OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Speculation ran rampant after CNN host Wolf Blitzer appeared to suffer some type of medical episode in the middle of an interview with Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin and was replaced by another CNN host.
The incident happened Thursday during his “Situation Room” show as the anchor appeared to be in distress, and the camera quickly cut to a full screen of the Maryland Democrat.
The show then abruptly cut to a commercial, and when it came back, there was a new anchor sitting in the host chair.
“Wolf had to step away, but he’ll be back,” CNN anchor Paula Reid said to a baffled audience.
After the show, Blitzer went on X, formerly Twitter, to reassure fans that he was fine.
“I’m fine! Thanks for the well wishes. I’ll see you back in the Situation Room soon,” he said.
“Wolf wasn’t feeling 100% while anchoring Thursday night. He looks forward to being back in the Situation Room and appreciates the well wishes,” CNN said to Washington Post reporter Will Sommer.
In December, it was reported that 2023 was another turbulent year for CNN, which saw the dismissal of seasoned hosts as well as changes in management and programming that failed to win back lost viewers.
“CNN once prided itself as the ‘most trusted name in news’ that was the go-to network for breaking news occurring around the world. But in 2023, it was best known for the utter chaos that unfolded both onscreen and behind the scenes,” Fox News, CNN’s chief rival and cable news leader, reported.
Dating back to 2021, CNN suffered through a number of embarrassing scandals followed by changes in ownership and management that left morale in the gutter the following year.
“And 2023 proved to be another disastrous year for CNN, as controversial comments made by one of its biggest stars, yet another regime change, and a ratings free fall have all made headlines,” Fox News pointed out.
For example, Don Lemon lost his long-time primetime evening gig and was reassigned to co-hosting duties on a revamped morning show, but that went nowhere. In fact, Lemon was eventually ousted altogether after making controversial remarks about GOP presidential candidate and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley’s age. He spent 17 years at the network and was one of its most left-wing voices.
“In 2022, David Zaslav, the chief of CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, tapped Chris Licht to lead the network following his anti-Trump predecessor Jeff Zucker, who was ousted amid scandal,” Fox News noted. “Zaslav saw potential in Licht who, despite having never run a news organization, was the executive producer who launched MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,’ successfully revamped ‘CBS This Morning’ and helped champion ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ in the late-night ratings war.”
Zaslav’s task for Licht, beyond halting the decline in the network’s viewership, was to remove CNN of its perceived liberal bias inherited from Zucker, who had shaped the network into a left-leaning entity that frequently criticized former President Trump and other Republicans.
With this goal, Licht faced challenges in gaining the confidence of CNN’s staff, many of whom were skeptical about the notion of any political bias at their network, Fox News reported.
Licht’s attempts at programming changes proved ineffective, mainly consisting of rearranging time slots for hosts and promoting correspondents without significant viewer support. Reports highlighted Licht’s less hands-on leadership style compared to Zucker, who maintained close relationships with network talent and exercised substantial editorial control.
Fox added that CNN’s viewership has remained dismal.
Media news—CNN responds to Wolf Blitzer getting sick and leaving his show suddenly with a statement: “Wolf wasn’t feeling 100% while anchoring Thursday night. He looks forward to being back in the Situation Room and appreciates the well wishes.” https://t.co/yBbYAhFfGN
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) February 9, 2024