'Boycott CNN' Calls Grow as Viewers Fear Network Is Shifting to the Right

Calls to boycott CNN have grown on social media in the last few days, with thousands of people on Twitter denouncing the news network's shift away from its traditional liberal-leaning political coverage under the new Warner Bros Discovery leadership.

The changes have prompted the walk-outs of several high-profile correspondents, including John Harwood, Brian Stelter and Jeffrey Toobin.

"I decided to #BoycottCNNas soon as the network began its shift to the right," wrote Jon Cooper, former finance chair for Barack Obama. "It was a tough decision, since I've been a devout CNN viewer since I was in my 20s. If I wanted to watch right-wing propaganda, I'd watch Fox. So for now, it's ONLY MSNBC for me."

"Stop sharing CNN articles. Even if they break the news, find another media outlet/independent source that's running the story. Don't reward a corrupt network that rakes in revenue by propping up a Fascist regime. It's time to starve CNN of all ratings and clicks," wrote one Twitter user.

Harwood, the network's White House correspondent, announced on Friday that he was leaving the network, one day after calling Donald Trump a "dishonest demagogue" on the air.

In a televised prime-time intervention on Thursday night, Harwood talked positively of Biden's speech in Philadelphia, during which the president warned of an assault against democracy led by former President Trump and his supporters.

"The core point [Biden] made in that political speech about a threat to democracy is true. Now that is something that is not easy for us as journalists to say," Harwood said.

"We're brought up to believe there's two different political parties with different points of view, and we don't take sides in honest disagreements between them. But that's not what we are talking about. These are honest disagreements. The Republican party right now is led by a dishonest demagogue."

A few hours later, he said he was leaving CNN. The news network didn't immediately comment on Harwood's abrupt exit, but said in an official statement: "We appreciate John's work covering the White House, and we wish him all the best."

Newsweek has contacted CNN for comment.

Harwood's exit follows that of former CNN anchor Stelter, who walked out of the news network in August after new chief executive Chris Licht canceled his media show Reliable Sources, the network's longest-running program, having launched in 1992.

Stelter, who led the show for the past nine years, was known as a harsh critic of Trump and those conservative news channels, such as Fox News, backing the former president.

However, the new CNN leadership, which took over in April after the Discovery-Warner Bros merger, has reportedly said it wants the network to adopt a more neutral voice for its news coverage, featuring less opinionated takes from its hosts, including Stelter.

CNN chief executive David Zaslav has said that he wants a network for both Republicans and Democrats, while John Malone, a Warner Bros. Discovery shareholder, told CNBC in November 2021 that he wanted the network to "evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with."

Licht reportedly told staff that they were not to call Trump's debunked stolen election claim the "big lie" as the words sounded like a Democrats' slogan.

In this photo, people walk by the world headquarters for CNN on March 15, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. Calls to "boycott CNN" have grown on social media after John Harwood's exit was announced on Friday. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Stelter's walk-out started the first calls to boycott the channel from left-leaning CNN fans, with users accusing Malone of being responsible for the cancellation of the show.

"The new head of CNN, John Malone, just said he plans to move CNN to the right. This is clearly why @brianstelter was fired, and his show canceled. And this is clearly all about Donald Trump. Malone isn't happy that CNN has been holding Trump accountable. This is a disaster," a Twitter user wrote in August.

The network strongly rejected the accusation, which was also denied by Malone in an email to the New York Times. But renewed outrage against the network's editorial shift has now been fueled by Harwood's exit.

"If CNN is moving Trumpward let them know you are not happy. Ditto canning John Harwood," wrote one Twitter user on Sunday.