News & Insights

The Deadline: Tech Giants in Question, Prime-Time Reinvents at CNN & a New Collaboration for NBC News

By Rebecca Epps

The Deadline - Media Intelligence Newsletter.

Key Highlights

  • A Revamped Spotlight on Primetime – CNN continues to make big strides to reinvent its lineup under its news leadership and following the series of high-profile challenges and controversies at the network.
  • Political Memoir Alleges Inappropriate Behavior – An upcoming memoir by a top aide to former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo alleges inappropriate behavior by a New York Times reporter who helped bring down the embattled former governor.
  • Tech Giants in the Hot Seat – A push for transparency in Google’s Antitrust trial plus State Democrats question tech giants’ efforts to stop false content in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Industry News

CNN Reinvents Prime-Time Lineup with Seasoned Journalists

CNN has recently faced a series of high-profile challenges and controversies, leading to a decline in its ratings and reputation. However, under the new leadership of CEO Mark Thompson, the network is making a significant push to recover and revamp its prime-time lineup. This includes two new shows featuring seasoned journalists Abby Phillip and Laura Coates. “CNN NewsNight With Abby Phillip” and “Laura Coates Live” premiered on October 16, 2023, and promises to offer more analytical content than the typical CNN newscast. The move signals CNN’s efforts to regain its footing and leave past controversies behind.

Push for Transparency in Google’s Antitrust Trial

Despite being one of the most significant antitrust trials in decades, Google’s courtroom proceedings have been marked by limited public access and a lack of transparency due to the Judge’s decisions to close hearings and restrict the availability of trial-related documents. Top media outlets, such as The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post, have filed a motion to open up the trial, arguing that it’s essential to maintain public trust in the justice system and ensure a clear understanding of the case’s proceedings. The motion also requests timely access to exhibits and unsealed, unredacted witness testimony. This request highlights concerns about the lack of transparency in such a high-stakes antitrust trial.

Netflix Hikes Prices, Attributes Member Growth to Password Crackdown Efforts

Netflix is raising its prices again. The streaming giant announced in its third quarter earnings report that its premium ad-free plan in the United States will increase by $3 per month, to $22.99 starting yesterday. The price increases will also impact some subscribers in the UK and France. Netflix reported a 9% year-over-year increase in average paid memberships, adding 8.8 million subscribers last quarter. The company attributed some of its strong subscriber growth to its password-sharing crackdown efforts. In a letter to shareholders, Netflix called the last six months “challenging” referring to the writers’ guild and actors’ guild strikes. Netflix’s stock jumped 12% in after-hours trading.

Sean Hannity Faces Backlash Over Speaker Nominee Pressuring

Fox News host Sean Hannity has faced criticism for pressuring House Republicans to vote for speaker nominee Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). According to reports, Hannity’s show sent emails to GOP holdouts, questioning their support for Jordan and raising concerns about the ongoing challenges both at home and abroad. In response to the backlash, Hannity called the lawmakers “sensitive little snowflakes” and defended his right, as a member of the press, to question elected representatives about their plans for the speaker battle and reopening the People’s House.

Tucker Carlson Secures Investment Led by New ‘Anti-Woke’ Firm

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has received an investment for his media company from 1789 Capital, a firm launched this year which aims to capitalize on the opportunities that it sees left open by the “wokeness” of more traditional sources of capital. The firm led a $15 million seed round on Monday with other private investors into the new media company formed by Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel – a former White House advisor. According to people familiar with the matter, the goal of 1789 Capital, which is named for the year the Bill of Rights was written, is to get Carlson and Patel’s company to the point of showing a proof of concept for its media business model so that the two can continue raising the hundreds of millions of dollars they are aiming to target to back the company.

Investment Firm Pushes for Change at News Corp Related to Real Estate Assets

Activist investment firm Starboard Value is pushing for change at News Corporation. The firm has built a stake in News Corp. and is making a case that the media conglomerate should separate its real estate assets from its news business. Starboard’s CEO told CNBC that the firm is building a position in News Corp. and has been in discussion with the company. Starboard said News Corp. should split out its real estate assets, including an interest in REA Group of Australia. A News Corp. spokesperson stated that the company has “always maintained an active and engaged dialogue with our investors and are committed to driving shareholder value.”

Former Aide to Cuomo Alleges Inappropriate Behavior by NYT Reporter

In an upcoming political memoir, “What’s Left Unsaid: My Life at the Center of Power, Politics & Crisis”, Melissa DeRosa who served as Cuomo’s top aide during the period he was Governor of New York, details claims that a New York Times reporter behaved inappropriately with her after a discussion at his home. Times reporter Jesse McKinley helped to bring down Cuomo. He was the sole byline on an interview with a former Cuomo aide who alleged that the governor had made sexual “overtures” to her. Allegations from additional accusers quickly followed. In her book, DeRosa criticizes the Times saying they didn’t properly investigate following the incident with McKinley. In a statement, the Times says that an “independent, external investigation did not substantiate Ms. DeRosa’s characterization of the events.” The newspaper did, however, reassign McKinley to a new beat.

NBC News Works with GOP for Primary Debate

NBC News has announced a collaboration with the Republican National Committee, Salem Radio Network, and Rumble for the third Republican Party primary debate in Miami. This unexpected partnership raises concerns about mainstreaming extremism in liberal media, as both Salem and Rumble have been associated with promoting extremist rhetoric. When NBC News was asked if the network was comfortable collaborating on the third GOP debate with Salem and Rumble given each of the company’s history, a spokesperson declined to comment.

Career Moves

  • Chris Stanford was promoted by The New York Times to Deputy Home Team Editor in Seoul, overseeing all international programming of The Times’s digital report.
  • CNN promoted Paula Reid to chief legal affairs correspondent, based in Washington, DC.
  • Ken Belson, Joe Drape, Kevin Draper, Tania Ganguli, and Jenny Vrentas joined forces to create a new unit in The New York Times called Business Sports Pod, focusing on providing worldwide sport news.
  • Camila DeChalus joins CNN Worldwide as a White House reporter based in Washington, DC.
  • The Wall Street Journal has promoted Dana Cimilluca to Wall Street Bureau Chief to lead the journal’s coverage of banks, investment firms and deals.
  • Claire Gordon will be joining The New York Times as supervising editor of “The Ezra Klein Show” where she will be running the show, editing, and managing the team.
  • The Wall Street Journal hires Matt Barnum as part of the education team, reporting on K-12 education.
  • Clara Murray has joined the Financial Times as a data journalist, covering companies, markets, and wider data-led stories.


Democrats Question Tech Giants on Efforts to Stop False Israel-Hamas Conflict Content

State Democrats are questioning several tech giants about their efforts to respond to the spread of misinformation about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Sen. Michael Bennet from Colorado sent a letter to the heads of Facebook-parent Meta, Google-parent Alphabet, TikTok and X expressing concerns about “false and misleading content” related to the conflict. False claims about the conflict have spread on social media with old and unrelated photos and videos, and even video game footage, being misrepresented as current and genuine. In his letter, Sen. Bennet says that the tech giant’s algorithms have amplified this content, contributing to a dangerous cycle of outrage, engagement, and redistribution. He also pointed to recent cuts at the tech companies around teams focused on fact-checking and content moderation. The letter follows a series of warnings from the European Union to the same four tech companies over the spread of misinformation and violent content related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Bennet acknowledged recent statements the four tech giants have made about their efforts to counteract misinformation but said the “mountain of false content clearly demonstrates that your current policies and protocols are inadequate.”

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