, failing moneypit like CNN to push communism and rule by a Mandarin class, when CNN is already providing that service.

The obstacles to a CNN sale are many, from likely regulatory and political blowback, to the most likely buyers facing their own financial challenges -- along with the likelihood that Zaslav won't get the number he needs to make the sale.

He'll get nothing and like it.

Yet speculation about a sale seems only to be heating up as the annual Allen & Company conference in Sun Valley approaches next week, a hotbed of media dealmaking.

"Looking at [Warner Bros. Discovery's] portfolio, CNN seems like the most noncore asset -- and if a company is looking to pay down debt that's where it often looks first for a sale," Brad Haller, a senior partner in mergers & acquisitions at West Monroe, told TheWrap.

Beyond that, the cable news network has also been a constant source of headaches for Zaslav, with the mogul forced to fire CEO Chris Licht last month after a painful series of missteps -- which could be one more rationale for unloading it.

Yes, of course, they want to get rid of it. Like herpes.

But as with herpes: No one wants it, and no one is willing to take it off your hands. Or genitals.

Again, here comes the "We don't care that no one wants to buy it, we wouldn't sell it for all the money in the world!" sales pitch:

An executive with knowledge of Warner's thinking insisted that the talk of a sale is misguided. Warner "is not selling it. [CNN] isn't broken," said this executive.

Yes you are and yes it is.


CNN is currently valued at around $5 billion, Bloomberg Intelligence estimates...

LOL, suck my dick. That is my professional reaction to that evaluation.

...based on approximately $750 million in EBITDA, per the company's earnings reports, and $1.75 billion in revenue at a 6.5 times multiple.

A buyer might pay a premium for its well-known brand. "With profits of less than $1 billion and historically low revenue, I don't think they would be able to fetch more than $10 billion for the asset," Haller said. Zaslav is believed to seek that kind of outcome in a sale.

Benchmark analyst Matthew Carrigan said in a Wednesday research note that Warner Bros. Discovery would have to consider "any fully financed mid-single digit billion bid for CNN."

LOL, I'll bet they would.

Individuals who have been floated as potential buyers of CNN in recent weeks but haven't publicly expressed an interest include Zucker, the former CNN CEO; Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos; and billionaire Bloomberg News owner Michael Bloomberg. Meanwhile, John Catsimatidis, the conservative billionaire owner of the Gristedes supermarket chain, has offered to run CNN for a salary of $1.

CNN is a dead brand, a toxic brand.

CNN no longer will lower itself to pretending it's anything but a very expensive, very unprofessional Democrat Party Comms Unit.

Since Licht was shown the door last week, the network has reminded viewers of the Zucker-era programming that appealed to anti-Trump liberals.

Jake Tapper, who reportedly complained about Licht to corporate overlords, told CNN audiences on Tuesday night that it would be "dangerous" to carry a Trump speech live.

"We're not carrying his remarks live because, frankly, he says a lot of things that are not true and sometimes potentially dangerous," Tapper told viewers.

Earlier in the day, Tapper rebuked CNN producers for showing Trump with supporters at a Miami restaurant.

The folks in the control room, I don't need to see any more of that," Tapper said. "He's trying to turn this into a spectacle, a campaign ad. That's enough of that."

In his media newsletter "Reliable Sources," CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy took a shot at his former boss as he gloated about CNN not airing the speech. Darcy is often sharply critical of right-wing media and Republicans.

"The move to not air Trump's remarks live notably represented a departure from how the network handled Trump's post-New York arraignment speech. In that case, under former boss Chris Licht, CNN aired most of Trump's remarks," Darcy wrote in CNN's media newsletter.

Brad Slager wrote last month about Brian Selter's article, in which he gathered the quotes of #Resistance liberals inside CNN who shrieked down any suggestion that CNN needs to stop being a leftwing political Animal House.

One takeaway from the Stelter piece is not just how resistant to change many at CNN had been, but that many feel there is no need to fix something. This is patently delusional. The network has been hemorrhaging viewers since the 2020 election with no sign of recovery. Among just cable news shows, the best-rated shows on CNN struggle to crack the Top 30, even following Fox News shrinking with the removal of Tucker Carlson.

Another revelation to emerge was a New York Times report that showed many major players inside CNN are still turning to deposed leader Jeff Zucker for therapy and guidance. Says Benjamin Mullin: Zucker is "now serving as a kind of grievance switchboard for current and former employees of the news network." That Zucker was working to sabotage Licht and possibly pave a pathway for a return is not speculation. Mullin alludes to this very plan: Could Jeff Zucker Fix CNN? He Seems to Think So.

