Weeks After CNN Called Mass Layoffs a 'Crazy Rumor,' Network's Health Unit Takes Major Hit


CNN might not be as healthy as it wants you to think, at least if recent reports are correct.

The left-leaning network sure likes to act as if it’s the authority when it comes to cable news, but its vital signs may be faltering. Ratings flat-lined in April, and the channel has been losing major ground to Fox News.

CNN’s prime-time ratings for April dropped 26 percent, making last month its lowest-rated for prime-time viewers since October 2015.

Now, there’s more bad news for the home of Don Lemon and Wolf Blitzer.

Despite the network’s denial about major layoffs, it appears that many — if not most — members of CNN’s health-care coverage team will be heading out the door.

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“[A] source told Fox News that ‘basically the whole division’ will lose their jobs,” that network reported on Friday, referring to the Atlanta-based staffers that cover health care.

CNN is downplaying the staff layoffs, but even a news outlet founded by one of its anchors confirmed the situation.

“CNN’s Southeast Bureau in Atlanta, CNN Health and CNN Climate will now be under one leadership, something that was not the case before,” wrote A.J. Katz of TVNewser, a media blog created by CNN’s Brian Stelter.

Interestingly, CNN recently shrugged off talk of layoffs.

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“There are no mass layoffs at CNN. I have no idea where that crazy rumor came from,” CNN executive vice president Allison Gollust told Fox News on May 7.

At the time, Gollust indicated that some staff members might be heading out as part of a voluntary program.

“We have recently offered a voluntary buyout option for employees, and just over 100 people voluntarily decided to take it. That’s it,” she said.

It isn’t clear if the departing employees of the network’s health division exercised that “buyout” option, which is used by corporations to cut staff without resorting to true layoffs.

However, Fox News reported that the departures were not expected and came as a surprise.

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“Staffers are shocked, as the health department is considered successful and CNN recently declared that no layoffs were imminent,” Fox said.

Let’s be clear: We have no desire to cheer for anyone to be fired, even from a network which — in our opinion — has bashed conservative Americans and repeatedly skewed the news.

There are no doubt many good people at the Atlanta-based company, and losing a job is never great.

But you have to wonder if this is a sign of a gathering storm at CNN.

The network has struggled to stay relevant as millions of viewers have instead turned to the more conservative Fox News, as well as alternative media sources like Conservative Tribune.

And the reality is that lecturing viewers over and over about how terrible the president and his supporters are gets old after about, say, five minutes.

Optimism sells, yet at a time when CNN sees the current administration as some sort of apocalypse, there hasn’t been much of a positive tone from the network lately.

Instead, CNN has taken to preaching doom and gloom while constantly attacking the president.

We will know soon enough if this was just a routine shakeup, or the sign of deeper problems at CNN.

Either way, it ought to be a wake-up call for the network to re-think its often liberal approach to the news.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.