Retiring CNN exec to Stelter: Have more ‘responsible voices from right of center’

February 1, 2021

By Don Irvine

Just prior to his retirement, Richard Davis, CNN’s executive vice president of News Standards and Practices, gave Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter advice on how to improve the program during an appearance on the program Sunday.

Davis was the longest-serving executive in cable news history, having joined CNN when it was founded in 1980.

Stelter asked Davis, who also served as the executive producer of Reliable Sources for decades, how the program has managed to remain relevant for so long amid a constantly changing news landscape.

Davis said that it was due in part because people care about the news and now the program is on “steroids” with the explosion of news.

“Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of reporting and commentary on CNN about the impact of conservative and right-wing media, and there’s a lot of discussion in conservative media about the mainstream media, the ‘evil mainstream media,’” Davis said. “The people who are the viewers and the readers and the listeners of those channels and those outlets hear about it from the people who are the opinion leaders, and they’re interested in that, and they talk to me about it.”

“What do you think this program should be doing more of?” Stelter asked Davis,

Davis responded that was a “tough question,” but told Stelter, “I think you need to strive to have more voices on the show from right-of-center – responsible voices from right-of-center – on the show.”

“I think occasionally when you can, you want to have some newsmakers on who can express to you how they feel about the media, particularly if they feel like the media got it wrong and let them talk about it,” Davis added. “If you had the opportunity, wouldn’t it be great if you had a writer who wrote a story and the newsmaker who felt like he didn’t get a fair shake?”

The key word in Davis’s reply was “responsible.”

Both CNN and MSNBC have what they label as conservative contributors or commentators on their networks, but far too often they are either disgruntled Republicans who were anti-Trump or never-Trump or someone on the right-wing fringe who made the conservative movement look like a bunch of lunatics.



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