What's clear is many inside CNN lack objectivity -- both in their presentation of the news and in surveying basic operations. They preferred the Zucker era, where they were encouraged to run with their bias and attack Trump, Republicans, and conservatives, as well as pushing select narratives. What they miss is that CNN had begun its spiral well before Licht's arrival. Things were not working under Zucker, despite their preference to deliver their version of the news.

This leads to a conclusion of another failure by Licht: Despite some high-profile firings, he did not do enough to purge the network of Zucker devotees. Their refusal to affect changes, move the on-air content to more evenhanded coverage, and continue turning to their deposed boss for guidance scuttled Licht's agenda of recovery. Amazingly this mindset ignores not just the ratings results but something found inside CNN as well.

Mark Hemingway wrote about that impossibly long (15,000 words) Atlantic article about Chris Licht's last days as CEO of CNN by former National Review "journalist" Tim Alberta.

Tim Alberta is a Regime Liberal who, like CNN's crazed cultists, is absolutely scandalized that a news organization permitted a major party presidential candidate a "platform."

Hemingway rips Alberta for his liberal bourgeois bien-pensant extremism.

It's a great piece. Just a taste:

Alberta's piece is a truly remarkable piece of journalism, and do not confuse that statement with a compliment. To start, it's more than 15,000 words long -- I basically had to force myself out of professional obligation to finish the interminable thing. Making professional wrestling analogies to explain Trump is beyond cliché at this point, Alberta calls [major Warner-Discovery shareholder] Malone a "right-wing billionaire" when Malone publicly supported Michael Bloomberg in the 2020 election, and his claims that "Republicans were angry at CNN" over the Trump town hall strains the definition of "Republican," to put it kindly. In other ways, however, Alberta's workmanlike determination to not miss an angle on this story is helpful and revealing, even in ways he didn't intend.

Alberta has always represented himself as a bootstrapping journalist from blue-collar Michigan, and the pinned tweet on his Twitter account is him taking a victory lap after his book, American Carnage, hit the bestsellers list: "This is for the laid-off autoworkers I waited tables alongside; the immigrants I landscaped with; the community college profs who motivated me; the colleagues who showed me grace; the friends who always had my back; and the family that believed in me." It remains unclear to me why laid-off autoworkers and immigrants scraping by would care one whit about the success of an insidery book about Republican politics, but I'm glad he's keeping his feet on the ground while reaching for the stars, I guess.

In any event, I only bring up this tidbit about Alberta's modest background because wow is this article on CNN a departure from whatever working-class environs that made Alberta the dedicated journalist he is today. As a document that provides insight into the mindset of America's ruling class, the immense amount of details in this piece on Licht is something. As a matter of fact, I don't actually need to know what the president of CNN's personal trainer really thinks about Rachel Maddow or care that much about the Kremlinology of which media executives go to what party in the Hamptons, but these things are revealing in their way. Alberta is savvy enough to know that he's writing about powerbrokers for an audience of powerbrokers, and they're the ones who care about those things.

Alberta's reporting does at times make a semi-persuasive case that Licht was distant from and not always well-liked by his employees. Beyond that, I wouldn't go so far as to say Alberta was trying to get Licht fired, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that he was very interested in holding Licht to account for the supposed crime of giving Trump a platform. Licht's defenestration from the C-suite shortly after the publication of Alberta's article was just gravy. Which is why, in an article that is the length of a novella, you find a lot of discussion of, say, Trump's supposed crimes and all the unflattering behind-the-scenes details surrounding last month's Trump town hall, while there is very little discussion of CNN's glaring and repeated journalistic malfeasance over the past several years.

Hemingway concludes by noting that it's impossible to reform CNN -- CNN is no longer a news organization and has not been for a very, very long time. It's only a partisan cheerleading outfit with chyrons.

And he points out that former National Review "journalist" Tim Alberta is part of the same Fake News con:

In the final analysis, it's remarkable that someone such as Licht could rise through the media ranks to become the head of a network like CNN without making this central realization: The primary responsibility of a corporate news outlet in the year of our Lord 2023 has less to do with ratings and far more to do with partisan, ideological enforcement. Alberta understands his role as an enforcer here innately, whether he's aware of it or not.

Related: Tucker Carlson talks about January 6th, and not being able to air an interview with a Capitol Police officer, because Fox fired him before he could air it.

digg this
posted by Ace at 06:30 PM

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