AT&T’s impending merger with Time Warner has CNN reporters facing their worst fears: bosses with southern accents and an appreciation for the Boy Scouts.
If the Department of Justice (DOJ) approves the Texas-based tech giant’s purchase of TW, the results could be major culture shock for CNN. Time Warner also produces some of America’s edgiest content through HBO and its evening shows with left-leaning hosts like John Oliver and Bill Maher. Stephenson’s thick Oklahoma accent alone is enough to turn heads at the concrete jungle offices of CNN, according to Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo.
CNN President Jeff Zucker’s future is the most uncertain in the event of an AT&T takeover. Due to the size of the companies, the DOJ will have to give approval before AT&T can make the purchase, and many are fearing that President Donald Trump’s contentious relationship with CNN will incentivize AT&T to give Zucker the boot.
“People should be worried,” a CNN reporter told the magazine. “If [Zucker] were to be forced out or decide to leave, it would be a severe blow to the newsroom. I just don’t think the folks in Dallas have the slightest idea how CNN works. I cannot emphasize enough, these people have no idea what they’re buying. I get the sense that these are aliens from Mars landing on Earth.”
For their part, Stephenson and Stankey have emphatically claimed that they will keep CNN’s editorial integrity intact. “That independence is what makes CNN so popular and valuable, and we will not do anything to change that,” Stephenson said before a Senate subcommittee last December.
AT&T had also been reluctant to comment on Zucker’s performance at CNN, but recently released a statement that said Zucker was doing a “terrific job” and that CNN was “having a great year.”
“Maybe some of us are just being overly paranoid,” another CNN reporter told Pompeo. “But it’s gonna be a shadow for the foreseeable future.”
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