Joe DiGenova predicts major shakeup at CNN as ‘robber baron’ major shareholder of new owner won’t hesitate to build ‘good journalism’
Speaking on WMAL radio in Washington, DC just after 7 AM Eastern, DC superlawyer, former US Attorney for the District of Columbia, and conservative savant Joe DiGenova outspokenly declared that they key to understanding why Chris Cuomo was fired is a man named John Malone, whom he described as a “robber baron” who destroys and rebuilds properties that he takes control of.
CNN is in the process of being sold by its current owner, AT&T:
AT&T Inc. T 1.78% and Discovery Inc. DISCB -11.57% reached a deal to combine their media assets into a new, publicly traded company, unwinding the telecom company’s big bet on entertainment after less than three years. (snip) [It] will be led by current Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav.
For those unfamiliar with his name, John Malone is a major media player, having built a fortune estimated at over 9 billion dollars acquiring and developing media properties, including major cable television operations. He is a major shareholder in Discovery (which includes HGTV, The Food Network, and other cable networks), and recently gave an interview to CNBC in which he spoke about the need for a shakeup at CNN:
I would like to see CNN evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with and, you know, actually have journalists which would be unique and refreshing. I think a coward’s way out would be to sell it or spin it off and then sell it, do it in some tax efficient way. There’s, there isn’t a lot of tax basis, David, in CNN so a straight sale would probably be a little bit leaky, let’s call it but doable. I do believe that good journalism could have a role in this future portfolio that Discovery, Time Warner is going to represent but, you know, I’m just one, one voice here.
According to DiGenova, he is a loud enough voice that Jeff Zuzker’s job is far from secure in a new CNN, and the firing of Cuomo is directly related to Malone’s intent. Given Malone’s track record of shaking up acquisitions, DiGenova spoke confidently of major changes ahead at CNN.
I don’t have any inside knowledge of Malone, nothing like what a player like Joe DiGenova might have. But I do see an opportunity for CNN to add hugely to its shareholder value by aggressively seeking the center, rather than being just another Democrat propaganda outlet -- one less popular than MSNBC. If the new entity formed to run the former Warner and Discovery media properties heeds Malone’s strategy – as DiGenova believes they will – it could signal sea change in American media. The so-called “mainstream” media have functioned to completely block conservative opinions, relegating them to a ghetto that can be dismissed by the majority of Americans who do not read conservative websites or watch Fox News, much less Newsmax or OANN. IF CNN, which is a constituent part of the MSM, starts presenting both sides, it would legitimize stories like the Hunter Biden laptop that the media otherwise is able to suppress. It could, in other words, tear down the wall surrounding the conservatuve ghetto. In essence, a giant red pill would be dissolved in the water supply of the MSM-heeding public.
The complex deal combining Discovery and Warner will not close until next year. Time enough for complicating factors to intervene. But the trajectory is strong and the strategic economic logic is too.