CNN’s low energy purge of its news staff continues apace. John Harwood apparently got the news this morning that he was out. The clearest explanation of what’s happening is that the company is now under Republican management, specifically top shareholder and Trump donor John Malone. Many at CNN believe his understanding of and exposure to CNN is essentially what he sees of it through Fox News. They’re probably right. But there’s a deeper structural issue at play that is also important to keep in mind.
News networks like CNN are not designed, purchased or run to be niche operations or only to serve a portion of the public. Their potential market is supposed to be everyone. One might say this is impossible in an era of polarization. There’s some truth in that too. But that’s not exactly it either.