CNN chief Chris Licht tells staff to brace for budget cuts after Trump budget blueprint
On the eve of Trump’s first major budget address, the news channels that broadcast prime-time news reports as the president’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, took a deep breath and told viewers they’d be hearing fewer stories.
Chris Licht, chairman of the ABC News parent company Walt Disney Company who is also expected to be named Trump’s budget chief, told staffers in the White House that the president was “turning off news coverage on the network.”
Licht, whose predecessor, Linda Douglass, was in charge of news at ABC News, told top staff Tuesday: “He wants fewer stories.”
The White House hasn’t commented publicly on Licht. That doesn’t mean Trump has given no sign he is about to cut, as the White House’s official Twitter account warned: “This morning, we are reviewing our budgets and will be taking action to make sure we are living within our means.”
The move to trim ABC news has been predicted for weeks, even by analysts.
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“ABC is in the early stages of a significant reorganization of its news coverage,” predicted Dan Gainor, a writer for the media-monitoring website Mediabistro. “Licht has shown a very strong propensity to make a strategic shift, from high-volume to low-volume, to get the best news coverage possible.”
“There’s a reason [Trump] will want to put a lot of resources into [cutting the cost of] news — they’re his base, and they’re desperate for more of it,” said Matt Gutman, a media reporter for The New York Times. “But I’m guessing there are some budget cuts at ABC.”
The Washington Post’s media reporter, Alan Rappeport, predicted that ABC News would drop from “