The liberal media bloodbath has continued into the final month of 2022 as a series of mass layoffs and hiring freezes slam the industry.
Media organizations and Big Tech companies across the globe — including CNN and NPR — have enacted massive purges of their staff, mostly due to decreases in profitability and budget.
CNN President Chis Licht announced the network’s massive layoffs in a Wednesday memo after its profit sank below $1 billion for the first time since 2016 with the rise of digital subscriptions and record-low ratings. In response, Licht fired or laid off a massive pool of reporters and paid contributors.
Chris Cillizza, a prominent figure on the network, was fired from the network Thursday along with Alison Kiosk, Martin Savidge, Alex Field and Mary Ann Fox. The CNN president, who replaced former president Jeff Zucker, previously promised not to terminate any employees, but was left with no other options, according to Fox News.
A CNN spokesperson reportedly said in June that Licht would reassess the resources at the network, but employee layoffs were not on the horizon, the outlet reported.
After Wednesday’s memo went out, one CNN insider praised the network’s head for making a responsible decision in connection to the company’s new financial situation. “The Zucker era was like the roaring 20s, people were spending money hand over fist,” the person said, according to Fox News. “There is a lot of fat. It sucks, but these layoffs are probably necessary.”
CNN’s sister news station, HLN, will stop live programing in the first full week of December, the Wall Street Journal reported. Veteran HLN anchor Robin Meade will depart the network due to these changes.
“I want to take a moment to thank Robin Meade,” Licht wrote in a memo. “She is not only an exceptionally popular anchor, but also one of the longest-running morning hosts in history. I know the HLN audience will miss her and the other HLN talent.”
Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the U.S., initiated another round of layoffs in the first week of December by cutting roughly 6% of its division staff, amounting to nearly 200 layoffs, Poynter reported. The news division head, Henry Faure Walker, initially warned staff about layoffs in a Nov. 17 memo, citing budgetary concerns.
Among those impacted this week were reporters at USA Today and producers on its digital optimization team, according to Poynter. One email revealed that the company intends to eliminate all of its digital optimization team and that 50 out of 125 employees on the team had been notified of their termination.
Job and budget cuts have occurred at NPR this week due to a $20 million decline in sponsorship revenue, leading to a $10 million budget cut. The network’s chief executive, John Lansing, told staff that the company will enact a “total hiring freeze” to prevent layoffs and compensate for the revenue losses, as well as halting the search for a chief content officer.
Over at the Washington Post, executive editors Sally Buzbee announced the elimination of the outlet’s stand-alone weekly Sunday magazine. The magazine has ten staff members, whose jobs are being terminated. The Post, which launched the magazine in 1986 and distributed copies with its Sunday papers, will release the magazine’s last issue on Dec. 25.
Buzbee cited “economic head winds” as the primary reason for ending the magazine, the Post reported. She also did not offer the staffers alternative roles at the paper.
The Post Guild, a union representing Post employees, expressed outrage over Buzbee’s decision to eliminate the magazine, arguing there is no “economic justification” for the move.
“These talented, hard-working journalists have given years of their careers to this organization — crafting powerful stories, winning national awards and providing readers with a weekly dose of insight, creativity and joy. Post management has signaled that the magazine is being cut for financial reasons. But there is no economic justification for layoffs in a year when The Post has hired a record number of new employees,” Sarah Kaplan, the Post Guild’s chief steward, wrote.
There’s a lot of criticism of the news, and many people rooting for our downfall. But every fired journalist means fewer stories get told, fewer officials are held accountable. We are all worse off.
— Steven Overly (@StevenOverly) December 1, 2022
The New York Times is facing an uproar of its own as over 1,000 union members and newsroom staffers have threatened to stage a walkout if executives do not agree to a contract by Dec. 8, The New York Times Guild announced Friday. The union is also demanding pay raises and and sustainable pension and healthcare plans.
We want our pension intact. We want our health care funded. We want raises that reflect our contribution to the company’s success, but the @nytimes has given us lunch boxes and excuses about economic uncertainty.
— NYTimesGuild (@NYTimesGuild) December 2, 2022
“After nearly two years of bargaining, New York Times management is dragging its feet,” The New York Times Guild wrote. “They have stood by stingy wage offers that don’t account for record inflation of reflect the value of our work. They have proposed killing our pension and putting our healthcare plan on a path to insolvency. They refuse to commit to flexible work. They have rebuffed our efforts to fix the persistent racial disparities we uncovered in performance evaluations. The company also continues to engage in unfair labor practice by refusing to bargain in good faith.”
This walkout pledge was not a decision we made lightly. But the truth is @nytimes is a blank page without @NYTGuild members. It’s time they gave us a contract that reflects our true worth. pic.twitter.com/MTMdockEKK
— NYTimesGuild (@NYTimesGuild) December 2, 2022
Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokeswoman for The New York Times, told the Daily Caller on Friday that the Times is “committed” to reaching a deal in regards to the contract and has offered “significant increases” in wages.
“While we are disappointed that the NewsGuild is threatening to strike, we are prepared to ensure The Times continues to serve our readers without disruption,” Rhoades Ha said. “We remain committed to working with the NYT NewsGuild to reach a contract that we can all be proud of. Our current wage proposal offers significant increases.”
“The majority of members of the bargaining unit would earn 50 percent or more in additional earnings over the life of the new contract than they would have if the old contract had continued,” she added. “Moreover, our accompanying medical and retirement proposals offer sustainable, best-in-class options for Guild members.”
“For additional context, under our latest proposal, a reporter in the union making $120,000, which is slightly below the median base salary in the unit, would get about $33,000 in additional earnings during the life of the new contract — or 57 percent more than if the old contract had continued,” Rhoades Ha explained in her statement to the Caller. “A reporter in the union making $160,000 would get about $44,000 in additional earnings during the life of the new contract or 108 percent more than if the prior contract had continued.”
Big Tech workers have also had a rough year. At Twitter, Elon Musk eliminated the entire Board of Directors to appoint himself as the sole director of the company. The tech billionaire slashed 70% of the company’s staff, with the number dropping from 7,500 to 2,300. Musk began the layoffs in late October, before Twitter employees were expected to receive stock grants.
Some fired and laid off staff have accused the Twitter CEO of refusing to provide a severance package, according to Business Insider. (RELATED: Elon Musk’s Twitter Begins Mass Layoffs: ‘Incredible Challenging’)
Microsoft is another Big Tech company to cut staff. The internet giant did not confirm exactly how many workers had been laid off, but said the number was less than 1,000, Axios reported. The layoffs impacted less than 1% of the company’s approximate 221,000 employees as of June 30, Reuters reported.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, cut over 11,000 jobs, 13% of its staff, due to inflation and difficulty in the advertising market.
Amazon also announced its intention to lay off 10,000 of its nearly 1.5 million employees from corporate and technology positions in mid-November, The New York Times reported.